Beginner 5K Training Plan
5k & 10k Training Advice,Race Training Schedules
Beginner 5K Training Plan

Your 10-week beginner runner, 5K training plan

The goal is to make Couch to 5k achievable and indeed inevitable, by gradually increasing the workload to let your body adapt to what you are asking of it. It is asking you to find time to exercise on 3 days a week. Each session, together with a brief warm up and warm down afterwards, should be achievable in under, or around an hour.

Start with whatever comfy loose-fitting sports clothing or shoes you have in the house. Once you feel, “Okay, I think I am enjoying this and going to stick with it,” do invest in a proper pair of running shoes and socks etc. Good luck!


BEGINNER'S 5K TRAINING SCHEDULE

(Can be adapted for 2 Miles)

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Run 1min, Walk 1min, Repeat x10 Rest Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest or 30min Walk
Week 2 Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 Rest Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 4min, Walk 3min, Repeat x3 Rest or 30min Walk
Week 3 Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 4min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 5min, Walk 3min, Repeat x3 Rest or 30min Walk
Week 4 Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 4min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 8-10min, Walk 3min, Run 5min Rest or 30min Walk
Week 5 Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 5min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 12min, Walk 3min, Run 5min Rest or 30min Walk
Week 6 Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x6 Rest Run 5min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 15min, Walk 3min, Run 5min Rest or 30min Walk
Week 7 Run 4min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 6min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 20min, Walk 3min, Run 5min Rest or 30min Walk
Week 8 Run 4min, Walk 1min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 5min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 22-25min, Walk 3min, Run 5min Rest or 30min Walk
Week 9 Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 3min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 45min Cross Train / Alternate Exercise Rest Run 20min OR Run 7min, Walk 3min, Repeat x3 Rest or 30min Walk
Week 10 Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x5 Rest Run 2min, Walk 2min, Repeat x4 Rest Rest Rest 5k Race

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BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO RUNNING A 5K RACE

  • Look at the schedule, and ask yourself, “How and where can I best fit the schedule into my life? Morning? Lunchtime? Evening?”
  • Know and try to understand what each daily session is.
  • It might feel easy, even too easy in the early stages. That is okay and is allowing for your body to adapt.
  • Rest and recovery afterwards and between exercise sessions is important.
  • Incorporating some simple stretching, strengthening and mobility excercises – or a yoga or pilates class once a week on non-running days – is good .
  • Be prepared to be flexible as things crop up in your life, and reschedule your session if necessary.
  • Don’t talk yourself out of training, but if you really feel unwell you should rest. If you're just feeling lethargic after a long day at work, some exercise is often good to shake that off, and one often feels better afterwards!
  • Trust the schedule. If you start to doubt yourself, remember thousands of people, just like you, have successfully got from Couch to 5k following similar plans.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long does it take to train for a 5K?

It can vary from individual to individual, depending on many factors, like: age, experience, natural ability etc. Fitter, younger people who may have done other sports can achieve the goal quicker than people of any age, with no recent exercise history, starting running for the first time. Most coaches say an average of 8-10 weeks is achievable by most people.

What's a good 5K time for beginners?

Again, many factors are involved. We have the body we have, and we can't all be naturals, like Laura Muir or Mo Farah. Any time is good for your first 5k. It will be a PB (Personal Best) and many coaches say with your first one, don’t even think abut the time, just concentrate on achieving the distance. However, there is definitely a little competitive animal in all of us no matter our standard. Without wishing to pigeonhole anyone, as a very rough guide:

  1. Finishing is good. 
  2. 36 minutes shows you have done the work to go beyond walking pace.
  3. 30 minutes and we are definitely in the, “I am getting the hang of this running lark”.
  4. 25 minutes, would look good in any Park Run results.
  5. 20 minutes, and we are in the realm of decent club runner standard and you could be thinking about joining a local club if you haven’t already.
  6. If you are a real achiever, the current world records are 12.37 for men and 14.11 for women.

5k Training Plan to Improve Speed »

How much should you run as a beginner?

Not much at all really. Your body needs to adapt gradually.

Any beginner’s or Couch to 5k schedule starts with a mix of walking and running. For some it will feel too easy at first. If you are serious in sticking at your new sport and want to continue it as a long-term life style choice, history shows with a graded schedule of walk/run and then gradually more running, you are far more likely to achieve long-term results and stick with it.


This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. The tips are ones we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises or advice, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

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