Category Archives: Ease into 5K

Reality check. How far do you want to go this summer?

It’s May.  Summer will be here before we know it and it’s time to make things happen if you’d like to look back on a summer running season that will make you proud.  It doesn’t matter if you’re getting ready to take a crack at your first marathon or still trying to work up the courage to start running for the first time in decades, there’s no time like the present to get started.

We’ve developed a number of training plans to help runners of all abilities reach a variety of training goals — from that first 5k to a full marathon.  Here are the programs you can start right now, along with some not-too-far-off completion dates that should get you excited about how soon you could be reaching your goals.

Couch potato to power walker by the middle of August.  Even if you consider yourself completely out of shape at this very moment, you could be completing a 60-minute power walk with confidence in less time than you think.  Starting Power Walk before June will have you finishing the program the week of August 12.

From beginner to 5k racer by the middle of July.  If you can run a few minutes at a time, we can get you running a full 5k without walking in just eight weeks.  Starting Ease into 5k before June will have your ready to race by the week of July 16.  (To set your sights on a longer distance, Ease into 10k will have you running a 10k in just two weeks more.)

From 5k runner to 10k runner before the fireworks.  Ease into 5k graduates can build progressively to a 10k distance in just six weeks.  Starting Bridge to 10k before June will have you running the full 10k distance before July 4.

Putting a “13.1″ sticker on your car before summer is over.  If you’ve done any of our shorter programs, you know that the plans work.  Starting the Hal Higdon Half Marathon (Novice 1) program this week will have you running a half marathon by mid-August.  For a slightly different approach, consider Hal Higdon Half Marathon (Novice 2).

Celebrate Fall with a full marathon.  For most runners, 26.2 miles is a crowning achievement.  Getting there is just a matter of laying out your plan and executing on it.  Get started now with Hal Higdon’s Marathon (Novice 1) and you could ring in the first week of Autumn marathon-ready.  And again, for a slightly different approach, check out Hal Higdon’s Marathon (Novice 2).

 It’s pretty exciting.  Pick any of those timeframes above and imagine yourself finishing your last workout of the program on that triumphant final week.  All you have to do is pick your plan and get started!

Getting back on the horse?  

If you’ve started a Bluefin program in the past but didn’t finish, you can always start fresh with a clean slate.  Just open up Settings and select “Reset on next start.”  The next time you launch the app, you’ll be ready to begin.   

Introducing Ease into 5K for Kindle

Yes, we know.  The whole smartphone thing isn’t for everybody.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to hold your 5K training plan in your hands!

This week Ease into 5K hit the Amazon Kindle store and can be downloaded for just $0.99 (limited time introductory price).  Just like of our iPhone/Android apps, the Kindle version will keep track of your workouts and time your intervals for you. Continue Reading

Apps on sale through the end of the day!

It’s a good time to grab a new app or two!  Today’s the last day to pick up a number of Bluefin apps for just $0.99.  Here’s what’s on sale through the end of the day:

  • Ease into 5K
  • Ease into 10K®
  • Bridge to 10K®
  • Power Walk
  • Bootcamp

You can check them out in iTunes or the Android Market and learn more about each program on our website.
Continue reading

Ease into 5K Inside Scoop: Final Edition

It doesn’t matter if you’re a running veteran or just beginning for the first time, there’s plenty to be learned from workouts at any stage of the training plan.  Today we’re talking about what those final workouts of the program bring to the table for runners at every level – including some general advice on life after your program is complete.

Beginners…

We said it last week: once you get to this point in your training, the name of the game is simply to stay focused, think like a runner, and start getting excited about crossing the finish line.  By now it’s safe to say that you’re a bonafide runner.  The next question is how you keep up the lifestyle once Ease into 5K is behind you.  Pulling it off is really a matter of figuring out your running personality and overall training style.  The app will let you keep logging workouts even after the program is complete.  You can repeatedly tackle various timed runs or revisit old workouts as you see fit.  Over time (and perhaps you’re already there), you’ll become the intermediate runner we’ve been talking about in this blog series.  If you’d rather tackle another program in the series, that’s another great option.  You can get started right away with Bridge to 10K ® or choose from the others available.

Intermediate runners…

Ease into 5K graduates are an accomplished lot, with many going on to complete additional (or even multiple) Bluefin programs.  This is a great way to keep moving the ball forward, so to speak, giving you a predictable framework for building fitness, speed, and distance.  By now, redundancy and boredom are probably your biggest enemy.  Sometimes you can run consistently for months and not even realize you’re getting into a rut – then BAM! suddenly it becomes a chore to get out there and train.  Consider upping the ante by graduating to longer-distance programs or even mixing it up with the Bootcamp app.  Beyond that, setting your sights on interesting races and connecting with friends (online or offline) is a great way to keep things interesting and stay engaged in your training.

