4 Week Intermediate 5K Schedule

Competitive runners in a cross country race.
Christopher Futcher/Vetta/Getty Images

If you've signed up for a 5K race that's a month away and you haven't been specifically training for it, you still have time to run a brag-worthy race time. This four-week training program (see below) is designed for intermediate runners who are currently running at least 15 miles a week. (If you're a beginner runner who wants to run a 5K that's four weeks away, use this 4-week beginner 5K schedule. If you're looking for a more challenging schedule, try this 4-week advanced 5K schedule.)

If you're an intermediate runner and you have more time to train, try this 8-Week Intermediate 5K schedule.

Training Notes

Tempo Runs (TR): Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold (AT), the point during exercise when the body switches gears from aerobic to anaerobic exertion, which is critical for 5K racing as well as any type of endurance training.

Start your run with 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at about 10 seconds per mile slower than your 10K race pace, and finish with 10 minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K race pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard." To determine your pace for any training run, try our calculator.

5K Interval Workouts: Run your intervals workouts at your 5K race pace, with a two-minute easy-paced recovery in between each interval. You should start and finish your 5K interval workouts with one mile of easy running to warm up and cool down.​

Hill Repeats (HR): For your hill repeats, pick a hill about 200 to 400 meters long that isn't too steep. Try to run up at your 5K race effort. Recover down the hill at an easy pace. Your breathing should be easy and relaxed before you start your next repeat.

Long Runs (LR): You're not training for a long distance event, but long runs will help you develop your stamina, which is important in 5K racing. You should do your long runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. You should be able to breathe easily and talk in complete sentences. Your easy pace runs (EP) should also be done in this effort.​

Rest Days: On rest days, which are crucial for strength training as well as injury prevention, you can take the day off or do some easy cross-training (CT), such as biking, swimming, elliptical trainer, strength training, or another activity you enjoy.

4 Week Intermediate 5K Schedule

Week 1

Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 25 min TR + 2 HR
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K effort + 2 min EP] x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 5 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 2

Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 30 min TR + 3 HR
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K RP + 2 min EP] x4
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 7 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 3

Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 25 min TR + 3 HR
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K RP + 2 min EP] x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 4

Day 1: 30 min CT
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 20 min TR
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 3 miles EP
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: 5K Race!

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tuttor M, von Stengel S, Hettchen M, Kemmler W. Stimulus level during endurance training: Effects on lactate kinetics in untrained menJ Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2018;2018:3158949. doi:10.1155/2018/3158949

  2. Munoz I, Seiler S, Alcocer A, Carr N, Esteve-Lanao J. Specific intensity for peaking: Is race pace the best option?Asian J Sports Med. 2015;6(3):e24900. doi:10.5812/asjsm.24900

  3. Paquette MR, Peel SA, Smith RE, Temme M, Dwyer JN. The impact of different cross-training modalities on performance and injury-related variables in high school cross country runners. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(6):1745-1753.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.