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How to Train for a Specific Event

Thinking of training for a 5K or 10K race, half-marathon, century bike ride, or triathlon? Use the following general guidelines when planning for the event.

  • Ideally, you want to spend at least 16 weeks (about 4 months) preparing for your event.

  • Take the first six to ten weeks just getting used to running, cycling, swimming, and so on, slowly building your weekly mileage by increasing it around 10 percent each week.

  • Starting at about 9 to 11 weeks, begin using techniques such as interval training, Fartlek workouts, uphill training, and tempo workouts, mixing them into your routine.

    For example, one week, you might do uphill training one day; the next week, you might try a tempo workout on a Monday and a Fartlek workout on a Thursday. In between, you run, cycle, or swim at a more moderate pace or take a day off, allowing your body time to recover before your next workout.

By 16 weeks, you should be ready for the big day!

For more specific information about training for a running event, check out Wiley Publishing’s Running For Dummies, by Florence Griffith-Joyner and Jon Hanc, or Marathon Training For Dummies, by Tere Stouffer Drenth, which includes information on racing at distances from 5K to marathons.

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