5K Trainiing Program for Recreational Runners

 

By Rick Morris

 

5K races have become the most popular road racing distance for recreational runners. The relatively short distance makes it easily achievable for the beginning and recreational runners. There is a 5K race available almost every weekend, during the racing season, in most areas. Even during the off season, there are usually 5K races available. You can find one on most winter holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentines Day.

 

6 Week training program

 

This is a 6-week program that is designed to prepare a recreational runner for a local 5K race. Recreational runners usually do not follow a year round training program and may run only on weekends.

 

Before beginning this program, you should be able to run at least 2 miles without stopping. If you are not currently up to that level, slowly build up to running two miles without stopping before you start this program.

 

This program is general in nature. Feel free to make adjustments in order to accommodate scheduling conflicts and individual goals and rate of improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Workouts

 

This program contains easy runs, some hill workouts, some beginning speed workouts and rest days. It is designed to allow a recreational runner to compete in and comfortably finish a 5K race. The beginning speed workouts are an introduction to more intense training and will moderately improve your performance, speed and speed endurance.

 

Easy Runs

 

Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running too easily.

 

Speed Workouts

 

The speed workouts in this program consist of short intervals that are performed at faster than your normal training speed. These are introductory level speed workouts and are designed to moderately improve your speed and performance in the 5K race. These workouts are based on your current 5K race time. If you have not completed a race or do not know your current 5K race time you have a couple of options. You can simply make your best guess on how fast you can run a 5K or you can perform a time trial. To do the time trial, go to a 400 meter track (most high school tracks are 400 meters) and run three 1600 meter repeats with one minute of rest between the three repeats. Run the repeats at a pace that you can maintain for the entire workout. You should run hard, but not so hard that you cannot complete the three workouts. Calculate your average pace per mile for the three repeats. Multiply this pace by 3.125. That will give you a fairly accurate estimate of your 5K race finishing time.

 

Hill Workouts

 

Hill workouts will help build strength and speed. These workouts are short, repeated runs up a hill of moderate grade.

 

Rest

 

Rest is a very important part of any training program. Without proper rest, your muscles and connective tissues will not have an opportunity to recover and strengthen properly. On the days calling for complete rest, do no strenuous activity. On the days calling for rest or cross training, you can rest totally or do some cross training. Cross training can be any activity other than running. You could go for a walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you.

 

Week 1

 

Monday – Rest.

Rest is an important part of any training program.

 

Tuesday – Run 2 miles easy.

Run at an easy “conversational” pace.

 

Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 4 x Hill repeats. Run up a hill of moderate grade. Run at a pace that feels like 5K pace. Your pace will be slower, but will feel 5K pace because of the added difficulty of the hill. Run up the hill for about 100 meters. Jog down the hill and repeat.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

Rest or engage in a non-running activity.

 

Friday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Week 2

 

Monday – Rest

This program uses Monday as a rest day, because Sunday is your longest run of the week. You can adjust this to meet your needs, but take off the day after your longest weekly run.

 

Tuesday – Run 2.25 miles easy.

You add a quarter mile to your previous longest run. You will make some additional increases later in the program.

 

Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 4 x 800 meter repeats at around your goal 5K pace. Jog easily for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging. You can do this workout on a track, on a trail or on a treadmill. You will have a more accurate measure of distance on the track or treadmill.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2.25 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 2.5 miles easy.

You move up to 2.5 miles here. Try to keep your pace easy, but consistent.

 

Week 3

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – Run 2.5 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 6 x 400 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal or current 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2.5 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2.5 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 3 miles easy.

You make another increase in mileage here. You are running almost a full 5K distance here. A 5K is 3.1 miles.

 

Week 4

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 5 x 800 meter repeats at around your goal 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Week 5

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Warm up and run 8 X 400 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Sunday – Run 3.5 miles easy.

This is the final mileage increase in this program. You are now running .4 mile farther than the 5K distance. This will give you the endurance to easily complete the 5K race and will increase your confidence.

 

Week 6

 

Monday – Rest

 

Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.

 

Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 3 x 1600 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of easy jogging.

 

Thursday – Rest or cross train.

 

Friday – Run 2 miles easy.

 

Saturday – Run 1 mile easy.

 

Sunday – Race Day. Have Fun!!

 

If you completed the workouts in this program, you will be able to easily finish your 5K. You can repeat this program for other races, as long as you maintain the ability to run 2 miles non-stop. If you wish to improve your speed and performance, you should start following a specific year round training program. The beginning competitors program is the first step into a competitive year round program.

 

 

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