If you would like to know how to train effectively, without accumulating unnecessary miles, choose a training plan.



FREE 5K Training Plan for Beginners [with PDF]


This 5K training plan is intended for beginners who want to run their first 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). In this article, you can also download a PDF 5K training plan for beginners for FREE.

In order to be able to follow this training plan, you need to be able to run for 10 minutes continuously, without stopping.

The training plan includes 8 weeks of training, with 3 training sessions per week. For better clarity, it is divided into three phases:

  • 1-2 – Introductory – preparation for more intensive workouts
  • 3-7 – Specific – intensive and specific workouts
  • 8 – Taper – lower-volume training before the race

If this 5K training plan seems too easy for you, click here for a training plan for intermediate runners.

training plan - OLYRUN

Train smarter, run faster!

Take your running to the next level with a training plan designed for everyone who wants to train as efficiently as possible.

5K training plan for beginners

Every runner is an individual for themself and each of us knows our body best. Therefore, adjust the training plan to your capabilities. If you feel tired, rest that day. However, don’t let a lack of discipline and motivation stop you from sticking to the plan and achieving your goal.

Example

You can run easy runs on Saturday instead of Sunday. It is only important to make sure that you have at least 1 day of rest between two training sessions.

Below is an 8-week 5K training plan for beginners (in miles).

MONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
WEEK 1RESTRUN/WALK 36′
10′ + 3 x 5′ run, between 3′ walk + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10 x (1′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
3 x 0.62mi, P 3′
WEEK 2RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10′ run + 5′ walk + 5′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 39′
10′ + 6 x (2′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
1.24mi + 0.62mi, P 3′
WEEK 3RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 10′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 10 x (2′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
 2mi + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 4RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 5′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 37′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ walk between + 5
RESTRESTEASY RUN
2mi + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 5RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTINTERVALS
8 x 400m,  P 1′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
2.5mi + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 6RESTRUN/WALK 50′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 15′ run + 5′
RESTFARTLEK 30′
10′ + 15′ (1′-1′) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
2.5mi + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 7RESTRUN/WALK 50′
10 +20′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTINTERVALS
6 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
2mi + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 8RESTRESTINTERVALS
4 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTEASY
15′ + 3 x 100m strides
RACE

Below is an 8-week 5K training plan for beginners (in kilometers).

MONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
WEEK 1RESTRUN/WALK 36′
10′ + 3 x 5′ run, between 3′ walk + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10 x (1′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
3 x 1 km, P 3′
WEEK 2RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10′ run + 5′ walk + 5′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 39′
10′ + 6 x (2′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
2 km + 1 km, P 3′
WEEK 3RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 10′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 10 x (2′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
 3 km + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 4RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 5′ run + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 37′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ walk between + 5
RESTRESTEASY RUN
3 km + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 5RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTINTERVALS
8 x 400m,  P 1′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 6RESTRUN/WALK 50′
10′ + 15′ run + 5′ walk + 15′ run + 5′
RESTFARTLEK 30′
10′ + 15′ (1′-1′) + 5′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 7RESTRUN/WALK 50′
10 +20′ run + 5′ walk + 10′ run + 5′
RESTINTERVALS
6 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTEASY RUN
3 km + 3 x 100m strides
WEEK 8RESTRESTINTERVALS
4 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTEASY
15′ + 3 x 100m strides
RACE

Download FREE 5K training plan for beginners

Structured 5K training plan for beginners  

5K training plan for beginners includes a combination of different types of training: run/walk workout, easy run, fartlek, intervals, and strength training.

