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4 Week Intermediate 5K Schedule

Intermediate Training Program to Run 3.1 Miles

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Updated June 16, 2014

Competitive runners in a cross country race.
Christopher Futcher/Vetta/Getty Images
If you've signed up for a 5K race that's a month away and you haven't been specifically training for it, you still have time to run a brag-worthy race time. This four-week training program (see below) is designed for intermediate runners who are currently running at least 15 miles a week. (If you're a beginner runner who wants to run a 5K that's four weeks away, use this 4-Week Beginner 5K schedule. If you're looking for a more challenging schedule, try this 4-Week Advanced 5K schedule.)

If you're an intermediate runner and you have more time to train, try this 8-Week Intermediate 5K schedule.

Training Notes:

Tempo Runs (TR): Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for fast 5K racing. Start your run with 10 minutes easy running, then continue with 15-20 minutes running about 10 seconds per mile slower than your 10K race pace, and finish with 10 minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K race pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Hill repeats (HR): For your hill repeats, pick a hill about 200 to 400 meters long that isn't too steep. Try to run up at your 5K race effort. Recover down the hill at an easy pace.

5K Interval Workouts: Run your intervals workouts at your 5K race pace, with a two-minute easy-paced recovery in between each interval. You should start and finish your 5K interval workouts with one mile of easy running to warm up and cool down.

Long Runs (LR): You're not training for a long distance event, but long runs will help you develop your stamina, which is important in 5K racing. You should do your long runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. You should be able breathe easily and talk in complete sentences. Your easy pace runs (EP) should also be done at this effort.

Rest Days: On rest days, you can take the day off or do some easy cross-training (CT), such as biking, swimming, elliptical trainer, strength training, or another activity you enjoy.

4 Week Intermediate 5K Schedule

Week 1:
Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 25 min TR + 2 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K effort + 2 min EP] x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 5 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 2:
Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 30 min TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K effort + 2 min EP] x 4
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 7 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 3:
Day 1: 40 min CT or Rest
Day 2: 25 min TR + 3 hill repeats
Day 3: 30 min CT or Rest
Day 4: [4 min @ 5K effort + 2 min EP] x 3
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: 6 miles LR
Day 7: 3 miles EP

Week 4:
Day 1: 30 min CT
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 20 min TR
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 3 miles EP
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: 5K Race!

More About 5K Racing and Training:
How to Estimate Your 5K Race Time
Mental Tips for Racing
Tips for a Stronger Race Finish
Common Racing Mistakes
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