Sub 19 Minute 5K Training Plan [To Help Improve Your PR Times]

This 5K training plan is designed for runners who are looking to finish at a time under 19 minutes. It's designed for runners who are finishing 5K's under 21-20 minutes already but need a little extra structure and guidance to get to the next level.

This is a 12-week training plan that offers interval training days, hill repeats, fartleks, short runs, and longer runs to help you build stamina. You will have goal times and paces to hit for some of your workouts, others you will run by feel.

Do not be discouraged if you cannot initially hit this goal, but make sure to work up to it. This training plan was developed to help you hit a target time goal.

Note: Make sure to take the recovery days seriously, as they are the times that allow your body to recover and adapt from the harder workout days. 

TRAINING PLAN TERMS

Rest:

The training plan includes "rest" days. These help you recover from your runs and make sure you taper your training the final week so you are ready to rock your race.

Easy:

The “easy” run on the schedule above should be at a comfortable level. Don’t focus on how fast you are running, just make sure you get the miles in. An “easy pace” should be run at a level that allows you to chat with a running partner without being out of breath.

Long Runs:

Long runs will be slightly longer in time and distance compared to your usual easy runs, this will build your endurance for the 5k race.

Feel free to keep the pace “easy” on these days, or pick up the pace just a little bit in the last couple of miles if you feel good. 

Tempo Runs:

Tempo Runs are a continuous and steady effort that should feel comfortably uncomfortable. After your warm-up, feel free to stop, stretch, and do some strides. You will have the spaces provided to you.

You may want to run these as a progression, starting off easier and getting quicker over the course of the run. Be sure to listen to your body when you run tempo runs as they are very useful for developing an anaerobic threshold which is extremely essential for a very fast 5k race.

Hill Repeats:

As part of this training plan, there are some hill repeat workouts in this training program to help build your strength and power.

These should be run by “feel” for the duration of the time prescribed. Rest in these workouts will be the walk/jog down the hill back to your starting point. Generally, the shorter the time running, the faster you will want to run.

Fartlek Training:

Characterized as “speed play” these workouts consist of running at a faster pace for a short designated time frame, then a short rest that still includes some slower running or jogging.

This is another workout that is run by “feel”, so make sure to pay attention to how you feel on each repetition and distribute your energy sustainably throughout the workout. 

Interval Training:

To improve your speed interval training is imperative. What happens when you run interval runs is that you train faster than your race pace for the 5K.

Be sure to run a specific amount of time hard, then recover by jogging or walking for a shorter time to catch your breath or 200-400 meters. 

Make sure you are warmed up before the intervals. Focus most on good form during these workouts.

Doing sprints of 100 meters beforehand and stretching would be ideal.

Strides:

Strides can be done at the end of a recovery run or at the beginning of a workout to stretch out your stride and prepare your legs for some faster movements.

They should be done around 85-90% of your maximum speed, but they should be ran as a build-up, which means the latter half of the stride should be faster than the first half. Aim for around 10-15 seconds, or 60-100 meters for each stride. 

SUB 19 MINUTE 5K TRAINING PLAN WEEK BY WEEK

WEEK 1

MONDAY

01

3 MILES EASY

TUESDAY

01

3 MILES EASY

WEDNESDAY

01

REST

THURSDAY

01

3 MILES EASY + 4 STRIDES

FRIDAY

01

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 8x200 meters (1/8 mile) @ :45 seconds, 2 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

01

REST

SUNDAY

01

5 MILES EASY

WEEK 1:

  • 19 Total Miles
  • 4 Easy Run & 1 Interval Run

Week One Comments:

This week you will be hitting the ground “running”. Focus on setting a tone for the weeks to come, try to keep it fun. Take the easy day VERY easy this week to ease into training.

Be careful not to over-do it on the easy run on Thursday, as you will feel sluggish during the Interval runs on Friday. 

The warm-up and cool-down miles are very important to get your body going and to stabilize your heart rate when cooling down. This gives your body a natural decrease in heart rate as you finish your run. Be sure to REST on the rest days, which means do not go out for a stroll. Cross-training or bike riding is a perfect substitute.

Strides are to be done after your easy runs when they are prescribed, they should be 10-15 seconds and about 85-90% of your max speed (which you should run by feel). Strides will help enhance your running form and prepare your legs for the workouts ahead.

