5K Training Plans

The following free 5K training plans cover the following options:

  • Novice runners
  • Training to run a 5K under 25 minutes (or less)
  • Training to run a 5K run or race in 8 weeks (or less)

For advanced runners, an advanced 5K training plan is available from any of the following books. These are all great books that I own. The most flexible book is the Jack Daniels book with the Greg McMillan and Brad Hudson books being very targeted to running a specific race. I’ve used all of the training plans from these books and they’re all great. The reason I use the Jack Daniels book for the majority of my training is that most of running consists of frequent races and I need to structure my training with mini goals and overall goals. Races make up part of my training and fit well into the Jack Daniels systems. However, these are quite complex and you do need to do extensive reading and understanding to use any of them.


So, you’ve got a 5K run you’d like to do and need a plan. If you’ve never run one before, do ALL your training at a reserved or easy pace. Your first 5K will be a means for determine what training paces you should be using.

When you train for running, there’s a few distinct systems you’re training:

  • Speed, Strength and Economy Reps
  • VO2max Intervals – Your body’s’ ability to get oxygen to the parts of the body that need it
  • Threshold or Tempo runs – teaching your body to cope with longer periods at a decent pace
  • Easy runs

Each of these systems are trained and run at a certain pace and can be calculated IF you have a recent race that you’ve done. Don’t worry if you haven’t done a race, we’ll just make a judgement call and categories them as:

  • Reps – Not sprinting but running with this sort of form. Imagine running 200 metres in between 35 to 45 seconds. The distance range you’ll be doing for reps is from 200 metres to 600 metres.
  • Intervals – Quicker than you’d actually race but not as fast as Reps. The distance range you’ll be doing for reps is from 800 metres to 1200 metres.
  • Threshold – Slower than you’d actually race but quicker than an easy run. With threshold runs, these will generally be timed so we’d run between 5 minutes to 20 minutes for our threshold runs.
  • Easy – A nice conversational pace, slower than your threshold running and something you could maintain for 30 minutes or greater

If you have run a recent race, use the Jack Daniels V02max calculator, this will give you your training paces based upon the result from that race.

To use these running plans, just pick your race, work backwards from the race date and if it’s longer out than 8 weeks, build up to the start of the plan using easy running. If it’s less than 8 weeks, simply skip every second week which is a repeat of the previous week so you’ll have a 4 week preparation. However, it’s advisable to have at least 2 weeks easy so don’t skip weeks #1 and #2.

For the following plans change the order of the days to suit you and just try and get at least one day of not running between a running training session.

Don’t forget for every run, use the RUN ROUTINE from How To Structure 5K Training.

The following plans are divided into:

 




I’VE NEVER RUN BEFORE 5K PLAN

Training Week #1

This is an easy running week only, no fast running, this is just getting you ready!! Where the plan refers to running and walking, just run as long as you can with as many walk breaks in between as required.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 20 mins of running and walking
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 20 mins of running and walking
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 20 mins of running and walking
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #2

This is another easy running week only, no fast running, again this is just getting you ready!!

Don’t forget to do the Run Routine, this is an easy step to skip if you’re rushed for time but don’t skip it.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 25 mins of running and walking
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 25 mins of running and walking
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 25 mins of running and walking
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #3

This is another easy running week only, no fast running, again this is just getting you ready!! Try and do less walking and extend it out to 30 minutes if you can. And don’t forget the Run Routine.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 mins of running and walking
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 30 mins of running and walking
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running and walking
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #4

This week, try and complete all the sessions with RUNNING ONLY. We’ve reduced the times to accommodate this requirement.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 20 mins of running only
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 20 mins of running only
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 20 mins of running only
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #5

This week it’s just running again. Times are slightly extended to push you a bit more.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 25 mins of running only
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 25 mins of running only
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 25 mins of running only
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #6

This week we’re introducing a small amount of speed work. Where it says to do some reps, just run them at a comfortably fast pace, NO SPRINTING!! Between each rep, walk back to the start and give yourself a good 2 to 3 minutes recovery. Don’t forget to do the Run Routine!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 25 mins of running + (2 x 200 metres REPS)
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 25 mins of running + (2 x 200 metres REPS)
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 25 mins of running + (2 x 200 metres REPS)
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #7

This week we’re doing some structured speed work. For the fast sessions, you’ll run at an easy pace for 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes at a slightly faster pace (NOT SPRINTING but quick enough to make you puff). You’ll repeat this twice so 5 minutes fast, 5 minutes easy, 5 minutes fast, 5 minutes easy.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 mins running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday 5 mins THRESHOLD, 5 mins easy, 5 mins THRESHOLD, 5 mins easy
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #8

This is our last week of training before our race and you’ve done all the hard work. So, this week will be more about easy runs with some REPS added on the end to keep your legs feeling fast.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 mins running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday 20mins easy + (3 x 100 metres REPS)
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 20 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday RACE DAY

 


I’D LIKE TO GET FASTER AT 5K PLAN

Training Week #1

This is an easy running week only, no fast running, this is just getting you ready!! Don’t forget to do the Run Routine!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 25 to 35 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 25 to 35 mins of running
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 25 to 35 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #2

This is another easy running week only, no fast running, again this is just getting you ready!!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #3

This is the first week where we introduce some speed work. This speed workout consists of doing what is called a 30-20-10. You’ll run easy for 30 seconds, pick up the pace a bit for 20 seconds then run the last 10 seconds fast (or INTERVAL pace). And repeat…and don’t forget to do the Run Routine!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 10 mins of running + (5 x (30-20-10s)) + easy 10 mins
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #4

This week we repeat the 30-20-10s again…

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 10 mins of running + (6 x (30-20-10s)) + easy 10 mins
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #5

This week we change to some slightly tougher speed workouts. You’re going to run at what you’ll imagine is race pace for short periods of time. Don’t forget to do the Run Routine!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday Easy 10 mins + 2 mins at hard pace (INTERVAL) + easy 10 mins + 2mins at hard pace (INTERVAL)
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #6

This week for the training session, you’ll perform a progression run. Every 5 minutes pick up the pace to finish the last 5 minutes at what feels like race pace. Plus we’ll add in some REPS for leg speed, just don’t go too fast on the REPS.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday 20 minute progression run, starting at 5 mins easy, increasing speed every 5mins
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running + (3 x 200 metres REPS)
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #7

This week we’re doing slightly longer and therefore slightly easier speed work. You need to finish this workout so don’t go too fast. Don’t forget to do the Run Routine!

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 to 40 mins of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday 10 mins easy, 10 mins THRESHOLD pace, 5 mins easy
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 30 mins of running + (3 x 200 metres REPS)
Friday Day off
Saturday Day off

Training Week #8

This is our last week of training before our race and you’ve done all the hard work. So, this week will be more about easy runs with some REPS added on the end to keep your legs feeling fast.

Day Training
Sunday Easy 30 of running
Monday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Tuesday 25mins easy + (4 x 100 metres REPS)
Wednesday Day off or cross training – Swimming/Cycling
Thursday Easy 20 mins running
Friday Day off
Saturday RACE DAY

 

 

Last Updated: September 19th 2017