Crusty veterans…

Let’s face it – you guys rock.  You’ve trained your tails off and logged more miles this month than some people will in a lifetime.  Think there’s anything to be gained by sticking with your phone as a pocket-sized training partner?  Whether you’re interested in tackling another program or not, there are still plenty of benefits baked into Bluefin apps.  Tracking your progress with the journal and activating the optional GPS feature are great ways to build a system around your training and make sure that the numbers you produce are consistent with how you feel about your progress.  A solid workout journal will help you monitor your performance from week to week to make sure you’re getting the performance gains you expect.  You’ll also get reliable information to help you troubleshoot any problems you might have.  Either way, it never hurts to have a solid record of the work that you’ve done.

Ease into 5K Inside Scoop: Week Seven Workouts

It doesn’t matter if you’re a running veteran or just beginning for the first time, there’s plenty to be learned from workouts at any stage of the training plan. Today we’re talking about Week Seven. Read on for the Week Seven Inside Scoop, including tips and advice for runners at every level.

Beginners…
This is the point in the program where we really start creeping up on the full 5K distance. By now you’re just a stone’s throw away from your goal of a thirty-minute continuous run. You’ve already done the bulk of the work necessary to prepare yourself for race day. Think of these remaining weeks as the finishing touches of your fitness masterpiece – the extra work is incremental, but absolutely critical to the larger project of being an Ease into 5K graduate. By now the advice is simple: stay focused, think like a runner, and start getting excited about crossing the finish line.

Intermediate runners…
If you’ve got some fitness and experience under your belt, just completing the Week Seven workouts might not be enough to really challenge your body and mind. Going through the motions isn’t going to have the benefits it once did – you’re beyond that. If you’re revisiting Week Seven with speed and fitness in mind, intensity is going to be key. Really push yourself on these and try to ride that edge between running hard and running too hard. The idea is to push yourself past your comfort zone, running hard enough that – at some point – you wonder if you’re going to be able to hold the pace. It’s tough, but it’s also what’s going to take you to the next level as a runner. Week Seven workouts are perfect for pushing the envelope.

Crusty veterans…
These are great workouts for gauging your performance at various distances and intensities. By running near your race pace for slightly longer than you normally would, you can both build speed and sharpen your mental focus. Zoning out for a long run is great, but it’s also important to focus your efforts and see what you can do when the pressure is on. Don’t just test yourself at race distances. Try revisiting Week Seven workouts from time to time to see how you perform at odd times and lengths. Every race feels a little bit different – some 5Ks feel like they’re four kilometers long while others you might swear went on for six. Training at various distances helps prepare you to handle the mental challenges of race day, whatever they may be.

Inside Scoop: Week Six Workouts

It doesn’t matter if you’re a running veteran or just beginning for the first time, there’s plenty to be learned from workouts at any stage of the training plan.  Today we’re talking about Week Six. Read on for the Week Six Inside Scoop, including tips and advice for runners at every level.

Beginners…

Week Six is the point in the program where you start to transition away from interval work altogether.  It has served you well so far, but it’s time to make the leap into longer, uninterrupted runs.  Our Inside Scoop series is full of reasons why you might one day revisit those early workouts, but for now it’s all about leaving intervals behind in favor of increasing time and distance from week to week.  The dirty little secret for these longer runs?  You might actually find them easier than the interval week you’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks.  If you are feeling intimidated by a particular workout when you see it on the screen, keep in mind that it’s this point in the program where it gets very tricky to predict how tough a run will be.  You’re ready for this.  Keep a positive attitude and just get out there and do it.   We bet that at least once you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how strong you feel.

Intermediate runners…

Week Six is a good study in training variety.  One thing to keep in mind as you become a more advanced runner is that training is about more than selecting good workouts.  A lot of your success will come from your ability to string together a series of workouts that complement one another as the week goes on.  Consider repeating not just a Week Six run, but the whole week.  These workouts are designed to come at you from a couple of different angles, mixing up interval and distance work.  Not only will it make for an interesting week, but it will also keep your body guessing…which is always good for improving strength and speed.

Crusty veterans…

So do you REALLY want to get out there and work?  String all three workouts together with rest time in between, perhaps in place of a long run that you would usually do uninterrupted.  You’ll have less of a Zen running experience and more of an engaging, dynamic workout.  On one hand you’ll be re-introducing the kind of interval work that really helps you build speed and on the other you’ll still be putting in a very aggressive, very challenging endurance run.  Go get ‘em.

Check out the updated Workout Journal!

As you know, we’ve recently rolled out a pretty significant update to our 5K app.  Part of that update was a redesigned Workout Journal, which will help you get even better insights into each of your workouts.

These updates have something for everyone, but will definitely do the most for those who have activated the GPS feature.  Here’s a quick rundown of the new features.

Cumulative distance.  Now you’ll be able to track how many miles you’ve logged in total with an ongoing record of all the distance you cover while using the app.  (Also a great way to keep track of how much wear you’re putting on your shoes!)