The interval runs work best to run fast for the 200 or 1/8, once you hit the specific distance STOP to catch your breath and then go at it again. How long should you stop to catch your breath?

However long it took you to run the 200 or 1/8 mile. So if it took you forty seconds or one minute to run the 1/8 interval, you rest for forty seconds or one minute and then go continue to the next interval run. Don't be surprised, normally the first interval run will be your fastest and then the time will go down each time.

When you get fitter later into the training plan, you may see your workout paces even out...or you might even start getting faster at the end of your interval workouts. Be patient. 


WEEK 2

MONDAY

02

3 MILES EASY

TUESDAY

02

Hill Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 8x :30 sec hill sprints, 2x :60 hill run with jog downhill as rest, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

02

REST

THURSDAY

02

3 MILES EASY + 4 STRIDES

FRIDAY

02

Fartlek Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 10x 1:00 run fast/(1:00 run/jog), 1 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

02

REST

SUNDAY

02

6 MILES EASY

WEEK 2:

  • 22-23 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Run & 1 Hill Repeat, 1 Fartlek

Week Two Comments:

Week two features a hill repeats workout, this is a great way to strengthen your legs and lungs by fighting gravity.

Take the warm-up and cool-down seriously, as it gets your body ready to go and then allows your heart rate to get back to a normal pace. The fartlek run on Friday is going to get your legs used to shifting between faster and slower paces, so try to run fast for the “on” portion, and then jog or slow your pace to recover on the “off” portion.

On Sunday the mileage has increased to six miles, which helps build endurance for your body and legs. Might even be considered your first Long Run! Not only are you training your breathing and legs for hard running via the intervals but you are also training to increase the endurance.

This will prove monumental during the race. Take the long run as you see fit, if you are tired then go easy, but if you feel good then feel free to pick up the pace in the last mile or two. 


WEEK 3

MONDAY

03

4 MILES EASY

TUESDAY

03

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 10x200 meters (1/8 mile) @:45-40, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

03

REST

THURSDAY

03

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

03

Tempo Run: 2 mile warm-up, 20 minute tempo run @7:00-6:50/mile pace, 1 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

03

REST

SUNDAY

03

6 MILES EASY

WEEK 3:

  • 24-25 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Run & 1 Interval Runs & 1 Tempo Run

Week Three Comments:

The interval run has increased to now ten (as opposed to eight in week one). Remember the rule about resting after each interval run.

Take a break to catch your breath for however long it took you to run that interval. This interval running will be hard on your legs so you have a few rest and easy run days in to make sure you get solid miles in.

The tempo run will be a great opportunity to build some great “high end” endurance as well. You will want to feel comfortably uncomfortable during this session, you should be breathing hard, but still have enough air to utter a short sentence like: “I feel alright”. You have times or paces to hit for each of these workouts.

Don’t be afraid to ease into the fast pace for the first 5 minutes, and then try to progress to a faster pace.


WEEK 4

MONDAY

04

4 MILES EASY

TUESDAY

04

Hill Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 6x :15 sec hill sprints, 6x :30, 5x :60 hill run with jog downhill as rest, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

04

REST

THURSDAY

04

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

04

Fartlek Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 12x 1:00 run fast/(1:00 run/jog), 2 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

04

REST

SUNDAY

04

7 MILES LONG RUN

WEEK 4:

  • 25-26 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Runs & 1 Hill Repeat, 1 Fartlek Workout, and 1 Long Run

Week Four Comments:

When you finish this week, you will be a whole month into this training plan,  you are increasing your strength, improving your speed endurance, and piling up some solid miles.

We have now settled into a good 2-week cycle, this week offers another hill repeats workout and fartlek workout.

Once again for the fartlek run on Friday, remember to shift between faster and slower paces, so try to run fast for the “on '' portion, and then jog to recover on the “off” portion. 

The volume continues to rise gradually in these workouts, do not be threatened by this, instead, see it as a challenge to overcome.

Keep stacking good weeks on top of each other, it’s natural to start feeling some aches and pains as you progress in your training, make sure to stretch, eat healthily, and sleep well at night for ample recovery and adaptation.

For the Sunday long run the same principle applies as last week, easy if you are tired, pick up the pace if it feels good. Above all else, be patient. 


