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How to Train for and Run a 5K Race

5K Training and Running Tips

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Updated April 04, 2014

Runners in race Yellow Dog Productions

The 5K is one of the most popular race lengths in the world. A 5k run is 5 kilometers long, which is the equivalent of 3.1 miles. Because the 5K is one of the shorter road races, it's very popular among beginner runners who want to give racing a try as well as advanced runners who like to have a short-term goal.

Why Run A 5K?

People run 5K races for many different reasons. Some of the most common include:
  • They want to challenge themselves.
  • They want to train for a specific goal, rather than just running for exercise.
  • They enjoy running with others.
  • They want to see how fast they can run.
  • They want to show their support for a specific charity.
  • They like the idea of crossing a finish line.
  • They promised to run with a friend or family member.
  • They want to beat their personal record in the 5K.
 

What's Involved in Training for and Running a 5K Race?

For beginner runners, the 5K distance may seem intimidating at first. However, even someone who is new to running can be ready for a 5K in a matter of eight weeks. Many new runners use a run/walk strategy for their first 5K. People who have more experience running can usually run a 5K race on any given weekend. But even advanced runners will follow a very specific training schedule in order to achieve a goal time in the 5K.

Finding a 5K race is usually not too difficult, since a lot of small communities even hold them annually. Many charity races, such as the Race for the Cure series, are 5K distances. Summer and fall are the most popular seasons for road races, but you can find ones all year in some areas. Get tips on how to find road races in your area .

5K Training Schedules for Beginners:

Many beginner runners choose the 5K distance because it's an attainable goal. For some beginners, a 5K race is their first race ever. If you're new to running and want to train for a 5K, here are a couple of 5K training programs:

5K Training Schedule for Beginners: This eight-week training schedule is designed for beginner runners who want to run to the finish line of a 5K race. It assumes that you can already run at least one mile. If you'd like to follow it with an email course, sign up for it here: 5K Beginner Training Schedule. If you've never run before, follow this step-by-step plan, learn to run program -- Four Weeks to Running One Mile -- before you start with the 5K schedule.

5K Run/Walk Training Schedule: This eight-week training schedule is designed for those who can run for five minutes at a time and want to build up to running for the entire 5K race. If you'd like to follow it with an email course, sign up for it here: 5K Run/Walk Beginner Training Schedule. 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.

Train for a 5K in a Month: This four-week training program is designed for beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a 5K in a month.

Six-Week 5K Training Schedule: This six-week training program is geared toward beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a 5K.

5K Training Schedule for Advanced Beginners: This eight-week schedule is geared toward runners who can run 2 miles comfortably and can run 4 to 5 days per week. You may have never run a 5K before, but you're looking for a schedule that's a little more challenging than the 5K Beginner Schedule.

5K Training for Intermediate Runners:

5K Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners : This eight-week schedule is geared toward runners who've already run some 5Ks and are looking to achieve a personal record (PR) in the 5K.

4-Week Intermediate 5K Training Schedule: This four-week schedule is for intermediate runners who currently run about 15 miles a week.
 

5K Training for Advanced Runners:

5K Training Schedule for Advanced Runners : This eight-week 5K training program is for advanced level runners. You should be running at least 4-5 days a week and are able to run at least 5 miles. This 5K training schedule is particularly useful to experienced runners who are hoping to run a personal best in the 5K.

4-Week Advanced 5K Training Schedule: This 4-week schedule is for experienced runners who are running at least 5 days a week and are able to run at least 6 miles.

Next page: Frequently-Asked Questions and 5K Running Tips
Related Video
How to Prep for a 5K Race

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