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Here's How To Actually Become a Runner In One Month

Great for brand new runners and exercisers, and anyone who's always wanted to run but never stuck with it.

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Want to actually become a runner? Sign up for BuzzFeed's 4 Weeks to 5K Challenge!



After you sign up, you'll get an email welcoming you to the challenge and explaining how it'll all go down, along with your month's worth of workouts.

From there, you will get an email every day that you have a workout (which will be three times per week). The email will tell you exactly what your workout is (but you can also refer to this calendar.

Each workout day will include a warm-up (about five minutes) and a running workout (10 to 30 minutes). And once per week you'll do some planks (about five minutes) to build core strength.

And in each email you’ll get helpful tips and motivation from Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified coach, founder of Strength Running, and the creator of this challenge.

OK, but what is a 5K?

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A 5K is a 3.1-mile road race. They take place all over country and they're great for new runners because they're short enough to be manageable and not too intimidating, but long enough to present a bit of a challenge. There are tons of 5Ks to choose from, especially in the spring, and you can probably find one near you here.

Plus, 5Ks tend to be packed with people who have entered just to have fun and run with their friends. This means you'll be in great company with lots of people who just want to cross the finish line while having a blast.

But it is a RACE. That is intimidating.

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OK, full disclosure, yes, there will be some speed demons on the course who are legit trying to zoom through and beat their best times. Don't be frightened; let them blow by in their tiny shorts and enjoy the breeze created by their wake.

AND DON'T WORRY; there truly will be tons of people on the course running for shits and giggles. Besides, "racing" is in the eye of the beholder; your "race" can be just to finish the damn thing.

Not sold. Why would I want to run a 5K?

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Road races are thrilling — tons of people! Challenging yourself! Fun swag! Spectators! — and it's really fun to set out to finish a race and actually rise to the occasion. Plus, the post-race bagel is pretty clutch.

But more importantly, lots of 5Ks have fun themes — like the Bad Prom Run where everyone runs in their terrible prom gear or the Blacklight Run where participants get sprayed with neon glow powder as they run the course. Or you can run a more vanilla race where people just wear regular ol' running clothes but maybe your entry fee goes to a great charity.

I literally don't believe it's possible for me to run 3.1 miles without feeling extreme despair and pain.

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First of all, three miles is, with a few weeks of good training, quite manageable. With BuzzFeed's 4 Week to 5K Challenge, you'll add time to your runs gradually, with the idea that by the end of the month, a 3.1-mile run — the last workout of the challenge — will be totally do-able and put you in a great position to finish an actual 5K.

Plus, you'll also be building up your cardiovascular fitness, stamina, and core strength, all of which will also come in handy on race day.

I still don't believe you. Aren't other 5K training plans longer?

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OK, fair point. Longer programs (like Couch to 5K, which is nine weeks long) are out there. But, in the opinion of Fitzgerald, a nine-week plan is "overly cautious with building mileage" and the majority of people don't need that much time to prepare to run 3.1 miles. Seriously!

Fitzgerald designed this challenge especially to get brand new runners across the finish line. “Just like you only run about 20 miles before a marathon and can still finish 26.2, you can run for 25 to 30 minutes and still be able to finish a 5K, even if you're doing it in 35-40 minutes.” There you have it!

I don't belong to a gym. Can I still do the workouts?

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Yup. The warm-up moves and planks can be done anywhere (including, like, in your small bedroom or living room). And you can run outside or on a treadmill.

I don't have money to spend on all kinds of fitness accessories.

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All we really recommend for this challenge is to invest in a pair of running sneakers that are specially fitted to your stride; you can get fitted for them at a running specialty store. This will make you way more comfortable during, after, and between runs. A slightly cheaper option would be to get fitted for the sneakers and then buy an older model online.

Other than the new sneakers, your crusty old sweats and the timer on your phone or digital watch will be just fine.

Once you get really into running and start spending long runs in sweaty clothes or running in inclement weather you might want to invest in some technical apparel that wicks moisture and stuff, but you don't need to worry about that now.

I'm too busy to spend a ton of time working out.

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With this challenge you'll only work out three times per week you won't spend more than 40 minutes at a time working out, and that includes warming up and the planks you'll do once a week to work on your core strength.

I really don't like grueling workouts or when exercise crushes my spirit by making me feel inadequate.

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Then you've come to the right place because the workouts in this challenge are meant to help you get fitter and build stamina gradually. Other than sprinting in 30-second bursts a few times throughout the challenge (which, btw, you will work up to), the workouts are meant to be performed at a comfortable pace. If you're huffing and puffing, you're going too hard.

Convinced? Enter your email address to sign up now to take the challenge!



Thanks to Katie Dubrovenskaya of New York Health and Racquet Club for overseeing production of the challenge and providing expertise.

Clothing and sneakers (Supernova Tank, Ultra Tight, and Ultraboost X sneakers) provided by Adidas and available at adidas.com.

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