WEEK 5

MONDAY

05

3 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

05

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 6x400 meters (1/4 mile) @1:30 minutes, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

05

REST

THURSDAY

05

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

05

Tempo Run: 2 mile warm-up, 2x15 minute tempo run, (rep 1 @7:00/mile pace, rep 2 @ 6:50/mile pace), 2 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

05

REST

SUNDAY

05

8 MILE LONG RUN

WEEK 5:

  • 28-29 Total Miles
  • 1 Easy Runs, 1 interval ru, 1 Tempo Run and 1 Long

Week Five Comments:

This week will not increase your total miles, but we will focus on three quality sessions.

This week’s interval run is now 6 x 400 meters (¼ mile), so each interval is double the length of the intervals you have been doing, but you will get more rest. You may be feeling sluggish after this workout, so you have a couple of solid rest days.

The tempo run will also be longer in total time, but it is broken into two parts, follow the prescribed pace and take 2-3 minutes between the repetitions so you can recover.

Take Sunday’s eight-mile long-run easy, as it's a lot of miles to run after a hard day on Friday so be cautious and don't overdo it. 

Take your rest days seriously. The hard sessions are what break you down, but the rest days offer time for your body to adapt. 


WEEK 6

MONDAY

06

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

06

Hill Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 10x :60 hill run with jog downhill as rest, 1 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

06

REST

THURSDAY

06

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

06

Fartlek Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 8x 2:00 run fast/(1:00 run/jog), 1 mile cool-down 

SATURDAY

06

REST

SUNDAY

06

9 Miles Long Run

WEEK 6:

  • 28-29 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Runs, 1 Hill Repeat Workout, 1 Fartlek, and 1 Long Run

Week Six Comments:

This week provides more hill repeats and another fartlek. We are continuing to build well-rounded strength, power, and speed by working through a range of gears, paces, and distances.

Each new week is stacking a new layer of fitness onto the last. Try to pick up the intensity of the workouts this week, as you are definitely gaining fitness. The nine-mile run on Sunday stretches out your legs and pushes your endurance a little bit.

Next week will bring on your most intense interval session yet, so make sure to take recovery seriously this week. 


WEEK 7

MONDAY

07

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

07

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 5x600 meters @ 2:10-2:15 minutes, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

07

Rest

THURSDAY

07

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

07

Tempo Run: 2 mile warm-up, 25 minute tempo run @7:00-6:40/mile pace, 1 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

07

REST

SUNDAY

07

8 Miles Long Run

WEEK 7:

  • 28 -29 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Run & 1 Interval Run, 1 Tempo Run & 1 Long Run

Week Seven Comments:

Think of this week as putting a cherry on top of the fitness you have built over the last six weeks.

You will have an intense interval run of 5x 600 meters (⅜ mile), try to run the prescribed paces, and get faster nearing the last couple of repetitions. The volume and density of this session are longer than your past interval runs, but consider it as another piece to the puzzle to run your 5k PR next month.

The key is to recover on your rest and easy days to realize the benefits of all your workouts.

You have another tempo run this week for your second workout, this will keep making you stronger, do not force anything, but if you feel good do not be afraid to pick it up past your comfort zone in the final 10 minutes.


WEEK 8

MONDAY

08

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

08

Hill Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 2x(5x :30 hill sprints, 5x :60 hill sprints) with jog downhill as rest, 1 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

08

Rest

THURSDAY

08

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

08

Fartlek Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 6x 3:00 run fast/(1:00 run jog), 1 mile cool-down 

SATURDAY

08

REST

SUNDAY

08

10 Miles Long Run

WEEK 8:

  • 28-29 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Run, I Hill Repeats Workout, 1 Fartlek and 1 Long Run

Week Eight Comments:

This week provides more hill repeats and another fartlek.  Remember to run these workouts by feel, and enjoy the process of getting better with each repetition. You may be getting faster in these workouts, and if this is true try to embrace it and continue to prioritize recovery.

You are continuing to build well-rounded strength, power, and speed by working through a range of gears, paces, and distances.

Each new week is stacking a new layer of fitness onto the last. Try to pick up the intensity of the workouts this week, as you are definitely gaining fitness.

The nine-mile run on Sunday stretches out your legs and pushes your endurance a little bit.


