8 Week 5K Training Plan With Pace Chart

Running a 5K race is a manageable and achievable distance. Even if you are a new runner, by following the right training plan, you should be able to run a 5K within a few months. Your age and fitness level are the main factors that affect the speed and finish time of your 5K race.

Runners take 30 to 40 minutes to finish the 5K target goal. Regular walkers take 45 to 60 minutes to finish this 5K target. Experienced runners are able to complete a 5K race somewhere between 18 and 20 minutes. In order to train properly, you need a proper fitness plan. A 5K training guide should include some low impact exercises such as elliptical training, cycling, and swimming alongside your running days. Including at least one strength training day to help stabilize your core and strengthen your legs. A proper training plan for a new runner should take somewhere between 6 to 9 weeks to complete so that they can run the entire 5K race.

How long is a 5K?

A 5K, is actually 5 kilometers, which equates to 3.1 miles.

What is the average time and speed for a 5K?

On average runners can finish a 5K between 27 and 36 minutes running at a pace somewhere between 9 and 12 minutes per mile (5 minutes 35 seconds/km and 7 minutes 27 seconds/km). Regular walkers can usually walk 1 mile in 15 to 20 minutes (How long does it take to walk 1 mile). A walker can finish a race somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes depending on how fast they walked. Experienced and younger runners can easily finish a 5K between 18 and 25 minutes.

Tips to Improve Your Running Performance While Training For a 5K

Concentrate on slowly building up your distance and speed which will help improve your finish time while getting you into shape.

  • Have a healthy lifestyle by choosing healthy food and proper sleep. Go for healthy fat food, carbohydrates, lean proteins, green vegetables, and fresh fruits and reduce intake of processed foods, sugary foods, and alcohol.
  • Warm-up of 10 to 15 minutes before running or any workout. Don’t forget to cool-down after you run for at least 5 minutes by slowing your running pace down or walking.
  • You can improve your speed and endurance by implementing interval training, running on a treadmill, hill repeats, and running on uneven surfaces (trail running for beginners).
  • To build strength and endurance, cardio training, such as cycling and swimming, and strength training, such as using weights, is essential. You should do both low-intensity (aerobic zone) and high-intensity workout (anaerobic zone), which helps you to improve speed, increase your muscle mass while increasing your overall endurance.
  • Interval Training: Change your workouts by changing the time, distance, and intensity of your workouts. For example, you can do 1-minute high-intensity exercises followed by 2 minutes of recovery. You can repeat four rounds of this for a total of 12 minutes (1x2x4). You can either increase the duration of the intensity to make it more difficult and/or decrease the amount of time allowed to recover between intervals.
  • Try to take 1 day off during your training week. You can still cross-train on your rest day, but try to stay away from running.
  • If you are a new runner, start with 20 to 30-minute sessions until you are in good enough shape to run a 5K. At a later point after finishing a 5K race you can go back and start trying to improve your distance and/or time.

8 Week 5K Training Plan (miles)

Try not to consecutively run on your days back to back. You should try to run on alternating days.  You can do cross-training such as cycling, swimming, yoga, dance, or aerobics. Attempt at least One day of strength training during the week to help you build strength and balance which will tighten up your core muscles.

Thursdays (Speedwork)

Thursdays for the following 8-week 5k training plan or used for speed work to increase your speed and strengthen your leg muscles. You do not have to perform the hill repeat running session nor the tempo runs. Instead, you can simply run for 30-45 on each of those days that you do not want to do the speedwork training. Speedwork is important to start tackling once you’re trying to run faster and faster and beating your own personal best records or simply trying to place in your age group or win the whole 5K race. If you’re new to running don’t stress out over speedwork training because you can run your entire life and never have to touch speedwork training if you don’t want to. Some runners just want to run no matter how fast or slow they run, and that is perfectly ok!

8 Week 5K Training Plan For Beginners - Miles _

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1st Week:

  • Monday: Run for 1 mile
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 2 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

2nd Week:

  • Monday: Run for 1.5 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Tempo run400 meter (1/4 mile) @ Goal Race Pace X 3 minutes rest X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 3 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

3rd Week:

  • Monday: Run for 2 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 8 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 35 to 40 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest day

4th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 2.25 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 1.5 miles
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 2.25 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

5th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 2.25 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Training for 45 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 2 miles
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 4 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

6th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 2.75 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 45 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 8 times
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Run for 3 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

7th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 3 miles
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Tempo run400 meter (1/4 mile) @ Goal Race Pace X 3 minutes rest X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 3 to 4 miles
  • Sunday: Rest day

8th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 40 minutes
  • Tuesday: Rest or Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: Run for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 20 minutes
  • Friday: Rest Day
  • Saturday: Race Day
  • Sunday: Rest day

8 Week 5K Training Plan (kilometers)

8 Week 5K Training Plan For Beginners - Kilometers _

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1st Week:

  • Monday: Run for 1.6 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 3.2 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

2nd Week:

  • Monday: Run for 2.4 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Tempo run400 meter (1/4 mile) @ Goal Race Pace X 3 minutes rest X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 4.8 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

3rd Week:

  • Monday: Run for 3.2 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 8 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 35 to 40 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest day

4th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 3.6 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 2.4 kilometers
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 3.6 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

5th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 3.6 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Training for 45 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 3.2 kilometers
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 6.4 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

6th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 4.4 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 45 minutes
  • Thursday: Hill Repeats (200 meter) X 2 min walk down X repeat 8 times
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Run for 4.8 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

7th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 4.8 kilometers
  • Tuesday: Strength Train for 45 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Tempo run400 meter (1/4 mile) @ Goal Race Pace X 3 minutes rest X repeat 6 times
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run for 4.8 to 6.4 kilometers
  • Sunday: Rest day

8th Week:

  • Monday: Run for 40 minutes
  • Tuesday: Rest or Cross-Train for 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: Run for 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Run for 20 minutes
  • Friday: Rest day or light 10-minute run
  • Saturday: Race day
  • Sunday: Rest day

The chart below shows the different paces and finish time for the most popular races

If your goal is to run a 20 minute 5K, then you have to run 4 minutes per kilometer or faster. The chart below will show the standard six race distances such as 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon starting with 4 minutes per kilometer.

