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Walk & Run 101: Beginner 5k Program

Chase your next big goal with Columbus Running Company and Walk & Run 101, a beginner 5k program


It all starts with a single step. We're here to guide you through that step and beyond as you prepare for a 5k. 

CRC's WALK & RUN 101 program is designed for all abilities, ages, and experience levels. Week by week, we'll offer guidance, in-person training sessions, and everything you need to build towards your goal finish line. The program is beginner-friendly but also open to anyone preparing for a 3.1 mile race distance. Join us this summer and fall as we chase our goals together!


Start moving this summer by joining the Columbus Running Company’s Walk & Run 101 program. This beginner-friendly 5k program includes a 10 week training plan designed to lead you through the preparations needed to finish a 5k. You'll be guided by in-person coaching, videos, and emails. We're there to support you every step of the way.


  • WHEN: Sunday, July 23rd from 5:15-6:15pm
  • WHERE: The Westerville CRC (50 N State Street, Westerville)
  • WHAT: A free preseason info session where we'll cover the basic details of the season ahead. There's no running or walking at this event, and you don't have to be fully registered for the 101 program in order to join us at the info session. Bring your questions!
  • RSVP: If you haven't officially registered for Walk & Run 101 but you'd like to learn more, please RSVP here for the info session (note: RSVPing for the info session is not a commitment to joining the Walk & Run 101 program - it's just a chance to come learn more!) 


  • WHEN: Our training season starts on Saturday, August 5. Our season ends with our 5k on Saturday, October 14. 
  • WHERE: Coach-led, in-person training takes place every Saturday at 8am from the Westerville CRC (50 N State Street, Westerville).
  • WHAT: You'll receive a training schedule, weekly coaching messages, in-person training each Saturday, perks like a CRC gift card and tech shirt, and entry into the 5k honoring Jesse Owens at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon weekend of races.
  • TOPICS COVERED: As the weeks go by, you'll learn about form, nutrition, injury prevention, race etiquette, proper shoes, and a whole lot more.
  • RACE DAY EXPERIENCE: We'll meet as a group at the Jesse Owens 5k presented by Park National Bank. We'll pump you up with one last pep talk before heading to the starting line to earn that finisher medal!
  • COST: Early bird registration is $70 through July 30th. Late registration is $80 from July 31st through August 8th. 

Come run or walk your way to fitness with CRC in 2023.


Registration for our 2023 Walk & Run 101 is $70 (early bird through July 30) or $80 (late registration from July 31 through August 8). All registrants will receive:

  • An introductory email that is full of tips to get you started
  • Access to a coach-led info session to kick things off
  • Weekly coaching emails which will include subjects such as nutrition, pacing, stretching and warming up, form, etc. 
  • Weekly coach-led training runs and walks
  • Ten week 5K training schedule with three runs or walks each week
  • A CRC tech shirt (a $30 value) 
  • $10 gift card to Columbus Running Company



Hi, I’m Johanna! I have been running off and on for many years but consistently for the last three years. I love running at all the different Metro Parks and especially enjoy doing that with buddies. I also like running with my dog, Rosie. I can't wait to help you reach for your own goals!

I'm a total beginner and I'm sure I'll be the slowest. Is there a place for me?

- For sure! There's a place for everyone in the walking and running community, and there's no judgement about pace or ability. We all have to start somewhere, and there's a place for you on our starting line. Let's do this!

Can you tell me more about the preseason info session?

Each season of our Walk & Run 101 program begins with an information session. At this event, we'll be covering the basics of your training plan and it's a great chance to meet with our head coach. Bring your questions. Let's use this night as a chance to jumpstart your two month buildup towards race day.  

There is NO walking or running workout scheduled at our information session, so it's a low-key opportunity for you to ease into the program. After that, we'll host our weekly workouts every Saturday at 8:00am at Columbus Running Company in Westerville. Our summer information session is on Sunday evening, July 24th at 6:30pm at Columbus Running Company's Westerville store, located at 50 N State Street, Westerville, OH. Register to train with us this season, and we'll see you at our information session as we get started on the path to that 5k finish line together.

Which race are participants taking part in?

- This is a 5k training group. For our current season, weʼre targeting the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon 5k Honoring Jesse Owens on October 14th. 

What if Iʼm preparing for a race other than the groupʼs primary goal event?

- Youʼre welcome to use the CRC training plan for any race of your choosing. Just remember that your Walk & Run 101 registration does include automatic entry into the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon 5k Honoring Jesse Owens. 

I canʼt make it to every training session. Can I still take part in the group?

- Of course. Join us when you can, and put in those solo miles when you canʼt. Weʼre here to help you prepare for that big race, one way or another.

How do the group trainings work?

- The group meets at 8am at Columbus Running Company's Westerville location. Weʼll make a course announcement around 8:05am, and the workout will begin shortly after that. Weʼll have maps available for each route.  

I'm nervous about group runs & walks.  What do you recommend?

- Runners & walkers are a low-key, inviting group. We recommend that everyone give the group workouts three tries. The first time might feel a little overwhelming, as you learn the ropes, but the second time is much easier. By the third time, you'll be a pro. We hear a lot of people who worry about being the slowest participant out there. As beginners, we all started from that same point, and we'll have a big mix of abilities throughout the season. If you're willing to step outside of your comfort zone a bit and meet a lot of new people, we'll find others for you to share the miles with all season long. 

What paces and ability levels are in the group?

- Every season, we have a mix of both beginners and experienced runners & walkers - but most of our 101 members are pretty new to walking or running. Everyone has to start from scratch at some point, and we're here to help guide you as you get moving.  

Iʼve struggled with motivation in the past. What does CRC offer to help keep me going?

- First off, a group dynamic helps a TON when it comes to keeping your motivation going. As you get to know others, positive peer pressure is going to keep you coming back. On top of that, weʼll be in touch via our coaching emails throughout your training season to keep you excited about coming out on Saturday mornings to share the paths with us. We'll even have a dedicated 101 coach on hand to help at the group runs & walks. 

What sets Walk & Run 101 apart from other beginner programs?

- After almost two decades, Walk & Run 101 has led so many others into lifelong running and walking routines. We're going to boost your training through videos from local walkers, runners, a physical therapist, and nutritionist in the weekly coaching emails. We believe you will find these emails and videos not only informative but also motivational to keep you on pace. Aside from the training, you will also receive a training shirt, coupon, and coaching support.  

How do I access my training plan? 

- Once you register for the season, you'll receive a confirmation email. This email will contain two levels of 5k training plans, both targeting our goal race. 

This all sounds super awesome. What do I need to do to get started?

- Aww, thanks. Register today and then lace up the shoes to join us every week from now until race weekend. Good luck.


Further questions? Contact us at [email protected]



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