5K Training Plan for Advanced Runners


Chase Jarvis / Photodisc / Getty

This easy-to-follow 8-week 5K training program (below) is for advanced level runners. This 5K training schedule is particularly useful to experienced runners who are hoping to run a personal best in the 5K.

If this schedule seems too challenging for you, try the intermediate 5K training schedule.

8-Week 5K Training Schedule

About the schedule:

Crossing-Training (CT)

Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 50 to 60 minutes.

Interval Workouts (IW)

This is a good workout to do on a track. After a warm-up, run hard for 400 meters (or the designated distance). Four hundred meters is usually one lap around most tracks. After the hard interval, recover by jogging or walking for 90 seconds to two minutes or about 200 meters. For example, on the schedule below, 4 x 400 would be four hard 400s, with a brief recovery in between.

Wednesday and Saturday Runs

After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage. Make sure you cool down and stretch after your run. If you're running outside and not sure about distances, you can figure out the mileage by using sites such as MapMyRun. Or, you can always drive your route in your car and measure the mileage using your car odometer.

Tempo Run

Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for fast 5K racing. Start your run with 5 to 10 minutes easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes running near your 10K pace, and finish with 5 to 10 minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."


Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day without taking days off, you won’t see much improvement. Fridays are a good day for rest because you just did a speed workout on Thursday and you have your longest run of the week tomorrow.


This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles.

You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. Just make sure you don't do two intense speed workouts (IW and tempo) two days in a row.

5K Training Schedule for Advanced Runners

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 4 m run 30 min tempo Rest 5 m run 35 min EZ
2 CT or Rest 4 x 600 IW 4 m run 30 min tempo Rest 6 m run 35 min EZ
3 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 5 m run 30 min tempo Rest 7 m run 40 min EZ
4 CT or Rest 4 x 800 IW 5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 8 m run 45 min EZ
5 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 9 m run 40 min EZ
6 CT or Rest 4 x 1000 IW 5 m run 40 min tempo Rest 8 m run 40 min EZ
7 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 4 m run 40 min tempo Rest 7 m run 45 min EZ
8 CT or Rest 3 m run 30 min tempo run 2 m run Rest Rest 5K Race!

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