Fastest mile.  Beginning when you download the update, you can start tracking your best miles, giving you a great benchmark to compete against from week to week.

Easier treadmill integration.  If you do some or all of your workouts on a treadmill, you’ll now have an easier time manually entering your workouts.  Simply enter your speed setting and the app will automatically calculate minutes per mile or minutes per kilometer.

Better split tracking.  You can now track your splits directly from the journal screen, allowing at-a-glance access to exactly how you’re performing.

Improved ease of use overall.  You’ll also notice that the journal screens themselves are simplified, with larger fields for easier data entry.  You can also more easily add workouts to the journal that you do without the app.

We can’t emphasize enough how valuable the journal functionality can be.  By keeping track of your workouts you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable for the work you’re putting in and keep a good handle on just how much you’re doing.  It doesn’t matter if your goal is to get faster, increase distance, lose weight, or just have good, solid runs.  The journal screens give you everything you need to track your performance and figure out how to get where you want to be.

If you haven’t been using the journal so far, please give it a shot for a week and see what you think.  We expect you’ll want to stick with it.

From 5K Newbie to Marathon Man: Guest Post by Zach Sharp

Editor’s Note: Sometimes, you guys really take it all the way.  Zach Sharp started off using his phone to guide him through training for his first 5K and ended up working his way through one Bluefin app after another, upping his distance from 5K to 10K to a half marathon to the full 26.2.  We’re blown away and hope his story can be an inspiration to everyone who reads this.  Zach’s story is below.    

Most of my life I had been an active, outdoors type of person.  I graduated high school in okay shape. Continue reading

Inside Scoop: Week Five Workouts (plus an important note)

Please note: As we shared last week, we are in the process of transitioning to a new training program for the 5K distance.  The Runhelper platform will stay the same, but we are changing the name of the app and modifying the training program. Following the update, the program and app will be called Ease into 5K (bringing it into line with our existing Ease into 10K program, as well as our apps for longer distances).   To continue on your existing program, you’ll need to hold off on this app update.   

Inside Scoop: Week Five Workouts

It doesn’t matter if you’re a running veteran or just beginning for the first time, there’s plenty to be learned from workouts at any stage of a training plan.  Today we’re talking about Week Five. Read on for the Week Five Inside Scoop, including tips and advice for runners at every level.

Beginners…

Week Five is all about getting ready for longer, uninterrupted runs.  You aren’t quite up to 5K distance, but you have come far enough that your body is prepared to do longer running intervals and even standalone runs that don’t require any rest intervals at all.  You’ve built to this point gradually, but it’s still important to be mentally ready for workouts with less walking – not so much because of the longer distances, but just because of the physiological differences that come with running uninterrupted.  Think of this as the week where you will really come into your own as a runner.  This is where you turn the corner from a newbie just getting up to speed and become a bona fide runner preparing for a 5k.  Just remember, the majority of your challenges this week will be mental, not physical.  When all else fails, crank up the tunes.

Intermediate runners…

Week Five brings you a nice selection of no-pressure throwback workouts that can give you a taste of interval work without necessarily doing a ton of walking.  Browse through and pick one the next time you’re looking for a solid run that lets you focus on your form and run with confidence.  These are challenging if you push yourself hard and relaxing if you take it easy.  If you’re feeling a little under the weather, these make great workouts for shaking it off and logging some time on the road without having to think too much about it.

Crusty veterans…

Running hard for varying distances (not just your race distance) can help you become not just a stronger runner, but also a stronger racer.  It’s difficult to simulate a race-day experience and impossible to reproduce every combination of energy, fatigue, strength, and excitement you’re going to find on the race course.  So prepare your body and mind for various scenarios by running hard at varying distances, whether it’s medium-range eight-minute interval work or just a compressed run that’s going to leave you a little short of your usual race distance (just be sure to kick up the intensity to compensate).  Mixing it up like this will help you better manage your intensity during longer workouts and various race distances.

Getting Ready for 2012: It’s not too late; not too early.

With November half over, participants in our big New Year’s program are starting to feel like they’re in it to win it and realize that they’re going to be able to pull this thing off after all — ready for a 5k before 2012 even begins.

A month ago when we were rallying runners from all over to the cause, the idea was that we’d all be crossing the program’s finish line together through the last week of the year, feeling fit and ready to hit the ground running next year.

The whole idea was “start your New Year’s Resolution NOW.”

But what if you missed out and didn’t kick off with the group at the beginning of this month?  Don’t let that convince you to put off until the new year what you can tackle right away.

For most of us, the biggest fitness hurdles we’ll ever face will be mental.  There’s always something in the back of the head of every runner (or wanna-be runner) that’s trying to make the case for slowing down, quitting, or not starting in the first place.

We’re all pushing for January 1, but there’s nothing magical about the number.  If you aren’t in the midst of a program right now, go for it!  Today!  Fire up your app, get out there, and run.  You’ll be setting yourself for a great 2012.