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5K Training Plan for Advanced Runners


Updated May 16, 2014

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This easy-to-follow 8-week 5K training program (below) is for advanced level runners. This 5K training schedule is particularly useful to experienced runners who are hoping to run a personal best in the 5K.

If this schedule seems too challenging for you, try the intermediate 5K training schedule.

Notes about the schedule:

Crossing-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 50 to 60 minutes.

Interval workouts (IW): This is a good workout to do on a track. After a warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) hard, and then recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. So 4 x 400 would be four hard 400s, with a 400 m recovery in between.

Wednesday and Saturday runs: After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage. Make sure you cool down and stretch after your run. If you're running outside and not sure about distances, you can figure out the mileage by using sites such as MapMyRun. Or, you can always drive your route in your car and measure the mileage using your car odometer.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for fast 5K racing. Start your run with 5 to 10 minutes easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes running near your 10K pace, and finish with 5 to 10 minutes cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day without taking days off, you won’t see much improvement. Fridays are a good day for rest because you just did a speed workout on Thursday and you have your longest run of the week tomorrow.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles.

You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. Just make sure you don't do two intense speed workouts (IW and tempo) two days in a row.

5K Training Schedule for Advanced Runners

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 4 m run 30 min tempo Rest 5 m run 35 min EZ
2 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 4 m run 30 min tempo Rest 6 m run 35 min EZ
3 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 5 m run 30 min tempo Rest 7 m run 40 min EZ
4 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 8 m run 45 min EZ
5 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 9 m run 40 min EZ
6 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 5 m run 40 min tempo Rest 8 m run 40 min EZ
7 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 4 m run 40 min tempo Rest 7 m run 45 min EZ
8 CT or Rest 3 m run 30 min tempo run 2 m run Rest Rest 5K Race!
Related Video
How to Prep for a 5K Race

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