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8K or 5 mile Training Schedule for Beginner Runners

Be Ready to Run an 8K in 8 Weeks

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Updated April 08, 2014

10krace.jpg John Kieffer/Photolibrary/Getty

This eight-week 8K training program is designed for beginner runners who want to build up to running an 8K race (4.97 miles). Since 8K is almost 5 miles, this schedule also works for any beginners training for a 5-mile race.

The program assumes that you can already run at least a mile. If you've never run or run/walked before, you may want to start with the "3 Weeks to a 30-Minute Running Habit" e-course or 4 Weeks to One Mile before you start this program. If this program seems too easy for you, try the Advanced Beginner 8K Training Schedule.

If you haven't had a recent physical, visit your doctor to get cleared for running.

Notes about the training schedule:

The training schedule below gives you all your workouts for each of the 8 weeks. You don't have to do your runs on specific days; however, you should try to avoid running two days in a row. It's better to take a rest day or do cross-training on the days in between runs. Cross-training can be walking, biking, dancing, swimming, or any other activity (other than running) that you enjoy. Doing 15-20 minutes of strength-training 1-2x a week can be very beneficial.

You should start each run with a 5-10 minute warm-up walk or slow jog. Runs should be done at a comfortable, conversational pace. Finish up with a 5-10 minute cool-down walk or slow jog.

Week 1:
Day 1: Run easy 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 1.5 mile (2.4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 2:
Day 1: Run easy 1.5 mile (2.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 1 mile (1.6 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 1.5 miles (2.4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 3:
Day 1: Run easy 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 1.5 mile (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 4:
Day 1: Run easy 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 1.5 mile (2.4 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 2.5 miles (4 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 5:
Day 1: Run easy 3 miles (5 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 2 miles (3.2 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 3 miles (5 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 6:
Day 1: Run easy 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 3.5 miles (5.6 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 7:
Day 1: Run easy 4 miles (6.4 K)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Run easy 3 miles (5 K)
Day 4: 40-45 min cross-training
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Run easy 4.5 miles (7.2 K)
Day 7: Rest or 30 min walk

Week 8:
Your first 8K (5-miler) is this week! Try to take it a little easier this week, so that you're well-rested for your race. Good luck!
Day 1: Run 40 min
Day 2: 30 min cross-training
Day 3: Run 30 min

Race Day Tips: Here's some advice for running a successful race:

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