Masters 5K Training Plan 6 Week Plan [with PDF]

This masters 5K training plan is designed for masters division runners who are looking to prepare to race a 5k in 6 weeks.

It's a run/walk/cross-training program designed for masters 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 6-week training plan that offers low-intensity fartleks, easy runs, and longer runs to help you build stamina safely. This training plan was developed to help you race a 5K with only 6 weeks of preparation time while keeping the risk of injury low. 

There will be low impact cross-training recommendations to supplement harder ground contact training. If you have access to a bike (road or stationary), or pool, then please feel free to get any training minutes with those modalities when you feel the need.

Note: You will have 3 rest/off days each week. 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.

Masters 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.

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.

Masters 5K TRAINING PLAN WEEK BY WEEK

WEEK 1

MONDAY

01

EASY WALK/RUN: 10x 1 MINUTE RUN 1 MINUTE WALK

TUESDAY

01

WALK/SWIM/BIKE:

30 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

01

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

01

EASY WALK/RUN: 8x 2 MINUTES RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

FRIDAY

01

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

01

EASY RUN: 10 MINUTE WALK, THEN 10 MINUTE JOG

SUNDAY

01

REST/OFF

WEEK 1:

  • 100 Minutes - Total Time
  • 3 Walk/Run Fartleks and 1 Cross Training Day

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 walk/run workout days seriously this week to better understand how your body will feel through these sessions (they will make up the bulk of your volume during this plan).

Be specifically careful not to overdo it on the cross-training day, as this is used as a low-intensity/low-impact recovery modality.

Be sure to REST on the rest days, which means do not even go out for a strolling jog. If you feel the itch to move, then use cross-training or bike riding as a substitute, just make sure it is a low-impact exercise.


WEEK 2

MONDAY

02

EASY WALK/RUN: 12x 1 MINUTE RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

TUESDAY

02

WALK/SWIM/BIKE:

30 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

02

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

02

EASY WALK/RUN : 8x 2 MINUTES RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

FRIDAY

02

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

02

EASY RUN: 10 MINUTES WALK, THEN 15 MINUTES JOG

SUNDAY

02

REST/OFF

WEEK 2:

  • 109 Minutes - Total Time
  • 2 Walk/Run Fartleks, 1 Continuous Run, and 1 Cross Training Day

Week Two Comments:

The focus this week will be to build upon your solid start last week with subtle increases in your training minutes, but keeping the general intensity similar.

Approach this week as you did with week one, treat most of your runs as easy days to let your body adapt. The longer continuous run will have a walking warm-up before you start your run.

This method will serve as our long run for this training block, as it will allow you to train for more time continuously running.

Try to go into this weekly long run with the workout mindset, don’t be afraid to run for that amount of time continuously. You will gain plenty of fitness over the next couple of weeks as you move forward.


WEEK 3

MONDAY

03

EASY WALK/RUN: 15x 1 MINUTE RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

TUESDAY

03

WALK/SWIM/BIKE:

40 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

03

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

03

EASY WALK/RUN: 4x 3 MINUTES RUN/ 2 MINUTES WALK

FRIDAY

03

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

03

EASY RUN: 10 MINUTES WALK, THEN 20 MINUTES JOG

SUNDAY

03

REST/OFF

WEEK 3:

  • 120 Minutes - Total Time
  • 2 Walk/Run Fartleks, 1 Continuous Run, and 1 Cross Training Day

Week Three Comments:

This week we want to continue raising your weekly volume. There is less of an emphasis on quality, so for each of your runs focus on running easy and having fun.

This will increase your work capacity without increasing the risk of injury. If you do feel tired or rundown, then feel free to take an extra day off or replace a running workout with another low-impact cross-training session.


WEEK 4

MONDAY

04

FARTLEK RUN: 5 MINUTES WARM-UP WALK, 5 MINUTES WARM-UP JOG,

8x: 30 SECONDS RUN/ 1:30 MINUTES JOG

TUESDAY

04

REST OR WALK/SWIM/BIKE: 40 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

04

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

04

EASY WALK/RUN: 10x 1 MINUTE RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

FRIDAY

04

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

04

EASY RUN:

5 MINUTES WALK,

25 MINUTES JOG

SUNDAY

04

REST/OFF

WEEK 4:

  • 116 Minutes - Total Time
  • 1 Run/Jog Fartleks, 1 Easy Run, 1 Long Run, and 1 Cross Training Day

Week Four Comments:

If you are feeling healthy, but tired, then we are on the right track.

