Ever thought about running a 5k, and wondered exactly how to train for a 5k?
Training for a 5k, then running the distance, is an awesome goal.
In this post, I’ll walk you through how to train for a 5k and succeed – even if you’re a complete running newbie.
I’m going to cover:
- How to combine running and walking in your training and 5k
- How to gradually, and sustainably, increase your running distance
- Tips and tricks on running form, especially important for beginners
- The importance of rest days (yes – they’re mandatory!)
- Getting the right shoes and gear to nail your 5k
- We’ll share our 4-week 5k training plan.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
How Long Is a 5k In Miles?
5 kilometers is just over 3 miles – 3.107 miles, to be exact.
How Long Does It Take To Train For a 5k?
It usually takes around 4 weeks to go from non-runner to completing a 5k – this might include some walking breaks depending on where you are with your training.
If you’ve already been working on running or have fitness from other activities, you can get 5k ready in as little as 2 weeks!
Training For a 5k For Beginners
Whether you’ve never run before, or are a little rusty, these tips will help you get 5k ready in style:
- Start off slow and easy – it’s perfectly acceptable to walk the majority of your training runs, and burst into a gentle jog when you’re feeling up to it. Gradually increase the % of time spent running as you go.
- Once you get used to running, see how far you can run without stopping – then once you get tired, walk for the remainder of your workout.
- Build up your running distance very gradually – some days you’ll find it easier, and be tempted to push farther than your training plan suggests – but restraint is important in order to avoid overtraining and injury.
- Don’t worry about speed or timings at all – focus on how long you can run for, and don’t compare to others.
- Training with a friend or a jogging group can be a great motivator and inspire you to go running when you’re otherwise not in the mood.
- Nothing beats the great outdoors, but a treadmill is a perfectly acceptable tool to use if it suits you better.
Get The Right Shoes For Your 5k
If you’re serious about your 5k, you need a good pair of running shoes.
Don’t be tempted to think those old shoes at the back of the closet will do the job – chances are they’re not suitable, and could cause discomfort and injury.
Check out How To Choose Running Shoes for an in-depth guide into navigating a running store!
How To Train For a 5k – Proper Running Form
Here are our top tips for beginner runners working on their running form:
- Keep your eyes up and chin down
- Remember to relax your shoulders and roll them back
- Keep your hands relaxed and gently swing those arms
- Straighten your spine and engage your core
- Don’t overstride – take short, gentle steps
- If you want to go faster, increase your cadence, not your stride length.
5k Training – Cross Training and Rest Days
Cross-training is an important part of any run training plan – it gets your body working parts that are weakened or neglected during your run training.
Consider swimming, yoga, or light gym work on your cross-training day.
Likewise, rest days are essential and should not be compromised!
Your body is going through a lot – and needs time to recover and heal, so it’ll be stronger the next time.
Honor those rest days – put your feet up!
5k Training Plan
Our 4-week 5k training plan below is designed to get you ready for your run to the best of your ability!
The week-day training runs are designed to be walk/runs – if you’re finding them too easy or hard, simply adjust the ratio of time spent walking and running.
Cross-training days are awesome for your running fitness – don’t avoid them if at all possible.
And each weekend you have a long run – my suggestion is to attempt to run the whole distance, but take walking breaks as necessary.
If you need a break, it’s much better to slow down to a walk than stop altogether.
Looking for something gentler in how to train for a 5k? This six-week training plan might be what you need. Good luck!