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home > training > training plans > competitive 5k program

Competitive 5K Program
A training schedule for competitive runners who want to improve performance in the 5K race distance.

  
Competitive 5K Program

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Related info:
Find 5k Training Schedules - Beginner to Advanced | ActiveTrainer
 

Posted Monday, 8 September, 1997

First things first: bookmark this page so that you can check on your progress. You can also add daily run reminders to the Cool Running homepage as you roll through the weeks of this training program (to do this, edit your start page preferences).

This program contains some speed workouts. (For more information on the types of speed workouts, we lay it all out in "The Runner's Building Blocks"). A few quick notes on how speedwork is described here:

  • The distance in parentheses below fartlek runs includes a mile each of warmup and warmdown, in addition to your fartlek sessions. Don't know what a fartlek is? Check out our page about "The Runner's Building Blocks".
  • Whenever you see a pace denoted as 5K pace or 10K pace, this refers to the speed at which you estimate you could run a 5K or 10K on that given day.
  • When you read "4-5 hills," that means you should do 4-5 repeats at 5K pace on a hill about 150 or 200 yards long. Long hills should be 400-600 yards long. If you find it too tedious to run repeats on a single hill, you can also find a route that incorporates the same number of hills, as long as the route is not very long.
  • When you read the notation "4 x 880s," that means you should run four repeats of 880 yards each (two laps on the track). The pace below tells you how fast you should run them. For 880s, give yourself 2 minutes of rest between intervals; for 440s, give yourself 1-2 minutes.

All other workouts (including the long runs) should be run at an easy training pace -- emphasis on "easy." Hold yourself back to a pace about 90 seconds or 2 minutes per mile slower than your current 10K pace.

Finally, the pre-training schedule. You should be able to run this schedule for four to five weeks without much discomfort before starting the 5K program. If not, give yourself some time to build up to that level gradually, or you may risk injury.

  Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Pre-
Train
4M 6M 8M 8M 6M 4M 10M

 
The schedule

The schedule peaks at about 60 miles per week. If you prefer metric distances, use our distance-conversion calculator to convert to kilometers.

Week Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
1 6M 8 x 440s
5K pace
7M 7M 8-9 Hills
5K pace
5M 10M
2 6M 6 x 880s
5K pace
7M 7M Fartlek
(8M)
5M 12M
3 8M 3 x Mile
5K pace
9M 9M 8-9 Hills
5K pace
5M 10M
4 8M 8 X 880s
5K pace
9M 9M Fartlek
(8M)
5M 14M
5 10M 10 x 440s
5K pace
8M 8M 7-8 Long Hills
5K pace
7M 12M
6 10M 6 x Fast 440s
5K minus 15 secs
7M 7M 9-10 Hills
5K pace
5M 10K race
(Or 10M)
7 8M 4 x Mile
5K pace
10M 10M 8-9 Long Hills
5K pace
7M 12M
8 6M 6 x Fast 880s
5K minus 15 secs
9M 9M 10 x 440s
5K pace
7M 10M
9 6M 8 x Fast 440s
5K minus 15 secs
7M 7M 4 x Mile
5K pace
7M 10M
10 6M 8 x 880s
5K pace
7M 8-9 Hills
5K pace
7M 7M 5K Race
(Or 10M)
11 6M 8 x Fast 220s
5K minus 15 secs
7M 7M 8 x Fast 880s
5K minus 15 secs
7M 10M
12 5M 8 x 440s
5K pace
4M 6M 3M 2M RACE DAY!
 

 

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