12-Week 5K Training Plan for Beginners | runningbrite (2022)

Running a 5K

Running a 5k is an impressive feat of endurance, strength, and perseverance. For most people it is a nearly impossible task to just get up off the couch without a proper 5k training plan.

However, it is not an impossible feat to accomplish. In fact, anyone can do it…

with the proper training!

Perhaps you have never really run before or maybe you have already run a half-marathon or marathon, but want to take try a faster paced race, we are here to help you.

By following this easy 12-week 5k training schedule, you will be well on your way to finishing your first 5k!

Pre-training Requirements

Before you jump into this plan it is important that you have a bitof a base first. If you aren’t properly prepared before starting, you greatlyincrease the chances of injury.

You should be able to run the following schedule for at least 4 to 5 weeks with little trouble before starting the 12 week 5k plan.[1]coolrunning – Beginner Marathon Program

12-Week 5K Training Plan for Beginners | runningbrite (1)

The 12-Week 5K Training Plan

Check out below for the full beginner 5k training plan.

12-Week 5K Training Plan for Beginners | runningbrite (2)

Types of Running Workouts

Perhaps if you are really new to running, after reading the 5k plan you are completely lost. Don’t worry, we have included simple explanations below to help you.

However, even if you are an experienced runner, it doesn’thurt to check out the following information to help refresh your memory.

Fartlek

Fartlek is the Swedish word for “speed play”. For mostpeople, it quite simply is just easy running mixed in with quick sprints.However, if you are just a beginner don’t feel bad if you need to walk in theeasy sections.

One of the biggest questions many people ask when doingFartleks is how much fast running do I need to do.

The simple answer is it’s up to you! For example, you candecide that you will easy jog for 2 blocks and then sprint for 1 block. Itreally doesn’t matter. The most important part is that you are mixing indifferent intensity levels in your run.

(Video) 12 Week Workout Schedule for 5K

Just as a reminder, in the workout plan above, the totaldistance for the run includes both warm-up and warm down.

5k

In the above plan, when you see 5k pace, it simply means to run at a pace that you expect you could run a 5k that day.

Hills

Hills are a great way to incorporate strength training, build endurance, improve your running form, and increase your speed and power in your running.

In the above plan, when you see “Hills” it means you shoulddo repeats on a hill about 150 to 200 yards long.

When you see “Long hills”, do your repeats on a hill about400 to 600 yards long.

If you can’t find a hill in your area that is long enough,you can always run a route that has several smaller hills. Just make sure thatthe total uphill distance is the same.

Intervals

Interval training is an important part of any 5k training plan.

By running at faster than your goal 5k pace, you can build your running speed and stamina without putting your body through as great of a training stress.

In this plan, we have included both 440 (1 lap around a track) and 880 (2 laps around a track) repeats.

For the 440s give yourself 1 minutes of rest between each set.

For the 880s give yourself 2 minutes of rest between eachset.

Easy Runs

Easy running is a very important part your 5k training. It helps you build up the aerobic endurance necessary to run the full distance. In addition, it allows you to put the necessary training stress on your legs without completely killing yourself.

In fact, 80% or more of your runs should be run at this easy pace.[2]coolrunning – Beginner Half Marathon Program

An easy pace should be one that you can hold a conversationwhile running.

(Video) 10 week 'beginner to 5k' training plan

For those of you who need some numbers, you can use the MaffetoneMethod which helps your figure out your ideal running aerobic heart rate.

Link tothis article in the paragraph above: “How to run faster and stay healthy byrunning below your aerobic threshold”

If you would like to get a bit more detailed in the types ofruns you can include in your training, check out this article.

Include link to article about the types of runs you can do. “The 9 Different Types of Running Workouts You Should Include in Your Training

Weight Lifting

You might be surprised, but in this 5k training plan a good strength training routine is a very important part. You might have even thought that doing a weight training regime and big muscles would actually slow you done.

However, according to exercise scientist, Kenji Doma, Ph.D.,strength training actually makes you a faster runner because it helps decreasethe amount of energy you use while running.

In fact, when you run, your brain recruits your most fatigueresistant muscle fibers in order to minimize your energy usage. Therefore, byusing resistance training in conjunction with running can be a big help.

There are 3 things that you should keep in mind if you planon lifting weights and running in the same day (especially when you are doinglower body weight training):

  1. If you are going for an easy run, take at least 6 hours of rest before running.
  2. If you plan to do a hard running workout, you should leave at least 24 hours of rest between the two exercises.
  3. Do you running workouts before your lower body weight training days.[3]Runner’s World – Study Shows How to Best Combine Strength Training and Running

Check out the Strength Training Plan for Runners to Help Make You Faster and Stronger for some great weight lifting exercises you can add to your routine to help take your running to the next level.

