8K (5-Mile) Training Schedules

Training Plans for Beginners and Intermediates

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In This Article

These eight-week 8K training programs are designed for beginner or intermediate runners who want to run an 8K race (4.97 miles). Since 8K is almost five miles, these schedules also work for any runners training for a 5-mile race as well.

Training Overview

The training schedules below give you an outline for your weekly workouts. You don't have to do your runs on specific days; however, you should try to avoid running two days in a row.

It's better to take a rest day or do cross-training on the days in between runs. Cross-training can be walking, biking, dancing, swimming, or any other physical activity (other than running) that you enjoy. Doing 15 to 20 minutes of strength-training one to two times a week can also be beneficial.

Beginner Schedule

This beginner runner program assumes that you can already run at least a mile. If you've never run before, you may want to start with a 5k race and train at a less aggressive pace over 8 weeks. If you want to track your pace during your training, try out our calculator.

Start each run with a warm-up walk or slow jog for 5 to 10 minutes. Runs should be done at a conversational pace. Finish up with a cool-down walk or slow jog for 5 to 10 minutes.

Week 1

Day 1: Run easy for 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 2

Day 1: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 3

Day 1: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 4

Day 1: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 2.5 miles (4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 5

Day 1: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minutes walk

Week 6

Day 1: Run easy for 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy or 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minutes walk

Week 7

Day 1: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 4.5 miles (7.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minutes walk

Week 8

Day 1: Run 40 min
Day 2: 30 minutes of cross-training
Day 3: Run for 30 minutes
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run for 30 minutes
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Race day

For week 8, the week of your 8K (5-miler) run, take it a little easier so that you are well rested for the race.

Advanced Beginner Schedule

The program assumes that you can already run 2 miles. If it seems too difficult, opt instead for the beginner schedule.

Week 1

Day 1: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 2

Day 1: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 2.5 miles (4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 3

Day 1: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 4

Day 1: Run easy for 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 5

Day 1: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 6

Day 1: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 5 miles (7.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 7

Day 1: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy for 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 minutes of cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy for 5 miles (7.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30-minute walk

Week 8

Day 1: Run for 40 minutes
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 30 minutes of cross-training
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run for 30 minutes
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Race day

As an advanced beginner, you can put in a little more time for training during race week, but keep your runs under 40 minutes to avoid overtraining. This way, you won't be overly fatigued on race day.

Intermediate Schedule

The intermediate 8K schedule incorporates a few additional runs into the training. These include:

  • Tempo runs (TR): Start your tempo run with ten minutes easy running, then continue with 20 to 25 minutes running about ten seconds per mile slower than your 10K race pace, and finish with ten minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K race pace is, run at a "comfortably hard" pace that you can maintain for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • 8K interval workouts: Run your intervals workouts at your 8K race pace, with a two-minute easy-paced recovery in between each interval. You should start and finish these 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 8K (5-mile) race effort. Recover down the hill at an easy pace.
  • Long runs (LR): Although you're not training for a long-distance event, long runs help you develop your stamina, which is important in 8K racing. Do your long runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. Make sure you're able to breathe easily and can talk in complete sentences. You can also do your easy runs (ER) at this effort.

Week 1

Day 1: 40 minutes of CT or rest
Day 2: 20 minutes of TR + 2 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 minutes of CT or Rest
Day 4: 4 minutes @ 8K effort x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 4-mile LR
Day 7: 3-mile ER

Week 2

Day 1: 40 minutes of CT or rest
Day 2: 20 minutes of TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 25 minutes of CT or Rest
Day 4: 4 minutes @ 8K effort x 4
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 5-mile LR
Day 7: 3-mile ER

Week 3

Day 1: 40 minutes of CT or rest
Day 2: 20 minutes of TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 minutes of CT or Rest
Day 4: 4 minutes @ 8K effort x 4
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6-mile LR
Day 7: 3-mile ER

Week 4

Day 1: 40 minutes of CT or rest
Day 2: 20 minutes of TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 minutes of CT or Rest
Day 4: 4 min @ 8K effort x 4
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 7-mile LR
Day 7: 3-mile ER

Week 5

Day 1: 40 minutes of CT or rest
Day 2: 25 minutes of TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 minutes of CT or rest
Day 4: 4 minutes @ 8K effort x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 5-mile LR
Day 7: 3-mile ER

Week 6

Day 1: 30 minutes of CT
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 20 minutes of TR
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 2- to 3-mile ER
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Race day

On race week, take extra steps to eat optimally. On race day, eat about 2 hours prior to the race and keep it simple, choosing foods that are high-energy and easily digestible.

A Word From Verywell

With six to eight weeks to train for your 8K race, you'll have plenty of time to get race-ready, so take your time building up your stamina to make sure you don't overdo it or make common mistakes that could lead to injury.

Pick the 8K training schedule that's right for you based on your current running level and take an extra rest day if you notice any pain that lasts longer than a day or two. Most of all, feel proud knowing you've already won by putting in the time to prepare. All that's left is to enjoy your race—go get 'em.

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