So, you want to run your BEST 5k EVER?

So, you want to run your BEST 5k EVER?

You’ve come to the right spot. Whether you are a beginner looking to finish your first 5k, or a seasoned runner looking to break your personal record - we have a plan for you.

These plans are short (5 weeks) so they'll work best if you already run/walk or run 2-3 times/week. If you are completely new to running altogether, consider starting with a novice plan like Hal Higdon's.

Despite its relatively short distance (3.12 miles) the 5k race presents a unique challenge for runners of any level. For beginners, it’s a great first-race to attempt, or a great race to try to complete without a walking break. For advanced runners, its short distance means a chance to test your speed more than in longer events.

Regardless of your level, it’s a good idea to start logging your runs and keeping track of mileage so that you can watch your progress and weekly mileage add up. Our 2 favorite tracking apps are Polar Beat (for outdoor runs) / Polar Flow (for Stride classes) and RunKeeper (which you can use to track both indoor and outdoor runs).

Below are a few terms to help you read your training plan.

Easy Pace:
Your easy pace should be just that - easy. As time progresses at this pace, your breathing will increase but your heart rate might stay around 80% or lower. Think of it as your low level 2. You can use this pace for any run marked “Easy”.

5k Pace:
This is the pace at which you could run a race (that you were trying to win) fast for about 3 miles. Note - you will not be doing your long runs or even most of your training runs at this pace. Your 5k pace is the fast speed at which you which you would “perform” for your race - you will likely be completing your training runs at a slower pace.

Tempo Pace:
Tempo is a hard but controlled pace that can be run as long intervals or a steady run of 1-10 miles. The purpose of a  Tempo Run is to increase the point where your body fatigues. You’ll build mental and physical endurance by learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This pace is probably on the cusp of your High Level 2 / Low Level 3

Speed Training Pace aka Level 3:
This is your fast, or Level 3 pace. This challenging speed will help you improve your running form, running efficiency, and your V02-max (the efficiency which you use oxygen). It’s very useful, which is why we use it so much in Stride classes! You might find that your Level 3 or speed training pace is close to what your target 5k pace is.

Want to find your pace targets? Use this calculator to find which training paces match your 5k goal time:

Let's get started.
Remember, these 5-week charts are simply suggestions to get you started, and they assume you are already running/walking 2-3 times/week. If you are just starting running, plan on taking 8-12 weeks to prepare for your 5k.

Your rest days are an important key to your plan, so don’t skip over them. Resist the urge to run too fast on easy days. Your body needs time to adapt to your training and going too hard, too fast is never a shortcut.

Final word of advice: don’t delay - start today. “Some day…” never comes, so lace up, book a Stride class, and jump right in!


STRIDE Beginner's 5-Week 5k Training Plan

STRIDE Treadmill Studio Beginner 5k Plan

STRIDE Advanced 5-Week 5k Training Plan

STRIDE Advanced 5-Week 5k Training Plan
Leanne PedanteSTRIDE