The Importance of Warming Up

Before stretching or running, it is very important that youremember to warm up. This is because muscles are better able to respond afterwarming up. However, don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything crazy to warmup. In fact, a warm up routine can be as simple as walking for 5 to 10 minutesjust to get the blood pumping.

However, if you are one of those people who need to follow awarm up routine, check out the video below.

The Importance of Stretching in Your 5K Training Plan

Stretching is often an overlooked but very important part of a complete running routine. In fact, many doctors actually recommend stretching your muscles both before and after exercising. This is because exercises such as running shorten your muscles and can decrease you mobility over time. If you don’t address this, you can become less flexible which in turn can lead to suboptimal running form and even possible injury.[4]healthline – Essential Stretches for Runners

Quadriceps

The quads are the muscles in the front and side of yourthighs. They are one of the biggest muscles you use when running and areespecially important when running up and down hills.

(Video) 12 Week Workout Schedule for 5K

Hamstrings

The hamstrings are the muscles in the back part of yourthighs. These muscles are important for running because they help straightenyour hip and bend your knee. These muscles are often overlooked as you don’tuse them quite as much as your hamstrings. However, don’t forget that youshould stretch them as well.

Calf

The calves are the muscles in the back of your lower leg.These muscles are important for running as they help extend and flex your footas you land and take off from the ground.

Iliotibial band

The iliotibial band (ITB), is a thick band of fascia thatruns on the outside of your leg between your hip and shin. It is very importantin stabilizing your knees while running. However, if you don’t properly stretchthem, it can actually cause a lot of knee pain when you run.

Piriformis

The piriformis muscle is in your gluteal region. It isimportant not only for running but also walking because it helps keep your hipand pelvis stable. Unfortunately, due to its location, it is often overlookedand can cause you a lot of pain if not properly stretched.

Psoas

The psoas muscle is on the front of your spin. It helps connectyour lower back with your upper thigh. Every time you lift your knee, themuscle contracts. Every time you swing your leg back, it lengthens. Needless tosay, over the course of a run, you end up using the psoas a lot!

Gluteal muscles

The gluteal muscles, are more commonly known as the butt,are a very important muscle in running. They help extend your hip whilerunning. In addition, they stabilize you trunk and keep you upright. Strong andproperly stretched glutes help with your running form.

Groin

The groin muscles are the muscles between your stomach andthighs in the hip region. When running, they help keep your legs together aswell as provide balance for your pelvis.

(Video) Training For A 5k In 12 Weeks

Spine stretch

Running can be quite hard on your body. This is especiallytrue when running on hard surfaces such as roads and sidewalks. The constantpounding can cause tightness and pain in your spine. Therefore, it is veryimportant to focus on stretching this area.

Lower back

The lower back muscles are very important in helpingstabilize your body and keep proper form when running.

Proper Nutrition and Sleep

Running is a difficult exercise that puts a lot of stress onyour body. While you can do all the right things with regards to your trainingsuch as proper scheduling, resistance training, and even stretching, this will resultin nothing without a proper nutrition and health plan.

Think of your body like a car. If you are putting in thewrong gas, your car might work, but not to the best of its abilities. This isthe exact same thing with running. You can’t just eat junk food every day andexpect to run fast.

While you don’t need to completely give up eating tastysweets, it is important that everything you eat is part of a bigger nutritionplan.

If you would like to know more about nutrition and running, make sure to check out

  • The Top 10 Keto Mistakes You Should Avoid
  • How to Avoid Bonking in Your Next Race

In addition, sleep is an often overlooked part of running.Even if you are running and working out every day, you probably don’t do it formore than a few hours. However, you probably sleep way more than that.Therefore, why neglect such an important part of your recovery routine.

In fact, lack of sleep can lead to several negative side effects including reducing your body’s ability to store carbs; limiting the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH) which helps repair muscles, convert fat to fuel, and strengthen your bones; and increase your cortisol levels which slow down recovery.[5]U.S. News – How Better Sleep Can Improve Your Running Performance

Parting Words

For many people starting out, running a 5k can seem impossible. How can you run 3.1 miles without dying! However, you shouldn’t worry. Anyone can do it. However, it does require the proper 5k training plan with the proper nutrition and recovery.

While we can’t promise that you will be breaking any world records, if you follow the advice above, in 12 weeks, you should be more than ready to run and finish your first 5k.

However, if this plan seems a bit too easy for you, make sure to check out the

  • Intermediate 12-Week 5K Training Plan
  • Advanced 12-Week 5K Training Plan
  • Competitive 12-Week 5K Training Plan

Good Luck!!!

