4 Week 5K Training Plan w/PDF

This 5K training plan is designed for runners who are looking to prepare to race a 5k in 4 weeks. It's designed for runners who may be coming back from a training break and need a little extra structure and guidance to prepare for the fast-approaching race.

This is a 4-week training plan that offers interval training, hill repeats, fartleks, and easy runs to help you build stamina. This training plan was developed to help you race a 5K with only 4 weeks of preparation time.

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.

4 Week 5K Training Plan

5K 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” runs on the schedule above should be at a comfortable effort level. Don’t focus on how fast you are running, just make sure you get the time on your legs. 

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.

Think about trying to run about your 5k pace goal pace + 50 seconds or so. 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 run 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.

4 Week 5K Training Plan - WEEK BY WEEK

WEEK 1

MONDAY

01

EASY RUN:

3 MILES

TUESDAY

01

REST

WEDNESDAY

01

INTERVAL WORKOUT: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 6x200 METER (1/8 MILE) / (30-40 SECONDS OF RUNNING) FAST, 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

THURSDAY

01

REST

FRIDAY

01

EASY RUN:

3 MILES

SATURDAY

01

REST

SUNDAY

01

EASY RUN:

4 MILES

WEEK 1:

  • 14-15 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Days and 1 Interval Run

Week One Comments:

This week you will focus on setting a tone and building a small foundation for the weeks of training to come, keep it fun. Take the easy days seriously this week to ease into training.

Be specifically careful not to over-do it on the easy run on Sunday, as you will need to come back on Monday for your first back-to-back days of running.

As for your workout day, pay special attention to your warm-up and cool-down miles, as they 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, just make sure it is a low impact exercise.

The interval runs will train your body to run fast, this week you will have 200 meters or ⅛ of a mile (if you have a GPS watch the distance should be around .125, once you hit the specific distance STOP and walk a little 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, plus another minute. So if it took you one minute to run the 1/8 interval, you will rest for two minutes 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. Stay relaxed and focus on running smoothly.


WEEK 2

MONDAY

02

EASY RUN:

3 MILES

TUESDAY

02

REST

WEDNESDAY

02

HILL WORKOUT: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 6x 30 SECONDS HILL SPRINTS, 2x 60 SECONDS HILL RUN WITH JOG DOWNHILL AS REST, 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

THURSDAY

02

REST

FRIDAY

02

TEMPO RUN: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 15 MINUTES TEMPO RUN, 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

SATURDAY

02

REST

SUNDAY

02

EASY RUN:

4 MILES

WEEK 2:

  • 16-17 Total Miles
  • 2 Easy Days, 1 Hill Repeats Workout, and 1 Tempo Run

Week Two Comments:

Because we have so little time to prepare for race day, we will place the main focus on quality over quantity. Because of this higher intensity, make sure to focus on rest and recovery on your days off.

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 tempo run on Friday is going to get your legs and lungs used to cruising at a more steady (but not hard) pace. On Sundays, make sure to take it easy on your run, as the goal is to get the body moving while building some extra stamina.


WEEK 3

MONDAY

02

REST OR EASY RUN:

2 MILES

TUESDAY

02

FARTLEK WORKOUT: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 6x 1:00 RUN FAST (1:00 RUN JOG), 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

WEDNESDAY

02

REST

THURSDAY

02

EASY RUN: 3 MILES + 4 STRIDES (10-15 SECONDS FAST)

FRIDAY

02

INTERVAL WORKOUT: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 2-4 STRIDES, 6x200 METERS (1/8 MILE) / (30-40 SECONDS OF RUNNING) FAST, 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

SATURDAY

02

REST

SUNDAY

02

EAST RUN:

5 MILES

WEEK 3:

  • 18-19 Total Miles
  • 2-3 Easy Run, 1 Fartlek Workout, and 1 Interval Run

Week Three Comments:

This is our last big week of training before we come down a little bit to prepare for next week's race day.

The fartlek run on Tuesday is going to get your legs used to shifting between faster and slower paces, so try to run fast and smooth for the “on” portion, and then jog to recover on the “off” portion.

The interval run is the same as from week one, but try to feel smoother and faster throughout the workout than you did the first time. 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, plus another minute. 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.

You also have strides this week, both the day before your interval workout and as part of your warm up for the interval workout.

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.


WEEK 4

MONDAY

04

EASY RUN:

3 MILES

TUESDAY

04

REST

WEDNESDAY

04

EASY RUN:

2-3 MILES

THURSDAY

04

FARTLEK WORKOUT: 2 MILE WARM-UP, 6x 1:00 RUN FAST / (1:00 RUN JOG), 1 MILE COOL-DOWN

FRIDAY

04

REST

SATURDAY

04

EASY 2 MILES + 4 STRIDES

SUNDAY

04

5K RACE DAY!

1-2 MILE WARM-UP, 2-4 STRIDES, RACE SMART, HAVE FUN!

WEEK 4:

  • 16-18 Total Miles
  • 3 Easy Runs, 1 Fartlek Workout, and 5K Race Day!

Week Four Comments:

It’s race week baby! All the training and preparation comes down to this weekend. During the week, don't push yourself too hard on the fartlek workout, as it is there to keep your body in a rythme of running fast and smooth without trashing your legs.

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, focus on feeling smooth and fast to the finish line. That time will be made up for the time it took you to get to your race pace.

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Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.