A 6-week workout plan for your first 5K

There are two types of basic training plans for those just starting out to run and training up to running a 5K, they are timed training and distance training. Although each person is different and therefore each workout should be different by following one the plans below you should be able to get 5K ready in just 6-weeks!

Distance Training

The idea of distance running, liked timed running is to slowly build up, although in this case building on distance rather than time. Again, once you reach your ideal distance you can start adding hills or intervals to increase your running ability. You will need a pedometer for this training, or to run in an area where mileage is already marked out for you. An example workout is set up below, but remember each person is different, so vary the workout (add or increase distance) depending on your ability.

Week ONE The first week, run ½ mile, jogging as long as you can, walking when you need to. Take your time, if you push yourself too soon, you will be sore and uncomfortable, and may lose motivation. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week TWO For week 2, add ½ mile minutes to your total time, so that your distance is now 1 mile. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid ¼ of a mile, so start your run, look at the mile markers (or if on a track do one lap). Remember, you are going to run for a mile, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a ¼ stretch of uninterrupted running within that 1 mile block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week THREE Week 3, add ½ mile minutes to your total time, so that your distance is now 1 ½ miles. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid ½ of a mile, so start your run, look at the mile markers (or if on a track do one lap). Remember, you are going to run for a mile, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a ½ stretch of uninterrupted running within that 1 ½ mile block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week FOUR Week 4 add ½ mile minutes to your total time, so that your distance is now 2 miles. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid ¾ of a mile, so start your run, look at the mile markers (or if on a track do one lap). Remember, you are going to run for 2 miles, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a ¾ stretch of uninterrupted running within that 2 mile block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week FIVE Week 5, almost there! Again add ½ mile to your workout, brining you to a 2 ½ mile run, running at least 1 mile. You are probably starting to get into a groove, where you settle into your run and "coast" for a while. That is what you are looking for. Run as much as you are comfortable, but do not hesitate to walk if you feel like you need a break. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week SIX Week 6, the countdown is on, only a week until race day! Do one more hard workout in the beginning of the week, adding that last ½, making your total distance 3 miles, try to run as much as you can without stopping. Do a 2 mile workout midweek another 2 mile workout at the end of the week, walking whenever necessary and not pushing too hard (you need to save some up for race day!) Be sure to take the day before the race off!

RACE!

Don't forget to stretch!

Stretching is very important to keep muscles loose and healthy. Prevent injuring by stretching before and after running, and help with muscles soreness by stretching in the morning an before you go to sleep at night.

Timed Traning

The idea of timed training is to slowly build up the amount of time you are exercising, without focusing on distance. For instance, you start out running for 10 minutes, than add a few minutes on each time you run. Slowly building up the amount of time you run. Once you get to your ideal time you can start adding hills or intervals to increase your running ability. You will need a stop watch for this method. An example workout is set up below, but remember each person is different, so vary the workout (add or increase time) depending on your ability.

Week ONE The first week, aim to exercise for 10 minutes, jogging as long as you can, walking when you need to. Take your time, if you push yourself too soon, you will be sore and uncomfortable, and may lose motivation. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week TWO For week 2, add 5 minutes to your total time, so that you are exercising for 15 minutes. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid 5 minutes, so start your run, look at your watch and try to run without stopping for 5 minutes. Remember, you are going to exercise for 15 minutes, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a 5 minute uninterrupted stretch within that 15 minute block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week THREE Week 3, again add 5 minutes to your total time so that you are now at 20 minutes. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid 7 minutes, so start your run, look at your watch and try to run without stopping for 7 minutes. Remember, you are going to exercise for 20 minutes, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a 7 minute uninterrupted stretch within that 20 minute block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week FOUR Week 4, again add 5 minutes to your total time so that you are now at 25 minutes. Your goal for this week is to run for a solid 10 minutes, so start your run, look at your watch and try to run without stopping for 10 minutes. Remember, you are going to exercise for 25 minutes, and ideally run a good part of that time, so feel free to take walk breaks, but aim for a 10 minute uninterrupted stretch within that 25 minute block. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week FIVE Week 5, almost there! Again add 5 minutes, brining you to a 30 minute run, running at least 10 minutes at a time. You are probably starting to get into a groove, where you settle into your run and "coast" for a while. That is what you are looking for. Run as much as you are comfortable, but do not hesitate to walk if you feel like you need a break. Do three workouts with a days rest between each.

Week SIX Week 6, the countdown is on, only a week until race day! You want to continue to train, but also add some rest before the race. I suggest a 30 minute workout at the beginning of the week, running for as long as you can and only walking when you absolutely need to. Than cutting back to a 20 minute run mid week and another 20 minute run the end of the week, walking whenever necessary and not pushing too hard (you need to save some up for race day!) Be sure to take the day before the race off!

RACE!

Combination

A lot of people find a combination works best for them, perhaps doing two timed workouts a week and one distance workout, to do this just use two workouts from Week One Timed Training and one workout from Week One Distance Training, and so on for the weeks that follow. The most important thing is that you keep moving and don't cut any of the workouts short, if you are tired walk, don't stop!

Good luck on your first 5K!!

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4 comments

A dude 7 years ago

Thanks for your help


TheMountainMan profile image

TheMountainMan 7 years ago from USA

Where is the race in the picture taken? Looks like a wonderful place to run. Great article!


Nick- The 6 Week Workout Program 6 years ago

Good article to help beginner's get ready for a 5k. Too often people start by doing too much and injure themselves and it not only injures their body, but their confidence and desire to train in the future. Quality!


CollB 5 years ago

Excellent tips. I started out walking and running a bit then gradually building up to 2 laps then 3.

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