WEEK 9

MONDAY

09

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

09

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 4x200 meters (1/8 mile) (30-40 seconds of running), 6x400 meters (1/4 mile)/(1:30-2:00 minutes of running) fast, 1 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

09

Rest OR 3 Easy Miles 

THURSDAY

09

4 MILES EASY + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

09

Tempo Run: 2 mile warm-up, 25 minute tempo run @7:00-6:40/mile pace, 1 mile cool-down  

SATURDAY

09

REST

SUNDAY

09

10 Miles Long Run

WEEK 9: 

  • 29-33 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Run, 1 Interval Run, 1 Tempo Run and 1 Long Run

Week Nine Comments:

The volume and density of these sessions are increasing over your past interval runs but consider it as another piece to the puzzle to run your 5k PR next month.

The key is to recover on your rest and easy days to realize the benefits of all your workouts. You have another tempo run this week for your second workout, this will keep making you stronger, do not force anything, but if you feel good on the second 15-minute repetition do not be afraid to pick it up past your comfort zone in the final 10 minutes.


WEEK 10

MONDAY

10

4 Easy Miles + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

10

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 6x400 meters (1/4 mile) @1:30-1:25 minutes, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

10

Rest or 3 Miles Easy 

THURSDAY

10

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

10

Tempo Run: 2 mile warm-up, 30 minute progression run @7:10 --> 6:40/6:30, 2 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

10

REST

SUNDAY

10

10 Miles Long Run

WEEK 10: 

  • 33-34 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Run, 1 Interval Run, 1 Tempo Run and 1 Long Run

Week Ten Comments:

We are adding another day of easy running to your week, which will have your total weekly volume go up. We are backing off the total volume a little bit with this interval session, but that means it can be on the faster end of your time range if you feel good.

The tempo run goes up to 30 minutes, this is a bit of a key session, as it will be a key to getting your endurance up to hold the hot 5k pace. Try to let it be a natural progression, but do not worry if it’s not exactly as prescribed at the end because a lot can happen over 30 minutes of solid work.

As always, take your recovery days seriously to get the maximum effect out of the workouts. 


WEEK 11

MONDAY

11

3 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

11

Hill Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 10x :30 hill sprints, 5x :60 hill sprints with jog downhill as rest, 1 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

11

3 Miles Easy or Rest

THURSDAY

11

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

11

Fartlek Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 10x 1:00 run fast/(1:00 run jog), 1 mile cool-down

SATURDAY

11

REST

SUNDAY

11

8 Miles Long Run

WEEK 11: 

  • 27-30 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Run, 1 Hill Repeats Workout, 1 Fartlek and 1 Long Run

Week Eleven Comments:

We are getting closer to race time, so we are backing off of the total weekly volume slightly so you can focus on the workouts and take your recovery seriously.

Start getting a little excited about your race, but also stay very calm and don’t change up your routine at all in these last two weeks, as your body likes to keep a rhythm of stress and adaptation to come out at its best. 

You have done some great work, so don’t overthink your fitness, just keep showing up and then recovering well afterward and the rest will take care of itself.


WEEK 12

MONDAY

12

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

TUESDAY

12

Interval Workout: 2 mile warm-up, 8x200 meters (1/8 mile) @45-40 seconds) with 200 meter jog rest between reps, 2 mile cool-down

WEDNESDAY

12

REST

THURSDAY

12

4 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

FRIDAY

12

REST or 3 MILES EASY

FRIDAY

12

2 MILES EASY

SATURDAY

12

3 Miles Easy + 4 strides (10-15 seconds fast)

SUNDAY

12

5K RACE DAY

1-2 mile warm-up, 2-4 strides, race well! Goal pace is 6:05/mile pace.

WEEK 12: 

  • 20-25 Total Miles
  • 3-4 Easy Run, 1 Interval Run, and 5K Race Day!

Week Twelve Comments:

It’s race week! All the training and preparing comes down to Sunday.

During the week, don't push yourself too hard on the interval day, but it is designed to get your legs popping and ready to roll for a race. Instead of standing or walking for rest, just jog another 200 meters as your rest and roll right into the next interval. It will keep your body in a rhythm and your legs will be good to go on race day.

However, do not worry about feeling “fresh” on race day, as your body is prepared to perform well no matter how you feel. 

On Race Day, stick to your normal pre-race routine and don't let the adrenaline of the race get you out of your comfort zone especially at the beginning of the race.

Try to get to your goal race pace within the first mile of the race. If you can do that and hold it, you have a really good chance of reaching your goal. 

Once you get to the last 1/2 mile or 1/4 mile, run very hard to the finish line. That time will be made up for the time it took you to get to your race pace.


Got a question about the training plan? Send me an email and I will respond as quick as possible = trainfora5k@gmail.com.