fitness wellness

THE N&G HEALTH CHALLENGE: Train for a 5K in 8 Weeks

Genevieve Padalecki training for 5k marathon

Are you tired of hearing about my marathon training yet? I hope not because I really need your help. Sticking to an exercise plan is so much easier when you have a workout buddy and I’m hoping you will be mine!

Don’t worry. You don’t have to run 26.2 miles (unless you really want to). I’ve been working with Erik Stanley, a rockstar running coach here in Austin and founder of the training group Trail Roots. He specializes in training runners of all skill levels and created this awesome 8-week 5K training plan just for Now & Gen.

Download My Training Plan HERE!

Genevieve stretching after 5k training plan exercise

If you want to sign up for a 5K near you, visit Active for a list of races around the country. Not interested in running an organized race? That’s ok too! Just run for fun or ignore the running workouts altogether and aim to walk or get some form of heart-pumping exercise on the designated cardio days.

I’ll also be sharing workout videos, healthy recipes, self-care ideas and more, so, even if you’re not a runner, I hope you’ll still be able to find some healthy inspiration by joining this little health challenge with me.

Start today (or as soon as you can!) and we’ll train together as I countdown the last two months before Boston. Tag pics during or after your workouts with #ngchallenge and #runpadsrun and sign up for the Now & Gen running club with the free Strava App so we can share our progress and help keep each other motivated!


Psst…please check in with your healthcare practitioner before making any big changes to your exercise habits—especially if you have any underlying health issues.

Download My Training Plan HERE!



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  • Antoinette

    You are truly my inspiration, I am doing a 5K may 11 and can use all the support I can get because I have a hard time to push myself over my comfort zone, I printed out your schedule and to me it looks hard but I will try, I will visit Austin May 1 till 8 with my daughter for the very first time and very excited about that and hope to do some running or hiking over there so if you have tips on where is a good spot to do so, maybe you can let me know through your blog, thanks for having us come along 😉

    • Nick Shiach

      How did your 5k go?

  • Carly

    So excited to try this and looking forward to more marathon stuff!

  • Stephanie

    I love this! I love that not only are you doing something amazing for yourself, you’re bringing other people along with you. That’s fantastic. I was doing really well doing yoga most days of the week, and then my daughter and I got sick and I was miserable for weeks. I’m going to try using my stationary bike again at night (I say try because it can occasionally flare up my right SI joint. I’m doing okay now, though, so yay!), because I need more cardio, and, uh, because it’s a form of exercise that I can do and also read at the same time #hugebooknerd. I should be able start up some yoga again later this week, because it’s good for my joints and core strength. Once we don’t have 328423749832 feet of snow and ice and face-blasting wind, I’m looking forward to walking as often as I can (warmer weather unfortunately means my health issues flare up more, so I have to be realistic), because walking is my favorite.

    Thanks for the inspiration! You’re doing such an awesome thing here. 🙂

  • Sabrina Travers

    I’m really happy you’re running Boston! I live here and it’s always been a big day here. I unfortunately was injured and can no longer run right now but ran a half marathon last May in Boston. Boston is an awesome city to run, I hope you enjoy it! Keep up with the running posts though, I’m still a runner even if I’m grounded right now.

  • Nikki

    I signed up for my first 5K inspired by you and Jared running the Boston Marathon. I’ve been looking for a way to training more effectively for it. Thank you for sharing this and keep up the great work!

  • Connie

    Please keep this up. You have inspired me to get off my fat ass and do something. ( Down 67 lbs so far with many to go) Hoping to get to running soon. I jogged on my treadmill for the first time last week. It wasn’t long but it felt wonderful!
    Keep inspiring

  • Hailey Owens

    This could NOT have come at a better time!! I have been looking for a plan like this for a while now. I tend to be a procrastinator if I’m doing something on my own. I’m glad that we will be able to encourage and cheer for each other on the way. Thank you, Gen! #runpadsrun

  • Cheyenne


  • Dawn

    Love this! Your posts and blogs have recently motivated me to start a 5k training plan and I feel amazing! I have never ever been a runner but now I’m 4 weeks in and loving it. Thank you so much for inspiration! Planning to switch to your plan ASAP!

