Training Plan For Your First 5K Race

Beginner's 5K Training Schedule

Running your first 5K race is a magical thing! You train, you run, and you realize that the adrenalin of the race and crossing the finish line is a unique high. Many consider the 5K distance a gateway race, meaning completing this distance leads to other races. If you can run 3.1 miles, then why not try for 6.2 and compete in a 10K? Why not tackle a triathlon?

Physical therapist and running specialist Julie Ann Dougery of the CMPC Running Clinic created this 5K training schedule just for us. Her goal is to help you run a 10-minute-mile race and train injury-free. Before starting this 11-week schedule, you should be able to run 20 to 30 minutes continuously without pain. The plan has you running three days a week, supplemented with cross training, but be sure to rest at least one day a week.

Check out the training plan below.

Key
2 miles (12-min. mile): Run two miles at a 12-minute-per-mile pace
XT: Cross train (biking, swimming, water running, strength training, hiking, walking)
Tempo run: A short run at a quick pace, only slightly slower than race pace
Speed work: Different types of interval training done at a track

Deciphering a Speed Workout

Speed work: 4 miles (1 mile warmup; 2x1600m at 9:45-minute pace, 800m jogs in between; 1 mile cooldown): Run four miles total; warm up for one mile, then do two reps of 1600-meter runs (one mile, or four times around a standard 400-meter track) at a pace of 9:45 minutes per mile; between reps, jog for 800 meters; after your second rep, cool down by jogging for one mile.

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
One Rest Rest Easy run: 3 miles (12-min. mile) Rest/XT XT Easy run:
2 miles (12-min. mile)
XT
Two Easy run: 3 miles (12-min. mile) XT Easy run: 3 miles (12-min. mile) XT or rest XT or rest Easy run: 3 miles (12-min. mile) XT or rest
Three Easy run:
3 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT Easy run:
3 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest XT or rest Easy run: 3 miles (12-min. mile) XT or rest
Four Easy run:
4 miles (12-min. mile)
XT Easy run:
3 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest XT or rest Easy run:
3 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest
Five Easy run:
4 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT Easy run:
4 miles (12-min. mile)
XT or rest XT or rest Easy run:
4 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest
Six Easy run
3 miles (11-min. mile)
XT Easy run:
3 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest XT or rest Easy run:
3 miles (11-min. mile)
XT or rest
Seven Easy run:
3 miles (11-min. mile)
XT Tempo run: 4 miles
(1 mile warmup; 2 miles at 10:15 min./mile; 1 mile cooldown)
XT or rest XT or rest Long run:
5 miles (12-min. mile)
XT or rest
Eight Easy run:
3 miles (11-min. mile)
XT Speed work: 4 miles
(1 mile warmup; 2x1600m at 9:45-min. pace,
800m jogs in between; 1 mile cooldown)
XT or rest XT or rest Long run:
5 miles (12-min. mile)
XT or rest
Nine Easy run:
3 miles (11-min. mile)
XT Speed work: 4 miles (1 mile warmup; 3x800m at 4:38 pace, 400m jogs in between; 1 mile cooldown) XT or rest XT or rest Long run:
5 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or Rest
Ten Easy run:
3 miles 11.5-min. mile
XT Tempo run: 4 miles
(1 mile warmup; 2 miles at 10:15 min./mile; 1 mile cooldown)
XT or rest XT or rest Long run:
5 miles (11.5-min. mile)
XT or rest
Eleven XT or rest Easy run:
2 miles (12-min. mile)
XT or rest Speed work: 3 miles (1 mile warmup; 2x800m at 4:38 pace, 400m jogs in between; 1 mile cooldown) XT or rest XT or rest RACE DAY

Here's an image-free printable training schedule. Print it out and tape it to your fridge for extra inspiration. If you've had a handful of 5K races and are working on your personal record, then try this training schedule from coach Andrew Kastor. Happy training!

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