5K run: 7-week training schedule for beginners

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Doing a 5K run can add a new level of challenge and interest to your exercise program. A 5K run is 3.1 miles. Don't be daunted by the distance. A 5K run is a great distance for a beginner. You can prepare for a 5K run in just two months.

Consider using this seven-week 5K run training schedule as your guide. This 5K run training schedule was created by Olympian Jeff Galloway. It's tailored for beginners or anyone who wants to complete a 5K race. You don't have to use this training schedule only for a 5K run. You can also adapt it for a 5K walk.

How to use the 5K training schedule

This 5K training schedule incorporates a mix of running, walking and resting. This combination helps reduce the risk of injury, stress and fatigue while boosting your enjoyment of physical activity. Remember, you can run or walk slowly to help your body adjust to this 5K training schedule.

Under this 5K run training schedule, you'll spend a portion of your time walking. For instance, during week one on run/walk days, you'll run for 15 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds, repeating that cycle for 30 minutes.

As the weeks progress, you'll gradually increase the amount of time running and reduce the amount of time walking. If you're adapting the training for a 5K walk, then you always walk, even on run/walk days.

One day a week, which is Friday on this 5K schedule, is a day of rest from exercise, giving your muscles time to recover. On Sunday, you can either take a second day of rest, or you can enjoy a walk at your choice of distance. On this 5K run training schedule, race day falls on Saturday of your seventh week.

5K run: 7-week training schedule for beginners

Printable 5K training schedule (PDF file requiring Adobe Reader)

Week 1

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 15 seconds/walk for 45 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 3 miles (4.8 km)
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 2

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 15 seconds/walk for 45 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 3

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 20 seconds/walk for 40 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 2 miles (3.2 km) with Magic Mile*
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 4

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 20 seconds/walk for 40 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 4 miles (6.4 km)
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 5

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 25 seconds/walk for 35 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 2 miles (3.2 km) with Magic Mile*
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 6

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 25 seconds/walk for 35 seconds.

Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday Run/walk 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Sunday Rest or walk

Week 7

On run/walk days, walkers walk only. Runners run for 30 seconds/walk for 30 seconds.

Source: Galloway J. Galloway's 5K/10K Running. 2nd. ed. Aachen, Germany: Meyer & Meyer Sport; 2008. Used with permission.
*The Magic Mile is a training tool designed to help you find a realistic race pace. On the first Magic Mile, warm up as usual and then run or walk 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) slightly faster than your normal pace. Time your 1-mile run/walk with a stopwatch. Run or walk easily the rest of the distance assigned for the day. On each successive Magic Mile, warm up as usual, and then try to beat your previous 1-mile run/walk time. Your 5K race pace should be about one to two minutes slower than your fastest Magic Mile time.
Monday Run/walk 30 minutes
Tuesday Walk 30 minutes
Wednesday Run/walk 30 minutes
Thursday Walk 30 minutes
Friday Rest
Saturday 5K race day
Sunday Rest or walk
March 04, 2017 See more In-depth

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