5k Training Plan For Beginners

If you are fairly new to running or looking to get fit, or returning to running after a break, then training for a 5k is the perfect distance to focus on. This 5k training plan for beginners is a great place to start if you are already able to run a mile or so continuously, or the plan can be used as a follow-on from our couch to 5k training plan.

If you already possess a reasonable level of fitness then it is entirely possible that you could already run 3.1 miles on very little training. However, if you are going to enter a 5k race or are using the distance to get fit then you might as well do it properly and do the best you can!

Our 8-week 5k training plan for beginners is geared towards the complete novice or occasional runner. For more advanced 5k training plans or if you fancy a bit more of a challenge why not pursue a 5k training plan that targets a particular time. You can follow one of our more race-pace structured 5k training plans:

When training for a 5k, use the following 5k training plan as a guide. Please feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family commitments.
The progression below suggests increasing the distance by a quarter of a mile each week. That’s approximately 400m or 1 lap of a running track but if you train on the roads, or on trails, it’s more difficult to measure precisely how far you have run. So if in doubt, approximate the distance but be careful not to increase by too much as this could lead to injury.

This training plan assumes you’ll be targeting a local ParkRun for your first 5k race challenge and so has set the race day for a Saturday. Sunday is cake day.

Week #MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1Walk1.5 mile runRest1.5 mile runRest1.5 mile runLong Walk
2Rest1.75 mile runRest1.75 mile runRest1.75 mile runLong Walk
3Rest2 mile runRest2 mile runRest2 mile runLong Walk
4Rest2.25 mile runRest2.25 mile runRest2.25 mile runLong Walk
5Rest2.5 mile runRest2.5 mile runRest2.5 mile runLong Walk
6Rest2.75 mile runRest2.75 mile runRest2.75 mile runLong Walk
7Rest3 mile runRest3 mile runRest3 mile runLong Walk
8Rest3.25 mile runRest3.25 mile runRestRace!Eat Cake


Keen amateur runner & qualified coaching assistant who likes keeping fit & devising training plans that help you get faster. The plans on this site have helped me knock minutes off all my times.

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt!
    Do you got a recommendation for a target pace for the runs? Thanks!

  2. Taylor Wright says:

    I have always heard/read that the maximum MPW increase should be no more than 10%, however, this plan doesn’t drop below a 10% MPW increase until Weeks 6-8. I also don’t see any recovery weeks, as the MPW progression is linear. Is there something unique about such a low weekly mileage that permits this?

    Also, is there a minimum base weekly mileage you suggest someone be at before beginning to improve their 5k speed? I am training for the Marine Physical Fitness Test 3mi run and my goal is sub 18min.

    Thank you!

  3. Evangelos says:

    What pace should we target for those runs?

    • queenc3 says:

      should be at any pace.. as long as you not walking ..

      the target is to jog or run continuously without break for 5km

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