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The question

I want to run a 5K in the fall, but every time I run I get exhausted after one kilometre. How can I extend this?

The answer

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Instead of trying to run for five km and getting discouraged when you can only run for one, alternate one minute of running with four minutes of walking for 20 to 30 minutes. Gradually increase the duration of the running intervals, and decrease the walking intervals.

Sample five-kilometre running program

Each week do two full-body strength workouts as well as the corresponding week's running program. Run two or three days per week, on non-consecutive days.

Run at a speed that you can maintain throughout all the running intervals.

Week One

Warm up with five minutes of speed walking.

– Alternate one minute of running with four minutes of walking for 30 minutes.

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– Cool down with a five-minute walk.

Week Two

Warm up with five minutes of speed walking.

– Alternate two minutes of running with three minutes of walking for 30 minutes.

– Cool down with a five-minute walk.

Week Three

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Warm up with five minutes of speed walking.

– Run for one minute. Walk for four minutes.

– Run for two minutes. Walk for three minutes.

– Run for three minutes. Walk for two minutes.

– Repeat the last set. In subsequent sets, decrease your running time and increase your walking time by one minute each, until you arrive at one minute of running and four minutes of walking.

– Cool down with a five-minute walk.

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Week Four

Warm up with five minutes of walking.

– Alternate running for three minutes and walking for two minutes for thirty minutes.

– Cool down with a five-minute walk.

To progress, slowly increase the duration of your running intervals until you can alternate running for 10 minutes with one minute of walking.

Trainer's tip

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On race day, don't get overwhelmed by thinking you have to run the entire five km. Even during a race it can be useful to walk for a minute in between every 10 minutes of running. Just remember, whether you run the entire distance, or include walking breaks, the race will be a huge accomplishment.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your fitnessquestions at trainer@globeandmail.com.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

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