Training to Run Your First 5k – Complete Training Plan For Beginners

Jeff Baldelli
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Built To Run

This plan is made for runners of all ages, abilities, experience and goals. The reason for this is “you are all built to run“.

Getting to a race and “finishing” is a great accomplishment. Mentally, you can be tough as nails.

For some, a half-marathon may be the next big challenge. For others, it’s a 10k. For others still, it’s about competing against themselves …how fast they can run a 10k, or a 5k, or if they beat their best time.

Another way to look at this is that you will be able to set a calendar date when you want to race a half marathon. In one year, you’ll likely be able to set a date within a week or two when you want to do the next race. The date you want to do a 5k may not be next year, or the year after that, but you will still be able to mark something far down the road and make it happen.

Head Games

Before you can run five kilometers, you must run one kilometer (1000 meters). Before you can run one kilometer, you must run 200 meters. Before you can run 200 meters, you must run 20 meters. And before you can run 20 meters, you must run 2 meters. Let’s face it. It all starts with 2 meters.

Distance running begins with one step. Literally. All great runners started out with making the first physical movement. Think about it … you’ve seen the big guys in the NFL and NBA before the game. They’re warming up their muscles and loosening up before the game. Even Peyton Manning. It’s the same for runners, except their warm-up is running laps.

It was hard for me to understand what running a lot felt like at first, but I knew I would know it when it happened. I was never fast, but I have led a pretty active life.

My friends in high school chose me as their captain of the track and field team. The funny thing is, I ran really fast, but I was never the best or the far leader in the race. But I always finished the race.

“Legs Are Feeling Good”

I am on week 2 of this training plan and almost can not believe it. My legs are feeling good. It’s amazing how strong the body and mind is once your mind is set on accomplishing something.

How It All Started

I always wanted to run a 5K and I was committed to doing it. I did a lot of research and read a lot of books. I had no clue where to start, so I just ran. I was very dedicated to my training. I ran every day for at least two miles. I ran through the wind and I ran through the rain. My sister was a huge help to me.

First I did my research on the internet. Then I went out and bought a few training books. I was working full time and taking care of a child. I had no energy to run, but I did it anyway. Setting a goal and planning ahead made it easier for me.

I started to train a couple of weeks before my race. I ran every other day for two miles for two weeks. That got my legs acquainted to running. After two weeks of pacing myself, I started running three days a week for two miles. My body adjusted to this new routine, and I was feeling really good about the upcoming 5K.

The Body

The bodybuilding guide focuses on building muscle mass in order to keep up a healthy and active life style.

This guide is similar to the runner’s guide in the aspect it focuses on building a strong body through endurance.

The guide focuses on training your body and mind to be the best it can be. You can not only feel better about yourself when you are in shape, but you can actually help people by becoming a first aider.

The amount of strength and endurance that you have in your body could actually save someone’s life. And after all, is there a better way to spend your time than to help someone?

Unlike the running guide, the bodybuilding guide focuses less on doing charity events with a 5k and focuses more on just the 5k itself. This guide is a great way to show that you are passionate about helping others and that you want to take your hobby and make it a career.

The bodybuilding guide is also very intense. It has a total of 5 weeks of training to get you on a 5k run. And these aren’t five easy weeks of jogging. They consist of a whole workout regiment that prepares your body for the 5k. You should check with a doctor before trying this program.

A Guide to the Training Plan to Run a 5k

The 5K is the most popular distance for a road race. It’s challenging enough to bother some people, but not so hard that it scares most people away. And the great thing about this race distance is that there are a ton of local races to choose from.

Other than being common, the 5k is a great distance to train for. It’s long enough that you can practice a comprehensive variety of running techniques. And it’s short enough that most running plans can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

So if you’re ready to start training for your first 5k, here’s what to do for a complete training plan.

Training Plan Schedule

This schedule is for a newbie runner who is fairly active but has little to no running experience. These schedule guidelines are common for all beginner programs designed to prepare a person for their first 5K race. Your schedule may differ based on your experience and fitness level and you should add or subtract to the schedule based on your condition and fitness level.

The Science Behind This Training Plan

The human body is an amazing vehicle. It can do amazing things. It is not a machine, though. Scientists and nutritionists have finally touted the end of the Atkins diet. Carbs are back in vogue, and this can get you into first gear faster than you ever thought possible.

Just as a Ferrari needs a certain kind of gas, so does your body. That gas is carbohydrates. Here’s how it works.

A marathon is the ultimate distance race. It is 26.2 (about 42,000 feet) long. So glycogen stores are pretty crucial to achieve a good time.

The body stores carbohydrates in the muscles, liver, and blood. It can store about 1000 calories worth in the form of glycogen.

This glycogen energy is like battery power in a car. It is best to use it towards the end of the race or when you really need it.

If you have less fuel stored in your body, your glycogen tank will fill up faster at the start of the marathon. Plus, you’re more likely to burn fat early on.

To get the most out of your body, you need to maximize muscle glycogen storage. It can only carry about 80 grams of glycogen per kilogram of muscle.

If you push your muscles harder and maximize this storage, you’ll see and feel the difference.

6 Week Training Plan to Run a 5k

This women’s training plan will give you the tools necessary to complete your first 5k race within six weeks.