(Video) 4 Week 'Beginner to 5k' Training Plan | The Ultimate Guide

References[+]

FAQs

Is 3 months enough to train for a 5K? ›

Three months works because it's long enough to let you make physical and mental changes, yet short enough so you don't give up along the way. Three months is the perfect time frame to make you a 5K runner, because it's just enough time to get you into shape — without trying your patience.

Can I train for a 5K in 12 weeks? ›

It's ideal to have at least 12 weeks to prepare for a 5K, whether you intend to run the entire course or alternate between jogging and walking. In either scenario, you'll want to focus on the time you spend exercising and not be distracted by your distance or speed.

How long should a beginner train for a 5K? ›

A 5K run is a great distance for a beginner. You can prepare for a 5K run in just two months. If you don't think a 5K seems possible or you don't think you have enough time or energy, this 5K schedule may help you. It includes several short sessions during the week of only about 30 minutes each.

What is a good goal for first 5K? ›

Average for beginners

If you run a mile about every 8 minutes, you can count on your 5K time being under or around 25 minutes. However, this isn't easily achievable for many people, so beginners should aim to run a mile in about 9 to 13 minutes. Set up a fitness plan that builds up over a few weeks or months.

What is a good 5K time by age? ›

Average 5k Times: Male
Age Group: MaleBeginnerIntermediate
20-3031:2922:31
30-4032:1223:01
40-5034:2724:39
50-6037:1926:42
3 more rows
28 Feb 2022

How do I train for a 5K with no experience? ›

5K Training Schedule
  1. Day 1: Run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. ...
  2. Day 1: Run 7 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. ...
  3. Day 1: Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 2 times. ...
  4. Day 1: Run 15 minutes, walk 1 minute. ...
  5. Day 1: Run 20 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 6 minutes. ...
  6. Day 1: Run 20 minutes, walk 1 minute.
3 Jan 2022

What is the Couch to 5k plan? ›

What is Couch to 5K? Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too. The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks.

Is 5k runner App good? ›

The pacing is great and I can run a full 5k after doing the program. Sure it's something you could do yourself without the app but I loved that I could just hit go and concentrate on my running instead of timing myself because I knew the app was going to tell me what to do.

How do I prepare for a 5km run? ›

5k Pre-Race Preparation
  1. Extended warm up. ...
  2. Get there early. ...
  3. Easy jog and then strides. ...
  4. Jog in the morning for an evening race. ...
  5. Eat 2-3 hours before and hydrate well. ...
  6. Wear appropriate shoes for your distance.

Are you fit if you can run 5K? ›

Are you fit if you can run 5km? Completing a 5km run without overexerting yourself indicates a good level of fitness compared to the average person. It's a longer distance that requires higher aerobic endurance to complete.

Should I run the day before a 5K? ›

Day-before running may have benefits for specific distances. Running the day before a 5K can help improve your stride and flexibility on race day. Just like your regular warm-ups, a 15- to 20-minute run the day before a race helps improve blood flow to your legs. 2 This can help stave off fatigue during your run.

How do you breathe when running? ›

The best way to breathe while running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined. Breathing through both the mouth and the nose will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. It also allows you to expel carbon dioxide quickly.

What is a good 5K time for 40 year old? ›

Males
Age groupTime (minutes and seconds)
20–2916:45
30–3917:41
40–4918:13
50–5919:31
2 more rows
15 Nov 2020

What should you eat the night before a 5K race? ›

While a 5K running race might not need too much preparation, it's still important to eat well the night before. We're talking complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to give your body enough energy to perform at it's best. Suggestion: Grilled salmon, brown rice and steamed veg such as broccoli or spinach.

What happens if I run 5km everyday? ›

Many people take up running as a healthy way to burn calories and lose weight. The good news is that running 5k every day has the potential to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, provided you are eating an appropriate number of calories and a nutritious diet.

What should my heart rate be during a 5K? ›

During the first two kilometres of a 5K, you should be between 80 and 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate zones (which can vary on age and health condition), subtract your age from 220.

How many calories does a 5K burn? ›

On average a 5K run will burn between 300 and 400 calories (around 100 calories per mile), but if you are looking to work out the rate that you personally burn calories when running a 5K, you will need to take a few factors into consideration.

How can I run a 5K without stopping? ›

How to Run a 5K Without Stopping
  1. Follow a 5K training schedule.
  2. Don't go too fast.
  3. Avoid side stitches.
  4. Watch your posture.
  5. Use your arms to move you forward.
  6. Take it easy on the hills.
  7. Win the mental battle.

What age should you stop running? ›

O'Keefe says there is no definite age cutoff at which running is no longer good for you, but curbing it with age may be a good idea. “Many people find that their joints feel better if they do brisk walking rather than running after age 45 or 50,” he says.

