5K Race Training: Advanced Beginner Schedule

Get ready for your 5K race in 8 weeks

Man running in grassy field
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If you've already run at least one 5K race, or you've been running for a little while and are ready to race a 5K, a training program can get you to the finish line. This 8-week advanced beginner schedule is good for those who find the beginner runner 5K schedule not challenging enough and the intermediate 5K schedule seems a bit too tough.

Daily Workouts for 5K Training

The schedule is designed to alternate easier and harder days. Here are more details on the workouts for each day.

5K Advanced Beginner Training Schedule
Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest 1.5 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 2 miles 30 minutes EZ run or CT
2 Rest 2 miles CT 1 miles (race pace) Rest 2.5 miles 30 minutes EZ run or CT
3 Rest 2 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 2.5 miles 30 minutes EZ run or CT
4 Rest 2.5 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 3 miles 35 to 40 minutes EZ or CT
5 Rest 3 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 3.5 miles 35 to 40 minutes EZ run or CT
6 Rest 3.5 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 4 miles 35 to 40 minutes EZ run or CT
7 Rest 3 miles CT 1.5 miles (race pace) Rest 4 miles 40 minutes EZ run or CT
8 Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 2 miles Rest Rest 5K Race
CT = Cross-training activity. EZ = easy, comfortable pace
  • Mondays and Fridays: Mondays and Fridays are rest days. Rest is important to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't skip your rest days. You can enjoy easy strolls and light activities.
  • Tuesdays and Saturdays: After you warm-up, run at a comfortable, conversational pace for the designated mileage. You should be able to breathe easily while you're running and not be gasping for air. If your breathing is getting out of control, slow down or take a walk break. Make sure you cool down and do some basic running stretches after your run.
  • Wednesdays: Do a cross-training (CT) activity (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at easy to moderate effort for 40 to 45 minutes. You can also do some basic strength training, which can help improve your performance and is a recommended physical activity for everyone.
  • Thursdays: These runs should be done at your 5K race pace. If you're not sure what your 5K pace is, run at a speed that you could sustain for 3.1 miles. Make sure you do a warm-up before your run and cool-down after.
  • Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles. Or, you can do a run/walk combination or cross-train (CT).

Modifying the Schedule

You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. If you're busy on another day and prefer to workout on a Monday or Friday, it's fine to swap a rest day for a run day.

Getting Ready for a 5K Run

Before you start the schedule, take a look at your running gear and think about replacing your running shoes so you have all of the benefits of their cushioning and stability. While you can do some of your training on a treadmill, it's best to get most of your miles outside in the same conditions as the race. Before the race, refresh yourself on race etiquette so you will be a great racer.

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