RUNNING/WALKING

Goal: adapting your body to the stress of running, improving endurance

Warm-up: 10 minutes of walking, mobility, and dynamic stretching exercises

Cooldown: 5 minutes of walking, static stretching exercises

Pace: parts of the run are run by feel, at a completely low pace

Example: RUNNING/WALKING 36′ = 10′ + 3 x 5’ of running with 3′ of walking in between + 5′

  • 36′ – total duration of running/walking workout is 36 minutes
  • 10′ – 10 minutes of walking (warm-up)
  • 3 x 5’ of running with 3′ of walking in between – repeat 3 times 5 minutes of running, followed by 3 minutes of walking
  • 5′ – 5 minutes of walking (cooldown)

EASY RUN

Goal: it serves as a warm-up before a particular workout, as a cooldown after training, or for recovery, as a separate workout

Warm-up: if you are doing an easy run as a separate workout, for warm-up do mobility and dynamic stretching exercises

Cooldown: if you are doing an easy run as a separate workout, for cooldown do static stretching exercises

Pace: run by feel at a light intensity, you should feel comfortable and relaxed while running

Tip

You can’t run too slow when you jog, just too fast. A common mistake runners make is running too fast on days when they should be doing low-intensity workouts.

FARTLEK

Goal: improves speed and endurance, makes it easier to overcome the changes in pace during the race

Warm-up: 10 minutes of light, continuous running, without stopping, moving on to the main part of training

Cooldown: 5 minutes of light jogging, static stretching exercises

Pace: run by feel, without tracking your pace. Listen to your body. The pace varies from slow running up to 70% of your maximum speed. Run fast sections at a faster but controlled pace, at about 70% of your maximum, and run slow sections at an easy pace to recover and prepare yourself for a faster section.

Example: FARTLEK 30′ = 10′ + 15′ (1′-1′) + 5′

  • 30′ – total duration of fartlek is 30 minutes
  • 10′ – 10 minutes of warm-up running at a light intensity
  • 15′ (1′-1′) – 15 minutes are the part in which you alternate between fast and slow sections, that is, 1 minute of faster running followed by 1 minute of slower running, which means that there are 8x faster and 7x slower sections in total
  • 5′ – 5 minutes of very light jogging (cooldown)

Read more: What is Fartlek? (12 Creative Fartlek Training Examples)

INTERVALS

Goal: improve endurance and speed endurance, running economy, the body’s ability to break down lactic acid (increase the lactate threshold), and develop a sense of pace

Warm-up: 10 minutes of light jogging, mobility, and dynamic stretching exercises, running drills – 2 x 40m (ankling and high knees), 3 x 60m strides

Cooldown: 5 minutes of very light jogging, static stretching exercises

Pace: run at a 5K race pace

Example: INTERVALS 8 x 400m, P 1′

Warm up as directed. Rest. Then run a total of 8 intervals of 400m. After each interval, there is a break of 1 minute of standing still. After you finish the main part of the workout, continue jogging (cool down according to the instructions).

STRIDES

Strides are gradual accelerations over distances between 60 and 100 meters. In this training plan, you will do them after light jogging or as a part of the warm-up before interval training.

Goal: developing speed and improving your running technique

Pace: they are performed at a pace that ranges from very light to 90% of your maximum speed

Read more: What Are Running Strides And How To Do Them?

STRENGTH TRAINING

In addition to running, add strength training. By strengthening the entire body, you will reduce your risk of injury, improve strength and stability, correct muscle imbalances, and therefore become faster.

Do strength training at least twice a week on days that suit you best.

Research has shown that it is optimal to do strength training 2 to 3 times a week over the course of 8 to 12 weeks, in order to improve the running capabilities of more advanced middle- and long-distance runners.

During the last week of training (week 8), avoid strength training so that you are rested before the start of the race.

See strength training with all exercises in the article Strength Training for Runners (Top 19 Workout Exercises).

REST DAY

For progress, in addition to diversity, rest is also important. Don’t neglect your rest days, no matter how good you feel.

Tip

Adequate recovery is just as important as training. More training does not mean faster progress but, on the contrary, a greater risk of injury and overtraining.

5K training plan for beginners (PDF)


matea-matosevic-running

Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m an Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…