4 Week 5k Training Plan + Complete Training Guide

Training for a 5k race usually takes at least 8 to 12 weeks for beginners, but if you have some experience running or are on a limited timetable, it is possible to train for a 5k in just one month. 

A 4 week 5k training plan is ideal for runners who have been putting in some consistent training and are able to run a couple of miles without stopping.

However, even if you are a beginner, it is possible to train for a 5k in a month if your goal is to finish the race and you don’t mind potentially having to do some walking during it.

This article will provide a 4 week 5k training plan and guide for beginners.

Though you might not nail your fastest time ever by trying to train for a 5k in a month, if your goal is to get to the starting line and finish line and enjoy the experience of the race, following a 4 week 5k training plan for beginners can be an efficient way to help you jump on the fast track to becoming a runner. 

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is 5k?
  • Can You Train for 5k in 4 Weeks?
  • How to Train for 5k In 4 Weeks
  • 4 Week 5k Training Plan for Beginners

Ready to get training? Let’s get to work!

The start line on a track.

How Far Is 5k?

Before you start embarking on a 4 week 5k training plan, let’s cover the basics. If you’re a beginner runner, it’s helpful to know that the 5k is roughly 3.1 miles.

The “k” component of the 5k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 5k is 5,000 meters, and because there are 1,609 meters in a mile, 5,000 meters is about 3.1 miles.

Can You Train for 5k in 4 Weeks?

Training for a 5k in a month is extremely challenging, especially if you haven’t been running consistently or doing any running at all. 

It’s important to establish right off the bat that it may not be possible to run a 5k in a month if you haven’t been doing any exercise at all; in other words, if you’re looking for a 4 week couch to 5k training plan, it’s going to be really difficult.

With that said, this 4 week 5k training plan will help you get to the starting line and finish line of your race, but it’s helpful to set expectations that you might not be able to run the entire way.

People running a race.

You might have to take one or more planned or impromptu walking breaks during the 3.1-mile distance, and that’s okay

Depending on your current level of fitness, it may be unreasonable to expect your body to develop the necessary cardiovascular and muscular stamina and leg strength required to run the race non-stop.

Plenty of new runners walk some or all of their first 5k, and if your goal is to run the whole thing without stopping, that’s likely possible, too, as long as you jog slowly enough.

Plus, if you’ve been doing even a little bit of running or have a decent level of fitness from other types of cardio exercise, you can probably train to run 5k in 4 weeks without stopping. 

With that said, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are a man over the age of 40 or a woman over 50, you should get medical clearance from your doctor before starting this 4 week 5k training plan.

A person walking on a treadmill.

How to Train for 5k In 4 Weeks

Our 4 week 5k training plan involves running four times, cross-training once, and taking two rest days per week.

This can be aggressive for novices who haven’t been doing any running, so it is normal for your legs to feel pretty sore and tired.

However, if your aches linger or are only localized on a particular joint, bone, muscle, or tendon, you should treat the area as an injury and take time off from running.

Low-impact cross-training workouts can be used as a substitute as long as the exercise does not elicit pain.

Furthermore, if you are just too sore overall to do a run on a day when the training plan has you scheduled to run, you should listen to your body and swap the run for a cross-training workout. 

A person diving in a pool.

You can replicate the same workout on a low-impact exercise machine like a stationary bike or elliptical machine or in the pool by either swimming or doing deep water running where your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool.

Another key component to staying healthy as you train to run a 5k in a month is to focus on recovery and taking care of your body in between workouts.

Stretch after your runs and use a foam roller on your major muscle groups like your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors. You may also want to roll your IT band along the outside of your thigh.

It’s also critical to fuel your body well with plenty of calories to support your training and ensure your diet is well-balanced with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Hydrating before, during, and after your runs is also important. 

With this 4 week 5k training schedule, the workouts are short enough that drinking plain water should be fine, but if you prefer sports drinks or electrolyte drinks, or you don’t do well eating right before you run, these beverages are fine, too.

A person drinking from a water bottle.

Lastly, make sure you are indeed taking the rest days. Many beginners get excited about their training and venture as new runners, so they want to run and work out every day once they start.

However, this may sound like a good idea in theory—after all, it intuitively seems like the more you run, the faster your body will adapt. 

Unfortunately, the body doesn’t respond this way, and physiological adaptations to exercise just take time. In fact, the rest days are crucial for those adaptations to actually take place. 

Give your body what it needs: take the rest days!

4 Week 5k Training Plan for Beginners

This training plan will help you train to run 5k in a month.

Our 4 week 5k training schedule requires running four days per week, with two rest days and a cross-training workout.

You can do any low-impact cross-training for your Monday workouts, such as indoor or outdoor cycling, swimming, elliptical training, or deep-water running.

A person stretching their hamstring.

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our 5k training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Cross-training: 20 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
10 x 90 second run/1 min walk; Cool down:
5 min walk
RestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
8 x 2 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
8 x 3 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
RestRun 2 miles (3 km), taking walking breaks as needed
Cross-training: 20-30 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
4 x 5 minute run/2 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
RestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
3 x 6 minute run/2 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
2 x 8 minute run/4 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
RestRun 3 miles (4 km), taking walking breaks as needed
Cross-training: 30 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
2 x 10 minute run/4 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
RestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
3 x 8 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
5 x 4 minute run/30 seconds walk;
Cool down:
5 min walk
RestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes; Run 20 minutes without stopping
Cross-training: 30 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes; Run 25 minutes without stoppingRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout:
2 x 15 minute run/1 min walk; Cool down: 5 min walk
RestEasy 10-minute jog5k Race!

Following this 1-month 5k training plan will certainly be challenging, but you can do it!

Don’t feel self-conscious or upset if you have to walk during the race.

Plenty of runners walk some or all of a 5k, and when you’re training for 5k in 4 weeks, it’s a lot to expect from your body to cover 3.1 miles without stopping; just finishing is incredible!

For more of our 5k training resources, check out our 5k training database!

A group of people running a race.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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