  • Venus Kourouvacilis

    Gen, thank you for being an inspiration to so many of us. It is awesome that you’ve decided to run the Boston Marathon, as I live in Massachusetts. I am going to give your workout a try and am hoping some of my girlfriends will share in the experience. Again, Gen- thank you, V

  • Marissa

    Oh my gosh, let’s do this! I have been wanting to run another 5k this year, and the training guide is perfect. Thank you so much for doing this! And cheers to you, and to your training! I can’t wait for more posts about your journey. Remember, mind over matter!!! Good luck! 🙂

  • Lynn

    This is awesome! I just started running last June. Love it. Did my first (and only one so far) 5k last October. Was looking to find one soon to train for, so this helps inspire me on both the training front and looking for my second 5k to do. So. . .thanks! See you on Strava!

  • Erica Waer

    You have no idea how inspiring you have been for me. I downloaded and cant wait to use your guide! Thank you!

  • Alicia

    I’m going to try to do this challenge. I’m so out of shape and I really need to get into a routine so this may be the kick in the ass I need.

  • Jean

    This is fabulous! thank you for providing this, I’ll be sharing a link to my FB workout/support group. I’ve been forced sedintary for several years and have just begun getting myhealth back, post surgery. In January I started walking to the end of the block and back. Now, I can walk a mile without having to stop to rest, and without being exhausted when I finish. I don’t know if I will follow this plan exactly, but it’s great to have a plan designed by a professional to use as a basis.

  • Christina

    I just started running again last month–it’s suddenly 2 years after my 3rd kiddo was born & I need to get back at it! I want kids to have a healthy, happy role model.

    I’m so glad to have an organized training plan to follow, instead of just going out there and pushing myself far too hard too soon, ilke I have been doing. I’m realizing that I’m not 22 anymore & I can’t just go full-tilt from zero without hurting my body! It’s a lesson in humility for sure.

    Timely challenge & I’m grateful for it!

  • Seval

    I am gonna try the first day today though I’m pretty sure I’m gonna hate you after.? or during.? I’d wish you to put some yoga videos too for core and strength says cuz at that area I’m pretty much useless, just YouTube videos without knowing pretty much nothing if that workout is Useful or not. Just a suggestion and wish.

  • Priya

    I do like 20-30 mins of cardio everyday which makes me want to cry a bit at every step. So I dont know how much I would be able to stick with this plan, but I will definately try. Will probabaly start with a bit watered down version of it though. I am definately not a runner, but you are really making me want to run lol. I will probably be fit enough for a marathon something at the end of this year though. Lets see. I hope I can do it. Good luck to and all others in training, rock it fellas.

    • Nick Shiach

      It sounds like you might be pushing yourself harder than you need to on regular cardio days! About 80 percent of your mileage should be done at a comfortable, easy pace (not tears inducing!). Slowing down some of your runs and not caring about pace as much might not only make running more enjoyable, it will also make you faster for races by allowing for more complete recovery. You’re definitely a runner!

  • Sintija Mapp

    This is so amazing for you Gen in collaboration with Erik Stanley to do this for all of us. A good support system and a good workout plan and determination to not give up is all you need tos succeed, and you have given us the tools to succeed. I have been wanting to run a full marathon since the first time I run my 1st half marathon and I have been intimidated by the training, so looking through your Insta stories have been me kind of a push to go after my goal as well. Thank you again and hope your training goes well for the Boston marathon. #RunPadsRun

  • Nikole Smith

    I love how you’ve organized your routine. It actually makes me want to train for a 5K of my own! This is definitely something I will need to build up to.

