5k Training & How to Stay Consistent

Hey Girl! Today we are kicking off the She.is.beautiful 5k 12 Week Training Plan created by Coach Mary. We are excited to share this journey with you! For some people 12 weeks seems like a long time to stick with a training plan. We get it- this may seem intimidating! But here’s the thing, Mary has created 3 different levels of training: Beginner, Intermediate, and Intermediate/Advanced. The beginner level is perfect for someone who has never trained for a 5k and those who don’t run regularly (if ever in the past!). Mary has put together some great tips on how to stay consistent over the next 12 weeks. Read below and if you choose to train along with us, be sure to tag us in your photos so we can follow your progress and share YOUR inspiration #UnleashYourBrave.

By Coach Mary of Train With Mary

Make it Part of Your Life


There are certain activities on our calendars that are fairly inflexible. For some of us, few things will get in the way of a doctor’s appointment or a hair cut. Try to see what you can do to put that similar sense of necessity when you highlight “run 3 miles!” on your calendar for the upcoming Monday.  Make an effort to write down your training details in advance: where & with whom you’re planning to meet, how far you plan to run and maybe a small goal for yourself for that day. Make a pact with yourself that if you write it down, it’s your plan and you will stick to it the best you can. Plan other activities around the allotted time you have carved out for yourself to run. After a few weeks, this “run” that’s peering at you from your calendar becomes a part of your routine. If your new routine is to run Wednesdays at 5pm, and your girlfriend wants to go out for happy hour, she’ll quickly learn that Thursdays are a good night to go out. Remind yourself that while your new routine might be a bit inconvenient at first, with consistency, it will become a positive and healthy part of your life.


Identify yourself as a runner

It’ll be much easier to stay consistent if you add “runner” to part of your identity. If you have signed up for a race, then you are a runner! Start to fold the term “runner” into your self-talk and your conversations with others. The more you think of yourself as a runner, the more you become a runner, and the more likely you are to weave the activity into the folds of your life. Suddenly when you say, “Guys, I gotta go! The trails are calling,” no one–including yourself–will be surprised by your prioritizing!


See the End Goal but Celebrate the Journey


Make Little Goals

When we aim for a challenging goal that’s weeks or months away, it’s easy to veer off course from our original routine because the ultimate goal just feels so far away. Suddenly “I’m just going to take a week off running because the race is three months away” turns to two weeks, and then before you know it, September rolls around and we haven’t run! If the race feels far away, set yourself up for success so that you enjoy the journey along the way.  


If you make small goals along the way, they give you gratifying targets as you chart your course toward your goal. Make your goal a mileage goal (run one more mile this week than last), a time goal (I will set a personal best on my favorite weekly route), or a gratitude goal (I will write down three things I’m grateful for after each run this week). There are many ways to enjoy the journey with the end goal on the horizon. In the process, the journey becomes a part of the goal.


Reward Yourself

If we’re not enjoying the process, it’s a sure route to burn out. Reward yourself for creating a consistent routine and moving past your comfort zone. You should be proud! For me, the rewards are mostly intrinsic, but I also love to enjoy a good mocha and beach day after a long run. Whatever little things give you that extra motivation to get out the door, go for it. If your training plan is feeling like all work and no fun, then it’s time to reevaluate and make space for other parts of your life that bring you joy.


Learn to Pace


Listen to your body

One of the most challenging aspects of every level of runner is learning to pace properly. It’s common to go out for a run or race and after five minutes feel like you are so tired that you won’t be able to run another step, let alone finish. This is where the art of learning to “listen to your body” in training and racing comes into play. When your training plan calls for an “easy run,” do just that. Let it feel light and easy. Depending who you are and where you are in your running journey, it may mean that you are jogging eight minute mile pace or you are alternating one minute walks and one minute jogs. Embrace where you are and work from there. Begin to tune into yourself and get in touch with what your personal easy and hard paces feel like. Keep in mind that this is your running journey, so comparing your running to someone else’s will not enhance your experience. Find running friends who will support you where you are and cheer you along regardless of your pace.



Certain workouts are challenging and require proper pacing. Learning to pace yourself will set you up for success on race morning. For example, if you are about to start hill repeats, after the first one, ask yourself if you can complete the entire session at that effort level. If you are way too tired to do even one more, you should adjust your pace accordingly. Workouts such a hills or intervals should feel challenging but attainable. Continually check in with yourself and assess if you are approaching a workout or long run at a sustainable pace. Over time, your endurance and speed will improve, but learning to pace properly is an essential component to seeing those gains.


Be patient and trust the process

Lastly, running is a journey, and hopefully a lifelong one if you so wish! With that in mind, aim for small improvements and be patient with yourself even if you hit roadblocks along the way. There will be days when a run that was easy last week feels impossible this week or a life event causes you to modify your schedule. As long as you remain consistent yet flexible and patient yet persistent, you will set yourself up for a successful journey toward your Santa Barbara She.is.beautiful 5k goals.


You can do this!


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