Beginner 6-Week 5K Training Plan

Signing up for your first 5K is a fun way to motivate yourself to work out. The distance is perfect for novice runners and will provide a great goal to keep you on track. If you’re just getting started, our beginner 5K training plan will help you get to the finish line in 6 weeks!

Note: If you’re generally inactive, build up some base strength, flexibility, and endurance before tackling this. Content your local Anytime Fitness and consult with a trainer if you’d like guidance! 

First Things First

It may sound silly, but if you don’t decide when, where, and how you want to run your 5K, you may not get the results you want! Start by researching upcoming races in your area. You can use sites such as Race Finder,, or your local newspaper. Ask friends for recommendations (and then make them run with you to hold you accountable).

First, you’ll want to determine when you want to run your race. Next, find an event that is at least 6-8 weeks out to allow enough time to prepare. Then, choose a date that works for you.

  • Will the weeks leading up to the race allow you proper training time? (e.g. Are you traveling too much or are there deadlines at work that might derail your training plan?)
  • Is the race on a day you don’t usually have pressing plans? (e.g. Can you get proper rest the night before and will you have time after to recover and celebrate?)


Download the Training Plan

Fundamental Tips

Planning: Follow the suggested guidelines above. It may not seem like much, but your training volume and intensity should build and taper. Starting off slowly is a must to avoid injury and keep your motivation high. Balance your runs with stretching and strength training to avoid overuse injuries.

Coordinating: At least one day a week, make sure you’re running at the same time your race will take place. As silly as it sounds, this will help you determine the right amount of sleep for race day, foods to have the night before and morning of to feel your best, how to get hydrated and bathroom stops necessary for the big day!

Tracking: While training, you’ll need a way to track your progress. A timing device is a must. Whether you choose a simple watch, a fancy GPS device, or an App on your smart phone, you’ll want to begin understanding how far you’re going, how quickly you’re covering each mile and how your body is responding to your work.

You must be disciplined if you’re looking to run a 5K for the first time, but it’s also important to enjoy the process. A 5k is a FUN distance and the training should be just as enjoyable. If you miss a workout, you’ll be fine. Just get back into it when you can and avoid trying to ‘make up’ for lost time. We’ll see you at the finish line!

Photo credit: Harsh1.0

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Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the VP of Fitness Programming for the FIT4MOM® franchise. For more than two decades, she has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, and BOSU® as a fitness business and programming consultant. An experienced educator, freelance writer, and certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money. Fable serves as Vice Chair of the ACE Board of Directors and is the founder and co-owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud-based group fitness management tool.