How long does it take to go from couch to 5K? ›

This program is designed to get you running 3 miles in about 9 weeks. Each session should take about 30 minutes, 3 days per week. Be sure to stretch before and after, and start each session with a 5 minute warm-up walk or jog.

How long does it take an out of shape person to train for a 5K? ›

Usually, you can prepare for a 5K within 4 weeks as long as you're reasonably fit when you begin training. It's possible to train in as little as 2 weeks if you've been running regularly for a few months. Below are a few sample plans to get you started.

Can you get good at running in 3 months? ›

Give yourself at least three months to see progress.

Usually, the first thing beginner runners want to know is exactly when running will get easier. It's different for everyone, but most people discover a turning point once they can run for about 30 minutes consecutively.

Can I get ready for a 5K in 3 weeks? ›

If you've already been working on running or have fitness from other activities, you can get 5k ready in as little as 2 or 3 weeks!

How long does it take to do a 5K? ›

For a runner who jogs steadily at a 10 minute mile pace, a 5k takes 30 minutes to finish. If you are walking the 5k, it will take about 45 minutes. If you run off and on during your 5k, it will take 35-40 minutes.

Are you fit if you can run 5K? ›

Are you fit if you can run 5km? Completing a 5km run without overexerting yourself indicates a good level of fitness compared to the average person. It's a longer distance that requires higher aerobic endurance to complete.

How do you breathe when running? ›

The best way to breathe while running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined. Breathing through both the mouth and the nose will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. It also allows you to expel carbon dioxide quickly.

How can I improve my 5K in a month? ›

5 simple ways to improve your 5K time
  1. Don't go the distance. Top of the 'avoid' column on your 5K training roster: running too far each session. ...
  2. Pull your own weight. ...
  3. Keep the numbers high. ...
  4. Give yourself a one leg up. ...
  5. Mind your mindset.
1 Mar 2016

What is runner's face? ›

What is runner's face? If you haven't heard the term, you've likely seen it. It is the face of a lifelong runner with leathery, saggy skin and a gaunt appearance. It is the result of lots of sun exposure and little body fat.

Does running get rid of belly fat? ›

However, the good news is that running is one of the best forms of exercise to lose belly fat, and there are even a few small tweaks you can make to your regular running schedule to deliver a sustained fat burning boost.

How long after starting running do you see results? ›

If you're just starting a new running routine and were previously inactive, you can see improvements in your cardiorespiratory fitness within four to six weeks. If you've been running for a while and you're trying to get faster, it may be a few months before you see any noticeable gains.

Should you rest day before 5K? ›

Day-before running may have benefits for specific distances. Running the day before a 5K can help improve your stride and flexibility on race day. Just like your regular warm-ups, a 15- to 20-minute run the day before a race helps improve blood flow to your legs. 2 This can help stave off fatigue during your run.

How long does it take to go from couch to 5K? ›

This program is designed to get you running 3 miles in about 9 weeks. Each session should take about 30 minutes, 3 days per week. Be sure to stretch before and after, and start each session with a 5 minute warm-up walk or jog.

How do I pace myself for a 5K? ›

Work out your average kilometre splits for your goal time; if you're running a track 5K you can use your 400m lap times, too. Your training and previous races will help to determine your goal pace. The pace should feel fairly comfortable to begin with, but it will get tough quite quickly if you've misjudged things.

What should you eat the night before a 5K race? ›

While a 5K running race might not need too much preparation, it's still important to eat well the night before. We're talking complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to give your body enough energy to perform at it's best. Suggestion: Grilled salmon, brown rice and steamed veg such as broccoli or spinach.

What is a good 5K time for 40 year old? ›

Males
Age groupTime (minutes and seconds)
20–2916:45
30–3917:41
40–4918:13
50–5919:31
2 more rows
15 Nov 2020

How can I run 5km without stopping? ›

How to Run a 5K Without Stopping
  1. Follow a 5K training schedule.
  2. Don't go too fast.
  3. Avoid side stitches.
  4. Watch your posture.
  5. Use your arms to move you forward.
  6. Take it easy on the hills.
  7. Win the mental battle.

Videos

1. The ULTIMATE ‘Beginner to Marathon’ Training Plan (5k, 10k Half Marathon AND Marathon)
(This Messy Happy)
2. 5k PB Training Plan
(This Messy Happy)
3. 12 week 'beginner to 10k' training plan
(This Messy Happy)
4. 6 week 'beginner to 5k' training plan
(This Messy Happy)
5. 12 Week FULLY Detailed Marathon Training Plan for Beginners
(Top Of The Line Running)
6. SMASH YOUR 5K PB: 8 WEEK 5k TRAINING PLAN | + EASY TIPS TO RUN FASTER!
(Phily Bowden)

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