Six-Week 5K Training Schedule

From Run/Walking to Continuous Running for the 3.1-Mile Race

Team running together on bridge, New York, USA
Cultura/Edwin Jimenez/Riser/Getty Images

This six-week 5K training program is designed for beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a 5K (3.1 miles) road race. This training schedule (see below) is a run/walk to a continuous running program. Each week, you'll make small increases in your running distance while making slight decreases in your walking intervals. At the end of six weeks, you'll be ready to run the 5K distance without walking break. (Although if you want to take walking breaks during the race, that’s fine, too.)

Although this schedule is for beginners, it's best not to use it if you've been inactive for the past three months or more. Ideally, to start this training program, you're able to run non-stop for 5 minutes. If you're a total beginner, build your fitness with a four-week program to run 1 mile before taking on the 5K distance. If this schedule seems too easy, try a 6-week intermediate 5K training schedule.


Training Schedule Structure

You don't have to do your runs on specific days; however, you should try not to run two days in a row. Either take a complete rest day or do cross-training on the days in between runs. Cross-training can be cycling, yoga, swimming, or any other activity (other than running) that you enjoy. Strength-training two to three times a week is also very beneficial for runners, as well as being recommended for health in general.

If you find that this training program is moving too quickly (and you don't have a race deadline), you can stay on a week and repeat the workouts before moving on to the next week.


Week 1

Day 1: Run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 2: Rest or cross-train.
Day 3: Run 6 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 7 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 6: Rest or cross-train.
Day 7: Rest.






Week 2

Day 1: Run 7 minutes, walk 1minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 2: Rest or cross-train.
Day 3: Run 8 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 9 minutes mile, walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Day 6: Rest or cross-train.
Day 7: Rest.






Week 3

Day 1: Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 2 times.
Day 2: Cross-train.
Day 3: Run 12 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 2 times.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 13 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat 2 times.
Day 6: Rest or cross-train.
Day 7: Rest.






Week 4

Day 1: Run 15 minutes, walk 1minute. Repeat 2 times.
Day 2: Cross-train.
Day 3: Run 17 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 7 minutes
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 19 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 7 minutes.
Day 6: Rest or cross-train.
Day 7: Rest.






Week 5

Day 1: Run 20 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 6 minutes.
Day 2: Cross-train.
Day 3: Run 24 minutes.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 26 minutes.
Day 6: Rest or cross-train.
Day 7: Rest.






Week 6

Day 1: Run 28 minutes.
Day 2: Rest or cross-train.
Day 3: Run 30 minutes.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Run 20 minutes.
Day 6: Rest.
Day 7: Race Day. Run 3.1 miles.

If you are new to road races, it is good to learn what to expect and find out how to avoid 5K racing mistakes. Be sure to ask the race organizer any questions you have about the race. It is also helpful to attend other races beforehand, observing what is going on and chatting with the runners.

If you're ready for your next challenge, try a beginner 10K training program or a beginner half marathon training program.