How to Train for a 5k in 6 weeks

Kasey Goedeker of Running in Heels runs across a bridge at White Rock Lake wearing a light pink Lilly Pulitzer hoodie and navy blue Zella leggings. Her shoes are the pink Nike Pegasus 35 and she carries an Astrea water bottle with filter.

So, you just signed up for a 5k. Or you signed up for a 5k a while ago, just realized you have to start training. Same. So here we are, a month and a half out, but it’s fiiiiine. We’ve got plenty of time to train for this ish! So I’m putting together a training plan that will get us there, and able to run a 5k (just over 3 miles) in just 6 weeks.

Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form a doctor, athletic coach, personal trainer, etc. I’m a blogger who happens to run. Please consult a medical professional before starting a training program. I’m sharing what works for me and should not be held responsible for any outcomes (unless they’re good, then I’ll take credit).

How Far is a 5k in Miles?

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, how far is a 5k? The short answer is 3.1 miles. No matter how many times you run 3 miles while training, that last .1 will get you.

When you’re running the race, it’s a hell of a lot farther than you thought it was! I’m not kidding. For some reason, it always feels longer when I’m racing, even though I usually end up running faster than I did in training.

How Far Can You Run?

Right now. If you don’t know, throw on your running shoes and tell me when your lungs start burning and your legs can’t go anymore. Kidding. I can comfortably run 1.5-2 miles regularly without much effort. I also haven’t tried to run farther than that in at least a year, but considering my running history combined with how much running I’ve done lately, I’m in the beginner-intermediate runner category, which is who this plan is tailored towards.

What Race Should You Run?

I just signed up for The Color Run in Dallas on March 23, 2019 which gives me about 6 weeks to train. I wouldn’t give yourself any less time than that. The Color Run seems to be a great starter 5k because it’s more about the “fun” than the “run”. AKA if you’re a serious runner and want to get a PR this probably isn’t the race for you because everyone will be more focused on the color than the race. BUT if you’re looking for a fun race to join, head to their site and sign up! Use my code: RUNNINGINHEELSPROMO for $5 off! See you there!

6 Week 5k Training Plan

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. My plan will consist of a hodge-podge of plans I’ve googled and pinterested to create my own. Here are the important elements:

Tempo Run (TR)

This run will be based on time (20-35mins). Your first 10 minutes will be a warm up run at an easy pace, then switch to a faster pace which this article describes as “comfortable hard” for 10-15 mins, Finish with a 10 min cool down of jogging or walking.

I’ll encourage you to run outside in different parts of town with different terrain. Oftentimes you won’t be able to run the exact course until the day of, but you can get close. Study the course map, and see where there are hills and bumpy terrain. When you’re training, don’t shy away from steep hills. In fact, turn around and do them two more times! On race day, you’ll thank me.

Cross Training (CT)

Cross training is super important as you train for your race for so many reasons! If you only run while you are training, you have a greater chance of injury. You’re putting so much pressure on your muscles and joints without a break, your body may not be able to stand it. By cross training, you’ll not only prevent injuries, but you’ll allow your joints relief, improve flexibility, work different muscles that will help your overall form. Plus, it keeps you from getting bored with running alone.

Cross training can include a multitude of activities. I prefer yoga, yoga sculpt, swimming, or cycling. Basically anything that isn’t running or working the same joints and muscles will do!

Intervals (IN)

I’ve never done much with intervals, I just kind of… run. By that I’ve never really run for time or improvement. I typically had been training for longer races like a full or half-marathon, so my goal was typically just to finish. Now that I’m just running a 5k, I want to work on my speed and endurance, and if you are training for a 5k specifically, it’s best to run intervals to build up your endurance regardless.

Since I’ve never run these, I’ll suggest where to implement them, but I do not have a specific interval plan. This article is helpful if you want to try intervals!

Long Run (LR)

This one is mostly because I’m used to doing a long run from marathon training. The long run in marathon training builds over time, and you never actually run the full distance before the race. With a 5k, there isn’t too far to build, in my program below, you’ll get up to 5 miles pretty quickly. If you aren’t there, yet, no worries, adjust to where you’re comfortable! That being said, I DO suggest running at minimum 3 miles before race day! If you can, I’d recommend at least one 3.5mi “long run” about 2 weeks before race day.

These runs will be at an easy pace (EP). If you’re running with a friend you should be able to have a conversation at this pace.

My Plan

If you are already fit, your goal will be to work out at least 3 times/week. This is a mix between an intermediate and beginner program based on my current level. I have never run a 5k from a complete beginner stage, so I wouldn’t suggest this plan for beginner runners solely for the fact that I have no idea if it’s possible at that level. (P.S. See disclaimer above again.)

There are optional activities for those who are extra and want to do more. Even when I was training for a marathon, I wasn’t working out 6 days a week. I typically kept it to 4-5max. I also encourage you to include a mandatory rest day after your long run for recovery. Feel free to move days and modify as you see fit!

Week 1
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 2 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest or CT
Thursday: IN
Friday: Rest or CT
Saturday: TR
Sunday: LR 3 mi

Week 2
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 2.5 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest or CT
Thursday: IN
Friday: Rest or CT
Saturday: TR
Sunday: LR 4mi

Week 3
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest or CT
Thursday: IN
Friday: Rest or CT
Saturday: TR
Sunday: LR 4 mi

Week 4
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3.5 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest or CT
Thursday: IN
Friday: Rest or CT
Saturday: TR
Sunday: LR 5 mi

Week 5
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest or CT
Thursday: IN
Friday: Rest or CT
Saturday: TR
Sunday: LR 4 mi

Week 6
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 2.5 mi EP
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Light CT or 20min TR
Friday: Rest (Mandatory rest day to conserve energy!)
Saturday: 5k Race Day!
Sunday: Rest

Here’s a printable version:

https://shopstyle.it/l/ZupR

Leave a Comment

3 Comments

  1. Chloe wrote:

    Literally this made me want to go for a run and I am NOT a runner. But I love your outfit and want a runners bod haha

    Posted 2.20.19 Reply
  2. ashley hargrove wrote:

    I have always wanted to sign up for a race but never actually follow through with it!! Mainly because I am the worst runner ever after I quit playing soccer!

    Posted 2.21.19 Reply
  3. Joefine wrote:

    I must thank you for sharing such useful information for a healthy life. I need to lose some pounds and I think that this can help me in achieving my goals.

    Posted 7.8.19 Reply