Pacing Chart (miles)

Pacing chart for the most popular races - 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon
Time3.1 mi (5K)6.2 mi (10K)13.1 mi (Half Marathon)26.2 mi (Marathon)
5:0015:3231:041:05:332:11:06
5:1516:1932:371:08:492:17:39
5:3017:0534:111:12:062:24:12
5:4517:5235:441:15:232:30:46
6:0018:3937:171:18:392:37:19
6:1519:2538:501:21:562:43:52
6:3020:1240:231:25:132:50:25
6:4520:5841:571:28:292:56:59
7:0021:4543:301:31:463:03:32
7:1522:3245:031:35:023:10:05
7:3023:1846:361:38:193:16:39
7:4524:0548:101:41:363:23:12
8:0024:5149:431:44:523:29:45
8:1525:3851:161:48:093:36:18
8:3026:2552:491:51:263:42:52
8:4527:1154:221:54:423:49:25
9:0027:5855:561:57:593:55:58
9:1528:4457:292:01:154:02:32
9:3029:3159:022:04:324:09:05
9:4530:181:00:352:07:494:15:38
10:0031:041:02:082:11:054:22:11
10:1531:511:03:412:14:174:28:33
10:3032:371:05:152:17:394:35:18
10:4533:241:06:482:20:504:41:39
11:0034:111:08:212:24:124:48:25
11:1534:571:09:542:27:234:54:45
11:3035:441:11:272:30:455:01:31
11:4536:301:13:012:33:565:07:51
12:0037:171:14:342:37:185:14:38
12:1538:041:16:072:40:295:20:57
12:3038:501:17:412:43:525:27:44
12:4539:371:19:142:47:025:34:03
13:0040:231:20:472:50:255:40:51
13:1541:101:22:202:53:355:47:09
13:3041:571:23:532:56:585:53:57
13:4542:431:25:263:00:086:00:15
14:0043:301:27:003:03:326:07:04
14:1544:161:28:333:06:416:13:21
14:3043:301:30:063:09:476:19:54
14:4545:501:32:473:13:146:26:27
15:0046:361:33:123:16:306:33:00

1 day before the race:

Everything should go smoothly on the race day, so avoid experimenting with new cuisines or new foods, greasy or fatty foods. You do not have to carb-load which is popular for longer distances races that require more energy to finish, such as a half marathon or full marathon. Stick to your regular diet that you’ve eaten throughout your training. Try to get a good night of sleep before the race. Focus on relaxing activities such as watching movies, reading books, or listening to music.

Race day:

Have a light breakfast. Go with foods lower in fiber, protein, and fat. A light pre-race meal should be consumed at least 4 hours before the race. This gives your body enough time to digest the food and to have energy readily available for the race.

If this is your first 5K race or it’s been a while since you ran a 5K check out this detailed post to help you on race day: 21 Ultimate Tips To Help You Run Your 5K race!

Hydration and Warm-up

Hydration:

Stay hydrated. Start by simply sipping on a 12-ounce bottle of water prior to your race. According to the studies, at least 16 ounces of water two to three hours before the race and one to two cups of water just before the race is essential.

Warm-up:

Before the race, take time to do some dynamic stretching (active stretching) and light jogging to warm-up. Do not static stretch before you run unless you are working out a weird knotted muscle.

Race Time

Start your run slowly. Run at a pace that you feel is comfortable for you. As you run, you should figure out what will keep you going and stick to that pace. Don’t make unrealistic expectations. Don’t push yourself too hard or too aggressive. This is how injuries happen that could be sustained for the rest of your life.

Post Race

Once you cross the finish line and achieve your 5K goal don’t stop moving. Keep moving about for another 10-20 minutes helping so that you can help your legs come back to a more resting/static state. Also, remember to perform some light static stretching. Do not bounce your stretches, instead hold and release your stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. After walking around for a bit and performing some stretching exercises, if you’re legs still feel a little heavy and sore, find a wall or park bench and lye on the ground. Elevate your feet so that they are above your head. Lay there for about 10 minutes or so. This forces the body to drain the blood from your legs and causes fresh more blood to recirculate back into your lower legs.

Even though it’s only a 5K race, go ahead and replenish your body with some water or juice and a light snack. You might have only burnt 300 calories running the 5K race but you need to go ahead and eat something nutritious after you race such as a protein bar, banana, oatmeal, peanut butter, and crackers, or anything else that is nutritious. Don’t forget to grab a beer to help replenish some of those depleted carbs.

Other race training plans:

How to Run 1 Mile When You’re Out Of Shape (beginner runners)

4-week half marathon training plan (advanced runners)

8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan (beginner runners)

8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan (intermediate runners)

12 week Half Marathon Training Guide (comes with pace predictor and log sheet)

 

Coach Scott
 

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