5k run training programme

5k runs are a great challenge for anyone new to running. Prepare with this training plan from Personal Trainer Haydn Ward.

With any fitness challenge, maintaining motivation is the key to success, so it helps to follow a training programme with achievable steps. One of the major barriers to motivation is braving the elements outdoors, so this training plan is designed to enable you to train in the gym on the treadmill or on the streets. Of course, it's best to practice running outdoors ahead of the event as well, to get your body used to running under race day conditions - on uneven surfaces or against the wind, for example.

This plan should take an individual from no structured running to completing a 5k run within six weeks. Always consult your GP before undertaking any physical challenges, and also consult with a member of gym staff if you're unsure how to operate any of the equipment or exercises listed within this programme.


Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6
MondayInterval 1Interval 2Interval 3Interval 4Interval 5Interval 6
TuesdayStrength 1Strength 1Strength 1Strength 1Strength 1Strength 1
WednesdayFartlek 1Fartlek 2Fartlek 3Fartlek 4Fartlek 5Fartlek 6
FridayStrength 2Strength 2Strength 2Strength 2Strength 2Strength 2
SaturdayLong run 1Long run 2Long run 3Long run 4Long run 5Long run 6


The table below provides information on what to do in each of the interval sessions listed above.

For all interval sessions, begin with active stretches and 5 minutes walking or jogging. Upon competing prescribed intervals, finish with a 5 minute walk and foam roll/static stretch. The 30 second runs should be above race pace, therefore more of a sprint than a jog. The 400m jogs should be at about 60-70% effort, just below a race-pace run.

Interval 130 sec run1 min recoveryx5
Interval 2400m jog400m walkx6
Interval 330 sec run1 min recoveryx6
Interval 4400m jog400m walkx7
Interval 530 sec run1 min recoveryx7
Interval 6400m jog400m walkx8


The table below provides information on what to do in each of the fartlek sessions listed in the six-week plan above.

Fartlek training is a form of relaxed intervals. You simply run as long as you can and walk as long as needed, until you have completed the chosen distance. Your aim should be to walk as little as needed. Aim to use a comfortable jog pace rather than a fast run to enable you to complete a further distance.

Fartlek 11k
Fartlek 21.5k
Fartlek 32k
Fartlek 43k
Fartlek 54k
Fartlek 64.5k


The table below provides information on what to do in each of the long runs listed in the six-week plan above.

The goal should be to complete each long run at or just below your race pace. Ensure to use a pace that allows you to finish the run, but don’t feel bad if you need to walk for small periods to catch your breath. The final run in week six is the 5k run.

Long run 11.5k
Long run 22k
Long run 32.5k
Long run 43k
Long run 54k
Long run 65k


This is a basic strength programme that will ensure you build strength in all areas. The focus will be to increase the weight used once you are able to reach the numbers prescribed, and still have three more reps ‘in the tank’. Ensure you stick to the rest periods as stated.

Strength 1Strength 2Sets x RepsRest/Set
Long jumpTuck jump3 x 51 min
Back squatDeadlift3 x 81 min
Bent-over rowAssisted pull up3 x 8
1 min
Dips (assisted)Bench press3 x 8
1 min
Upright rowOverhead press3 x 8
1 min
Leg raisesCrunches3 x 12
1 min
Back extensionsRussian twists3 x 151 min

Last updated Friday 2 September 2022

First published on Thursday 27 October 2016