Did you know that training for a 5k can help you live longer and feel healthier than the average person?

Many of us are taking on serious health issues as we age, and it is more important than ever to work at preventing them.

The first step to improving your health and extending your life is to add exercise into your daily routine.

I know what you are thinking; “I’m way too busy to run five miles!” I know I was thinking that. Not only that, but I hate working out.

Luckily, I found the motivation I needed in a trainer named Zack Bitter and his running program. I decided to give it a shot with his help. After six weeks of training, I finished my first 5k race!

The combination of the “Don’t Break the Chain” motivational practice with Zack’s training plan helped me do something that I thought was impossible. This training plan will work the same magic for you.

In this post, I’m going to explain how to use this training plan to run your fist 5k in six weeks.

Week 1

Day 1: Get started! Include some dynamic stretching before your run. 10 to 15 minutes per session. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: 15 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: 15 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: 20 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run.Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 8: Rest

Day 9: 15 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 10: Rest

Day 11: 15 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Day 12: Rest

Day 13: 15 minutes of dynamic stretching before your run. Follow up with a 5 minute gentle walk to finish. Try to do at least 3 sessions per week.

Week 2

Advanced running

Endurance training aims to increase your ability to sustain aerobic activities for longer amounts of time. You want to be able to run at a pace long enough that your body and mind gets accustomed to it, and you can physically and mentally feel you are able to maintain this pace for much longer.

That’s a good thing as it means that you could actually outrun someone else should you need to. However, in order to get used to this point, you will need to undergo high-intensity training, which in this case comes from your heart rate readings.

Your heart rate is the pulse or rate at which your heart beats while you exercise. The higher it goes, the more intense the exercise is. That’s why it’s so important to know that rate and be able to keep it under control.

In order to do that, you will need to acquire the skills of how to control your breathing. The point is to actually have your heart working at a comfortable pace while your lungs and muscles work very hard to keep your body up and running. At the same time, you will also need to maintain the right speed of running.

Week 3

Workout Recap:

Last week we went from hills to intervals! Today’s intervals will be a bit different than the last. Since you are now excited about running and you are more conditioned on the cardio side of the game, I’m going to dumb the intervals down today.

We aren’t going to make it harder on you, rather we’re going to ease into some intervals. Going from normal running to hill-good-hard was a lot for your body to handle; this week, you’re going to start getting your body used to these things while also working on perfecting them.

We are still going to run fast, but we’re going to do it at an easier pace. Don’t wear yourself out and don’t go too hard to where you need to walk home from the gym. Just stick with it. We aren’t in a hurry here.

And remember, these workouts are supposed to hurt. You should be good and out-of-breath by the time you get to the end. If you’re just breathless, then you need to work a little harder.

So without any further ado, here is this week’s workout:

Week 4

Track Workouts:


  • 1 mile warm up run
  • 2 laps around the track at steady but comfortable pace
  • 3 times around the track at a faster pace than the previous lap, about a half-mile to three-quarters of a mile each lap
  • 1 mile cooldown run


As tolerated.

Complete Some Type of Flexibility Exercises at Least Twice a Week (5-x-50-Second Stretches; or 2-Minute Static Stretching Routine)

Complete the following Active Isolated Stretching routine three times a week:

  • Arm Stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Rotate your body to your right (about 20-degrees) and reach your left arm above your head and behind your head with your right hand.
  • Grab your left elbow with your right hand and gently pull your elbow back toward the right side of your body.
  • Your head, shoulders and chest will turn to the right side to decrease the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
  • Glute Stretch: Stand with your right foot in front of your left.
  • Grab your left foot with both hands and gently pull your knee toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Week 5


This week, lay off the jogging. This is your rest week. If you’ve been running more than 3 times a week, take the week off. Every runner will benefit from taking an occasional full week off.

After starting an exercise routine or starting a new plan, you should take it easy one week out of every three.

Anything besides walking during this week is too much running. Even walking more than 1 mile per day is too much.

Be sure to keep your muscles stretched out and your joints loose.

To prevent overuse injuries, the most important thing you can do is take a full rest week every once in a while. It’s a great way to get back to running

FULL REST WEEK: Nothing more than walking for exercise.

Week 6

This is the last full week of your eighth week and you’re nearing the home stretch. You’ve started building a good foundation that will serve as the solid platform upon which you’ll later build your speed and endurance. You are running for “bragging” rights now. Your starting time is the finish line. You’re building to 20 minute mile distance. Yes, you could probably walk it but, if you are running, you’re going to run as long as you can. Now, it’s time to get serious!

Month: 7 Training Plan

Week: 6/7

A Few Important Notes

The training plan for the 5k has been divided into 4 cycles.

Every cycle has a different focus and a different approach to running.

The focus of the first cycle is building endurance. Less running is involved, and you’ll spend more time walking and jogging to build your base.

The second cycle is to practice faster running. The focus is on interval training. This means that you’ll do a number of fast rounds of running interspersed with slow walking or a bit of rest. You’ll build your speed over these cycles.

The third cycle has a focus on intensity. It’s all about challenging yourself to push the pace a bit.

During the last cycle, you’ll be combining the running you’ve learned in the previous cycles. You’ll practice running over different distances at different intensities.