  • michaela

    Hi Gen, this is another amazing post. I have downloaded your programme and I am going to try it out. I was a long distance runner when I was younger and I do love the freedom running gives you. I have all the gear for that and to try yoga, which I have wanted to learn but I thought I couldnt. Thank you for reminding me that I can gen ? I will be honored to train by your side ????

  • Denise

    Don’t forget to warm up first and check with your Dr. too
    to make sure you are healthy enough before you start. We don’t want ppl having a heart attack or injuring themselves.

  • Karen Graham

    Hi Gen, thanks for creating this running/training club. I’ve joined, but not with the goal of running a marathon. I just want to keep myself motivated for walking and cycling. I have spent a couple of years getting over a knee injury and losing a bit of weight, because I wanted to get back into doing some of the things that I really love but had become too hard to do (including travel, hiking, biking). I’m super excited that I’ve taken the first step and have started a walking tour in my home town. My knee is holding up, but I need to keep training to maintain my health and fitness. I’ve also signed up for a 400-km bike ride (over 4 days) later in the year – so that will be my marathon. Good luck with yours! Cheers, Karen

  • Amanda Schmidt

    I’m half marathon training right now for the Seattle in June. After taking over 4yrs off running it’s hard getting back into it, but this week I finally broke through that mental block that’s been holding me back. Started off the week with a 3 mile run, then 4 miles, then 5 miles. I completed 6 miles today and I’m pushing for 7 miles on Saturday. My brain isn’t constantly telling me “this hurts stop now” and man it feels GREAT. Next year a full marathon is on my radar. I love reading about other runners so please keep posting away!!

  • Nancy Morabito

    Today is my Day 1 and kicking it off with pilates. My journey of self love will be an exciting one. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation. #RunPadsRun #GoNanGo

  • Colleen S Cade

    I’m reading this and cried a little…I’m permanently disabled. I can barely walk let alone run. I miss my old life when I could run,climb , ride my bike from town to town ect… I’m 57 next month and tired of boredom . I’m in alot of pain due to neck n back injuries. Cadaver bone in neck , didnt fuse to 100& made it to 65/70% . Metal plate n screws holding compression fracture in place from top of neck to spine where fracture goes. Heart murder now worried bout that now. I’d love to be normal and healthy again so I could do this with you all. I’m young at heart . Congrats on cmg in 10th Gen that’s great.

  • Jane Hightower

    Thanks for posting this. I’m wondering if it can be adapted to a marathon training plan? Or perhaps you could share more specifics from your training plan. I love the things your are posting about strength training/ core strength/other things than distance running. That’s what I need. I have killed/injured myself by just trying to log distance and have neglected the other areas of core strength and even rest days. I’d love to see this plan adapted for marathon training.

  • Jane Hightowee

    Wondering if this could be adapted to a marathon training plan. I have injured myself just trying to log distance which neglecting things like core strength and rest days. This plan looks very balanced and safe. Wonder how I could adapt it to a marathon plan.

  • Kendall Carpenter

    I just joined your 5K because my mom and I are trying to be more active! You have been a huge inspirtation for me to get out there, and get back in shape! College has made it hard for me to find time for myself, and I’m taking charge now! One questions though, any preferences on running shoes? Excited to see what’s to come! 🙂

  • Jorge Berenguer

    Hi Gen, Saw the program and showed it to my wife since we both run everyday and she loved it so as of monday we are both doing the trainning. It’s more for her since she had to stop running do to her knee injury. but getting back and getting stronger. Thanks.

  • Jorge Berenguer

    Best of luck at the Boston Marathon, use to live in Boston Mass. and loved living their, but got sick of the snow every year seem to be more and more and fet up with it. Lived in Cambridge, Summervill, Waltham Mass. Now Living in The beautiful Island of Puerto Rico, in the Southwest coast of the Island. Hope you visit some day. Put I have done my 21km run here in Puerto RIco “Coamos Half Marathon” Called “San Blas” Well best of luck in the Boston marathon Race. I know you’ll come out STRONG..

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