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Don’t you just hate that word SHOULD???

I am asked about “Shoulds” all the time though in my line of work…

How many times a week should I be running?
How long should it take me to train for a 10K?
How much should I spend on a pair of running shoes?

And the answer is, it is different for different people. Thats the awesome thing about us human folk we are each capable of doing things at a different pace and at different levels of intensity.

Its a bit like that other annoying question I read on running forums all the time,

Whats the average time for a 5K???

Urrrggh, who’s average? Mine range from 30.06 to 58.56…so go figure!!

Anyway, I wish we changed should to could, can or even is it possible? Which are all so more positive than should….

Could I train for a 10K even though I weight 16 stone?
Can I get good running trousers for less than £20?
Is it possible to from zero to marathon hero in just a year?


So, the big question today is how long does it potentially take one to get up to the 5K mark?


Well, many 5K plans say it takes 12 weeks, and may running clubs run 8 or 10 week programmes for beginners, I think to give women a chance to get their bodies and minds used to running.

But here’s my issue with that approach?

I’d get bored if it took me all of 12 weeks to go from 0 to 5K…because I know I can do it quicker…so why wait? I could be working on a whole new set of goals by then right?

The other thing is, I find a lot of the 5K training programmes are very prescriptive and often on the risk averse side, building up so slowly that the progress seems so small…and I get why this is…you know to prevent injury and to help women gain in confidence over time, but in some ways I find this a bit patronising and takes away from a woman’s ability to listen to their own bodies and to trust their instinct when it comes to what they can do.

My other big issue with most 5K programmes is there is a massive emphasis on being able to run the whole way by the end of the programme, I think this sets some women up for failure which is perhaps why you see such a drop out of c25K at like week 4 or 5.

_DSC1610In 2015 I was asked by ITV to lead a feature working alongside marathon runner Nell McAndrew on the daytime TV show This Morning, helping 3 women who said they couldn’t run, to prepare for a 5K in 10 weeks.

Well that was the original plan, but then the producer phoned me a few weeks before we were due to start and said,

Actually we only have 6 weeks in the schedule Julie, can it still be done?

And that is when the 5 weeks to 5K concept was born and I set about pulling a programme together which could be tested live on daytime TV, and form the basis of a book that I would later go on to sell thousands of copies.

You can buy your copy here for just £3.99

Those 3 women followed my plan, being followed by TV cameras and on race day, ran their 5K in the pouring rain around the Southbank with a live video feed being zoomed back to Phillip and Amanda in the studio. All 3 of them did amazingly well…proving my programme worked and you could go from nothing to 5K in just 5 weeks.

A bit like how I went from TV newbie to presenter in a few weeks too…its amazing what coming out of your comfort zone can do for acquiring new skills and confidence

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Since that programme aired, and over the past 2 years I have worked with more than 500 women using these techniques via the online programme 5 weeks to 5K, and we are about to start another cohort.

So how does it all work?

Each week women get a video from me with instructions for their 3 runs (or run walks depending on where they are at) and they get access to a closed and private Facebook group.

The emphasis is never on speed, or even distance really, most of the sessions focus on a specific mindset issue and the running is almost secondary.

Over the 5 weeks, women get to test themselves in a safe way, with the love and encouragement of the rest of the group, and 121 coaching and advice from myself.

At the end of the 5 weeks they attempt their 5K and women are always amazed at how far they have come in such a short space, and now have a running habit established and a confidence to set new goals.



So what do you think? Are you up for a challenge? 5K in just 5 weeks? Just think what else you could do in 5 weeks if you can achieve this?

Places are limited and we start on the 20th March, to sign up and find out more about what other women think about this programme click here

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