This week will lower the overall volume of running but will have a focus on the quality of your runs. The fartlek workout on Monday will be a good time to place your focus on getting that heart rate up just a little bit.

This will be one of your more demanding workouts of this training program, but we will give you time afterward to recover and let the adaptations sink in.

If you need to take the Tuesday cross-training day completely off to enhance your recovery please feel free to do so.

The next two running sessions should feel easy and fun later in the week, but if you feel too tired to run then replace it with another 40-minute cross-training session.


WEEK 5

MONDAY

05

FARTLEK RUN:

5 MINUTES WARM-UP WALK, 5 MINUTES WARM-UP JOG, 

10x: 30 SECOND RUN/ 1:30 MINUTES JOG

TUESDAY

05

WALK/SWIM/BIKE:

50 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

05

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

05

EASY WALK/RUN: 10x 1 MINUTE RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK

FRIDAY

05

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

05

EASY RUN:

10 MINUTES WALK,

20 MINUTES JOG

SUNDAY

05

REST/OFF

WEEK 5:

  • 130 Minutes - Total Time
  • 1 Run/Jog Fartleks, 1 Easy Run, 1 Long Run, and 1 Cross Training Day

Week Five Comments:

We are increasing your training volume one more time before tapering for race day. If you are feeling healthy and ready for a little bit more, then that is great.

However, we will be careful not to overdo it this week. No need to push too hard and end up feeling fatigued and torn down going into your race.

You will have another fartlek workout on Monday, which is the big session of the week.

Try to be focused going into this workout and visualize your race throughout this session (not just the good possibilities, but also the times it might be getting hard).

After this session, you will have plenty of time to rest and recover. Take the other runs easy and conversational. Try to have a friend come with you and keep things light-hearted so you can get your mind off of the training and on having fun.


WEEK 6

MONDAY

06

FARTLEK RUN:

5 MINUTES WARM-UP WALK, 5 MINUTES WARM-UP JOG, 

12x 30 SECONDS RUN/ 1:30 MINUTES JOG

TUESDAY

06

WALK/SWIM/BIKE:

50 MINUTES

WEDNESDAY

06

REST/OFF

THURSDAY

06

EASY WALK/RUN:

12x 1 MINUTE RUN/ 1 MINUTE WALK/JOG

FRIDAY

06

REST/OFF

SATURDAY

06

RACE DAY OR 15 MINUTES SHAKEOUT WALK/JOG

SUNDAY

06

RACE DAY!

WEEK 6:

  • 123 Minutes - Total Time
  • 1 Run/Jog Fartleks, 1 Easy Run, 1 Cross Training Day, and 5k RACE!

Week Six Comments:

It is race week! All your hard work has been leading up to this point in time. You are probably feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness, but it will all dissipate once the gun goes off.

Your training volume is being cut down just a little to help you better absorb all of your training. The key pre-race workout is on Monday, so enjoy that as your final preparation for race day, and then the rest of the week will include a cross-training day and an easy run.

We want to keep you in a similar weekly rhythm and routine but are going to be careful not to overdo it so close to performance time. Keep the cross-training and easy run sessions fun and conversational, there is no need to press at this point.

In the words of all the old school coaches out there, “the hay is in the barn”. You have prepared for this well and will be ready to go on the day that it counts.

Now that we have covered this week of training, let’s talk about your ideal race week mindset and preparation.

Very little should change in the week of the race. Approach every activity the same as you would on any other week. Save yourself the mental energy of worrying about the race all week, as it will only tire you out more.

Just live your normal life, and your body will know exactly what to do because you have been training for this. Although spicy food items are not recommended, do not change your diet either, whatever your body perceives as normal is what you should be feeding it.

For sleep, try to get plenty of it, but don’t stress out if you have a couple of restless nights (they are normal).

Furthermore, aside from your training sessions, try to remove yourself from the running environment as much as possible, as this will probably only make you more nervous about your performance. Other than these points, you should be ready to go!

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.

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. You are ready to go, so stay relaxed, smooth, and have fun letting it rip out there on the course!

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