Advanced 5k Training Plan + Guide For Hitting A PR

Finishing your first 5k is an incredible accomplishment and a running milestone that few runners ever forget.

However, in our relentless quest to always be chasing the next bigger goal, many runners soon move on from the 5k and venture into longer distance races such as 10ks, half marathons, and even full marathons.

Although there is certainly merit to increasing your endurance to tackle longer distances, another completely valuable running goal is to improve your 5k time with an advanced 5k training plan.

However, if you are a seasoned runner with quite a few miles under your legs at this point, it can be hard to find an advanced 5k training plan that feels challenging enough to not only help you feel like you’re excited and progressing forward as an experienced runner, but that also will help you nail a 5k PR.

In this article, we have created an advanced 5k training plan for experienced runners who want to hit a 5k PR.

So, if you’ve run a couple or a couple of dozen 5ks in your lifetime and want to step up the intensity of your 5k training to run a faster 5k, consider giving this 8-week advanced 5k training plan a try.

We will discuss: 

  • Who Should Use an Advanced 5k Training Plan?
  • Advanced 5k Training Plan
  • 3 Tips for Hitting a 5k PR

Let’s get started!

People running fast.

Who Should Use an Advanced 5k Training Plan?

This 8-week advanced 5k training plan is designed for experienced runners who have previously run at least a couple of 5k races, if not many, or longer distance races as well.

You should be comfortable running 5 to 6 days a week, hitting a mileage of at least 25 to 30 miles per week with a current long run ability of 7 miles.

If you’re not quite up to this training volume, consider following an intermediate 5k training plan or taking a couple of weeks to build up your base before starting this program.

Ramping up your mileage and intensity too rapidly can be a recipe for injuries.

On that note, this 8-week advanced 5k training plan is designed to be just that—advanced— so there are two speed workouts per week (an interval workout on the track and a threshold or tempo run that can be done on any terrain).

A person training on a track.

If you have not been doing speed workouts recently, be careful about jumping in with too much intensity. 

Listen to your body, and if you need to drop a few repeats or shorten a tempo run, feel free to do so.

Lastly, we highly recommend supplementing this advanced 5k training plan with 2-3 total-body strength training workouts per week, including plyometrics.

Resistance training can help prevent injuries by strengthening your muscles, connective tissues, bones, and joints.

This reduces the relative musculoskeletal demands of running and enables you to have a more powerful running stride.

Additionally, strength training can help prevent muscle imbalances, which, in turn, optimizes your running economy and helps reduce the risk of injuries.

A person running using an advanced 5k training plan.

Advanced 5k Training Plan 

This 8-week advanced 5k training plan involves cross-training, speed workouts on the track, general distance runs, threshold workouts and tempo runs, long runs, and rest days.

Long runs should be run at an easy, conversational pace (usually 90-120 seconds slower than your goal race pace), as should regular distance runs. 

Threshold workouts are designed to increase your lactate threshold or the point at which your body is no longer able to clear lactate from the muscles as quickly as it is being produced. 

The lactate threshold occurs around 83-88% of your VO2 max, which is roughly the pace you could hold at max effort for an hour of running. For most runners, the threshold run pace is somewhere between 10k-15k race pace.

Tempo runs are specific threshold workouts that involve maintaining threshold effort for a sustained 20 minutes or more.

Tempo runs and threshold workouts condition the metabolic system to clear metabolic byproducts and waste at the same rate it is being produced to prevent muscular fatigue and discomfort while also conditioning the cardiovascular system to deliver and utilize more oxygen at faster speeds.

A person running fast.

These workouts also challenge your mental fortitude to keep going when you are uncomfortable or to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

The rest days and cross-training days are important for recovery and give your legs a break from the pounding of running.

People doing a suspension ab workout.

3 Tips for Hitting a 5k PR

Following this advanced 5k training plan along with your strength training workouts should be an effective way to increase your fitness and get you towards a new 5k PR.

Here are some additional tips that can help you run a 5k faster and achieve a new 5k PB.

#1: Work On Your Pacing

If you tend to go out too hard in your races, work on settling into a steady pace right off the bat. Running even splits—or even negative splits—can help you run a faster 5k.

#2: Dial In Your Diet

Once you take care of the basics in terms of training, hitting a 5k PR comes down to additional improvements you can get from your body through optimizing your lifestyle choices—the things you’re doing when you’re not running.

For example, you should eat a nutritious diet with minimally-processed foods and a wide range of healthy natural foods, drink plenty of water, and limit alcohol and soda. 

Work on figuring out the timing of your running and eating so that you feel energized and fueled without being bloated and full. Focus on carbohydrates before you run and a balance of protein and carbohydrates to refuel afterward.

A person doing a plank.

#3: Include Mobility, Stability, Flexibility, and Balance Work In Your Routine

Mobility, stability, flexibility, and balance exercises, such as foam rolling, single-leg drills, core exercises, dynamic stretching, yoga, Pilates, and massage, can help prevent injuries and leave you feeling limber and loose rather than wound up and tight. 

Think of these modalities as “prehab” practices, bulletproofing your body to reduce the risk of running injuries.

They are great accouterments to a training plan, especially when you’re pushing your body and striving for a PR.

See yourself as a runner, not just someone who runs. When you do all the little things the right way, they can add up and help you hit a 5k PR.

Click on our mobility and proprioception guides to get you on your way with your supplemental training.

People running on a track.

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.  

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

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
Advanced 5K Training Plan

5k Training Plan: Advanced

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Cross training: 30-45 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 10 x 400m at goal 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 3 miles (5 km)RestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 5 x 4 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) Long run: 7 miles (11 km) 
Cross training: 40-45 minutes Speed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6 x 800m at goal 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 4 miles (7 km)RestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 4 x 5 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m strides Long run: 8 miles (12-13 km)
Cross training: 45 minutes Speed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6 x 1,000m at goal 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 5 miles (8 km)RestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 3 x 7 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m strides5k time trial
Cross training: 45 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 10 x 400m at mile pace with 200m jogDistance run: 5 miles (8 km)RestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run: 10 miles (16 km)
Cross training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 5 x 1,200m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 6 miles (10 km)RestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 20 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run: 10-12 miles (16-19 km)
Cross training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6-8 x 600m at mile pace with 200m jogDistance run: 7 miles (11 km)RestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 25 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run: 10 miles (16 km)
Cross training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6 x 800m at goal 5k pace with 200m jog; 4 x 200 at mile paceDistance run: 6-7 miles (10-11 km)RestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo paceRest or Easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run: 6 miles (10 km)
Cross training: 30-40 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 800m at goal 5k pace with 200m jogEasy run: 4 miles (6 km)RestShake out: 20 minutes and 4 x 75m strides5kRest
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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