4 Week 5K Training Plan For Beginners

If you feel like you want to do something about your health, or that you want to get up and go try running, then why not start with a simple 5K race?

A 5K race is often the starting point for many runners hoping to work on their fitness, as it is not too long, and you can train for it in just a month! 

If this sounds like something you want to do, then check out our 4 week 4K training plan for beginners. It’s perfect for those who are new to running, or prefer walking, and want to build their strength and endurance for continuously running a 5K or 3.1 mile race. 

The good news is that you can sign up to a 5K run taking place next month, and we will have you ready and raring to go over the next four weeks. Just ensure that you are already active a few days a week, or can comfortably run half a mile, and you will be fine. 

If you are a complete novice when it comes to running or being active, then try preparing yourself with a slightly longer training plan. But, if you’re ready to run 5K in just four weeks, then read on for our training plan!

How To Get Started

With this plan, getting started on your fitness journey has never been easier. You’ll be running your 5K race in no time at all.

Our 4 week 5K training plan is all about building up your strength and endurance over time, so as each week progresses, you’ll be walking less and running more, until you are able to run continuously for the 5K distance. 

Just keep in mind that whilst you should be pushing yourself, you don’t need to overexert yourself. It is perfectly fine and normal to have a short walking break whilst running a 5K so that you can catch your breath, or drink some water without dropping it. 

You should also keep in mind that you have to take rest days. You should not be running every single day or you will most likely cause a strain, pull a muscle or injure yourself, and then you won’t be able to run the 5K.

So, stick to our plan, and make sure that you stay hydrated, eat a healthy balanced diet and give yourself time to rest. 

In between your running days, you will want to try doing some other exercises to keep your fitness levels up. For instance, we recommend cross training on days in between runs, or on days that you are not resting.

Cross training can be anything from yoga, biking, swimming or any other activities that you enjoy without overexerting yourself. This will ensure that you are increasing your strength and endurance, but not risking an injury due to running too much. 

Finally, no matter what exercise you do, whether it’s on run days or biking days, you have to warm up for 5 minutes to prepare the muscles for exercise, and you should also cool down for 5 minutes after exercising to ensure you do not cause an injury. 

4 Week 5K Training Plan For Beginners

So, let’s get started with our 4 week 5K training plan!

Week One

Day 1: On day one, you can try running continuously for 8 minutes, and walking for one minute. Try to do this twice to build up your strength.
Day 2: On day two, you can either rest after yesterday, or cross train on this day.
Day 3: For day three, you will want to run again, but do this for 10 minutes this time, and walk for one minute. Repeat this 2 times.
Day 4: Day four should be a rest day after running.
Day 5: On day five, try running for 12 minutes, walk for one minute and repeat this twice.
Day 6: On this day, you can either cross train or rest.
Day 7: Take a rest day! 

Week Two

Day 1: On day one of week two, run for 14 minutes and walk for one minute, repeat this twice.
Day 2: For day two, either rest or cross train.
Day 3: On day three, you will need to up the running time to 16 minutes, walking for 1 minute and then run for a further 7 minutes.
Day 4: Take a rest day!
Day 5: On this day, run for 18 minutes continuously, walk for 1 minute and then run for 7 minutes again. 
Day 6: Either cross train or rest on this day.
Day 7: Take a rest day.

Week Three

Day 1: By week three, you will need to be able to run for 20 minutes, walk for one and then run for another 6 minutes.
Day 2: On this day, either cross train or rest.
Day 3: By day three, do a 23 minute long continuous run.
Day 4: Take a rest day!
Day 5: Now, you will need to run for 25 minutes.
Day 6: Cross train or rest on this day.
Day 7: Take a rest day. 

Week Four

Day 1: Run continuously for 28 minutes.
Day 2: Either cross train on this day or rest.
Day 3: Run for 30 minutes.
Day 4: Take a rest day!
Day 5: Run again for 20 minutes this time.
Day 6: Take a rest day.
Day 7: Run your 5K race! 

Top Tips For Running A 5K

As a beginner, running your first 5K can be extremely daunting, so we have some hints and tips for you to keep in mind when the big race day comes!

One of the biggest tips we can give you is to not eat too much the night before. You may feel like this anyway due to nerves, but in case you don’t know, you will not want to eat a heavy meal or carb-filled meal the night before your 5K run.

If you do, you can bloat, or have gastrointestinal problems when trying to run, and that could ruin all of your hard work. 

So, make sure that you eat as healthily as possible the night before the race, and have a good breakfast to give you the fuel you need for running.

Don’t eat anything spicy or something you’ve not tried before as this can give you some stomach problems that you won’t want to face when you’re in the zone running, so try something like a banana and toast or a plain bagel for your race day breakfast. 

In addition to this, you’ll obviously want to ensure that everything goes swimmingly on race day, so don’t try anything new for the first time. Stick to what you know, and stick to your routine.

This means not using brand new trainers or running gear on race day as they will not have been worn in, and you could end up chafing throughout the whole run. This can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort, and could slow you down and affect your race time. 

Just make sure that you are wearing the clothes you know fit you perfectly, and the ones that don’t chafe or feel uncomfortable at all when running. This will ensure that everything goes smoothly for you on your first time!

In the same breath, don’t be too disheartened if things don’t go well. It’s your first race, and whilst you may have trained and tried really hard, sometimes things happen that are out of control. 

You could simply trip, or twist an ankle by accident and injure yourself, which can be disappointing when you’ve worked hard, but sometimes these things just happen! You can always sign up to the next race and simply try again! 

Finally, we highly recommend that you warm up properly before the race. You may be nervous, or chatting to other racers, but you have to warm up your muscles and body to give yourself the energy you need and the best chance of reaching your goal time.

Before you start the race, stretch out your muscles, and try a slow jog for 3-5 minutes. Don’t forget to do your high knees or jumping jacks, and warm up your whole body ready for your first 5K run. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have some more queries about your 5K run, then check out our handy frequently asked questions section!

What Pace Should I Run?

What pace you run is different for everyone. Your fitness levels may vary from other people’s so some runners may start with a slower pace, and others can be faster. Stick with what works for you, and what makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

We recommend running at a conversational pace which means that you can talk in complete sentences without running out of breath or struggling for air. If you feel that you are struggling to breathe, then simply slow down the pace a little. 

For beginner runners trying out on a treadmill, try to start at about 4.0 mph and work from there. If it’s easy for you, then turn up the speed, and ensure you have a comfortable conversational pace for running. 

How Long Will It Take Me To Run A 5K?

This depends on your own fitness levels. Some people who partake in a 5K race are experienced runners, who could finish in around 15 minutes, whereas others prefer to walk a 5K and may finish in about an hour. It depends on the person.

How Do I Estimate My 5K Running Time?

On average, it could take someone running a mile in 8 minutes to finish in around 25 minutes, whereas someone running about a mile per 10 minutes could finish in just under 40 minutes. 

Your best bet is timing yourself beforehand and seeing how quickly you can run a mile comfortably, to see how long roughly it will take you to finish the 5K.

Don’t worry, you won’t be last to finish. Many people worry about this, but the truth is if you train beforehand, you won’t be last. 

There are always those who prefer to walk, or are doing the 5K for charity, so no one will be waiting for you all day to finish the race.The best thing to do is look at finishing times from the previous year to see how yours compares!

Matt Williams