5k Training: Novice - Intermediate - Advanced
B
y Irfan Qureshi

What is your basic need to train for 5-K?

Some individuals who possess a reasonably good level of fitness (because they bicycle or swim or participate in other sports) could probably go out and run 3 miles on very little training. They might be sore the week after the race, but they still could finish.

But if you've made the decision to run a 5-K race, you might as well do it right. Above is an eight-week training schedule to help get you to the finish line. It assumes that you have no major health problems, are in reasonably good shape, and have done at least some jogging or walking.

If running 1.5 miles for your first workout seems too difficult, you might want to begin with the walking.

5k Training: Novice

 Week

 Mon

 Tue

 Wed

 Thu

 Fri

 Sat

Sun 

 1

Rst. Run/Walk

1.5m run

Rst. Run/Walk

 1.5m run

Rest

1.5m run

50-60 mins walk

2

Rst. Run/Walk

 1.75m run

Rst. Run/Walk

 1.5m run

Rest

1.75m run

30-60 mins walk

3

Rst. Run/Walk

2m run

Rst. Run/Walk

 1.5m run

Rest

2m run

30-60 mins walk

4

Rst. Run/Walk

 2.25m run

Rst. Run/Walk

 1.5m run

Rest

2.25m run

30-60 mins walk

5

Rst. Run/Walk

2.5m run

Rst. Run/Walk

 2m run

Rest

2.5m run

30-60 mins walk

6

Rst. Run/Walk

 2.75m run

Rst. Run/Walk

2m run

Rest

2.75m run

30-60 mins walk

7

Rst. Run/Walk

3m run

Rst. Run/Walk

2m run

Rest

3m run

30-60 mins walk

8

Rst. Run/Walk

3m run

Rst. Run/Walk

2m run

Rest

Rest

5K Race


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5k Training: Intermediate


To set a PR, you need to improve your endurance and your speed. You can do this by (1) running more miles, (2) running faster, or (3) some combination of both. In order to achieve full benefit from this program, you probably need to have been running 3-4 days a week for the last year or two and averaging 15-20 miles weekly, It helps if you have an understanding of the concepts of speed-work.

Here is the type of training you need to do, if you want to improve your 5-K time:

Run Fast: For several of the Saturday runs, I suggest that you run "fast." How fast is "fast?" Again, that depends on your comfort level. Go somewhat faster than you would on a "run" day. If you are doing this workout right, you probably do not want to converse with your training partner, assuming you have one. It's okay now to get out of breath.

Long Runs:
Once a week, go for a long run. Run 5 to 7 miles at a comfortable pace, not worrying about speed or distance. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you run; if not, you're going to fast. Don't be afraid to stop to walk, or stop to drink. This should be an enjoyable workout, not one during which you punish yourself.

Interval Training:
To improve speed, you sometimes need to train at a pace somewhat faster than your race pace for the 5-K, about the pace you would run in a 1500 meter or mile race. Run 400 meters hard, then recover by jogging and/or walking 400 meters. Before starting this workout, warm-up by jogging a mile or two, stretching, and doing a few sprints of 100 meters. Cool down afterwards with a short jog.

Tempo Runs:
This is a continuous run with an easy beginning, a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace, then ease back and cruise to the finish. A typical tempo run would begin with 5-10 minutes easy running, continue with 10-15 faster running, and finish with 5-10 minutes cooling down. You can't figure out your pace on a watch doing this workout; you need to listen to your body. Tempo runs are very useful for developing anaerobic threshold, essential for fast 5-K racing.

Rest:
You can't train hard unless you are well-rested. The schedule includes two designated days for rest: Mondays and Fridays. The easy 3-mile runs scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays are also to help you rest for hard workouts on other days. The final week before the 5-K also is a rest week. Taper your training so you can be ready for a peak performance on the weekend.

Stretch & Strengthen:
An important addendum to any training program is stretching. Don't overlook it--particularly on days when you plan to run fast. Strength training is important too: push-ups, pull-ups, use of free weights or working out with various machines at a Health Club. Runners generally benefit if they combine light weights with a high number of repetitions, rather than pumping very heavy iron. Tuesdays and Thursdays would be good days to combine stretching and strengthening with your easy run, however, you can schedule these workouts on any day that is convenient for your business and personal schedule. For some good routines, must do some stretch and strength.

Racing:
Some racing is useful in helping you to peak. Consider doing some other races at 5-K to 10-K distances to test your fitness. The following schedule includes a test 5-K race halfway through the program. You could race more frequently (once every two weeks), but too much racing is not a good idea.

The schedule above is only a guide. If you want to do long runs on Saturday rather than Sunday, simply flip-flop the days. If you have an important appointment on a day when you have a hard workout planned, do a similar flip-flop with a rest day. Feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule. It's less important what you do in any one workout than what you do over the full eight weeks leading up to your 5-K.

5k Training: Intermediate

 Week

 Mon

 Tue

 Wed

 Thu

 Fri

 Sat

Sun 

 1

Rest

3m run

5 x 400

 3m run

Rest

3m run

5m run

2

Rest

3m run

30 mins Tempo

3m run

Rest

3m run fast

5m run

3

Rest

3m run

6 x 400

3m run

Rest

4m run

6m run

4

Rest

3m run

35 mins Tempo

3m run

Rest

Rest

5 K Test

5

Rest

3m run

7 x 400

3m run

Rest

4m run fast

6m run

6

Rest

3m run

40 mins Tempo

3m run

Rest

5m run

7m run

7

Rest

3m run

8 x 400

3m run

Rest

5m run

7m run

8

Rest

2m run

30 mins Tempo

2m run

Rest

Rest

5K Race

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5k Training: Advance

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