The 5k race distance is often seen as an ideal running challenge to focus on. It serves as a great introductory distance for the beginner racer or people new to running, while also being a key test of strength and speed for the more experienced runner.
Regardless of ability, the 5k distance will test your capacity to maintain a fast pace over 3.1 miles.
We have devised structured 5k training plans for runners of all abilities, so even if you are looking for a training plan for beginners, or you want to join the sub 20 5k club, we have a training plan for you.
Completely new to running? Then try our couch to 5k training plan first.
Your 5K Training Plan Components
Whichever training plan you are using, the sessions within the plan will be tailored specifically to get you to a target time. For 5k training, the sessions will largely consist of the following components:
- Steady Paced ‘Easy’ Runs – does exactly what it say’s on the tin. Nice gentle paced recovery run where you can enjoy the scenery. These will vary in length but expect 15-35 minutes as standard depending on which training plan you are following. These are largely run at a pace 30 secs slower per mile than your target race pace.
- High Intensity Interval Training – crucial addition to your training plan and these speed sessions will vary between 400 meter and 1 km reps targeted at your required race pace. Can be done outside at a track or indoors on a decent treadmill.
- Hill Sessions – hill sprints for improving running strength and form. See our Hill Sprints and Kenyan Hills training page for some examples.
- Fartlek Sessions – time-based derivative of speed interval training. These sessions are medium-hard, but playful.
- Long Runs – the ‘time on your feet’ run. For 5k training this doesn’t really need to be any longer than 10 miles (16km).
- Rest /Cross Training – last but definitely not least. Rest is a vital part of any 5k plan and should not be overlooked. These days will benefit you both physically and mentally.
Select a 5k Training Plan
10k Training Plans
Looking for a 10k training plan? Check out the 10k training plan section for structured training plans from a 60 minute 10k down to a 30 minute 10k.