This plan is geared for an experienced runner and racer who regularly runs at least five days a week, an average of 25 miles per week, with long runs of at least eight miles. Unless otherwise noted, all runs should be done at an easy pace. This plan was developed by the experts at Runner's World.
Welcome to week 1 of the Runner's World 5K Training Plan for advanced runners. Each Monday, you'll get a note about your training for the week ahead. And every day, you'll get an email reminding you about the workout for the day. As you train, check out the online community at runnersworld.com, where you'll find tips on training, nutrition, and injury prevention, and you can connect with other runners and the editors of Runner's World. Each week, you'll have four short weekday runs and a longer run on the weekend. You'll have two days reserved for rest. Today, run 3 miles at an easy pace. Focus on getting into a rhythm that feels comfortable enough to hold a conversation. If you're huffing and puffing, you're going too fast. By doing most of your runs at this easy pace, you'll build strong legs and lungs without getting injured.
Run the mileage for the day on the hilliest course you can find. Don't worry too much about the length or grade of the hills. Just get a variety of inclines and descents. Hills help you boost your leg and lung power. At first, just focus on maintaining the same pace that you were running on level ground. On the downhills, think 'light, quick feet.' Don't let your feet slap the pavement, and don't brake with your legs.
Today, run 3 miles at an easy pace. In these first few weeks of training, focus on blending your training into the rhythm of your daily life. Map out some safe, well-lit, traffic-free routes that you can take in a variety of weather conditions. Find out which times of day are most convenient for you to run.
This is a free-form speed workout. (The word 'fartlek' is Swedish for speed play.) It includes: 1-mile warmup 4 miles fartlek (alternating between 1 minute race pace/1 minute easy) 1-mile cooldown Warm up with 1 mile of easy running. Then alternate between 1 minute of running at a pace that feels like your 5K pace, and recovering with 1 minute of easy running. Repeat this cycle as many times as you need to over the course of the designated miles. Your goal: to fully recover after the 1-minute bout of hard running before you start the next hard effort. At the end, you should feel invigorated, not demolished. Cool down with 1 mile of easy running. This is a nice way to introduce higher intensity running before you start formal track work next week.
Weekends are reserved for your longer runs. On these days you'll focus on running farther and building the endurance you need to finish your race feeling strong. Whenever you're pushing your body farther than it's gone before, it's extra important that you start at a pace that feels conservative, so that you have the energy to finish feeling good.
Welcome to week 2 of training. This week you'll step up your effort with longer and more intense workouts. Most of your runs will be longer or faster. These workouts will boost your aerobic and muscle strength and get your mind and body race ready. Be sure to take advantage of your rest days and recover from your hard efforts. Today, run 4 miles easy.
Today you'll run 6 miles on the hilliest route you can find. If you feel up it, you might try challenging yourself by surging on the hills. Try to pick up the pace a bit as you run up the incline. Don't push so hard that you can't maintain some strong momentum over the top and keep quick, light turnover on the way down. When you return to level ground, you should be able to resume your easy pace without struggling.