5 km beginner running guide
Get ready to smash your personal best. This training guide will get you running 5 km in 8 weeks, one step at a time.
If you’re aiming to complete your first 5 km run, then this is the training program for you.
While everyone is an individual and your base level of fitness may vary, this program should build the stamina and endurance to hit the finish line feeling strong.
This 8-week training guide is just that, a guide, so feel free to be a little flexible with it to make it work for you.
The first run of the program is 2 km – if that feels too far initially, just head out and start running at a very comfortable, relaxed pace and see how far you go. Use that as your base distance to build from.
Remember this is an 8-week guide and you don’t need to go too hard, too soon – that is what demotivates people or causes injury. Build your way into it.
Training days explained
Rest: Rest days are almost as important as training days and provide an opportunity for you to recover and your muscles to build in strength. Improvement depends on adequate recovery and rest periods.
Run: Appearing simple enough, those new to running may find this term tricky to define. How fast should I run? Do I speed up the longer I run? The trick is not to worry about speed, take one step, then the next and you are running. General advice suggests running at a pace that allows you to comfortably hold a conversation – tricky to measure if running solo. Find a pace that allows you to finish the distance of the session, or as close to it as you can.
Walk/run: A combination of running and walking, ideal for those in-between days when you want to keep up your running in a less challenging session. Run until you begin to feel fatigued and then walk until recovered. Run. Walk. Run. Walk.
Cross-training: Cross-training adds diversity to your sessions, be it biking, swimming or walking. You can maintain activity, without tiring yourself for the next day's running workout.
Walk: Brisk-walking is often overlooked. This guide suggests you go for an hour-long walk on the day after your longest run. Don't worry about how fast you walk, or how much distance you cover. Enjoy yourself - not all training has to feel difficult. If a 60-minute walk seems too much at first, begin with about 30 minutes and build each week until you reach 60 minutes.