Beginner 6-Week 5K Training Plan

Beginner 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 go from the couch to the finish line in 6 weeks!

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, Active.com, FindARace.com 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 and 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)?

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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!

What 5K are you training for?

Photo credit: Harsh1.0

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Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the founder of SFR, a consulting firm for aspiring fitness educators, manufacturers and managers, as well as the owner of Balletone® and GroupEx Pro®. Shannon is a 17 year fitness veteran, freelance writer, as well as an international presenter for Schwinn®, BOSU and ACE. She is a member of the ACE Board of Directors, has helped author portions of the ACE and ACSM Group Fitness manuals, and has starred in over 25 fitness videos. Shannon is a certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach interested in helping fitness professionals navigate the industry and find their place. She's busy improving the self-esteem of the world as the Director of Exercise Programming for the Anytime Fitness Franchise.

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