5K Intermediate

If you have already done a 5km race and would like to improve your time, this is the training programme to use. It incorporates interval training and speed work to build up your speed and endurance, and calls on a commitment of running on 4 days a week over 2 months.

The aim of this programme is to ensure that 5kms (3 miles) is an easy distance for you to run, and enable you to improve your technique and speed over this short distance, whilst maintaining and cultivating your strength and ability to run the longer distances.

The Programme

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Rest 2 miles easy run 30 mins interval run Rest 20 mins speed run Rest 3 miles steady run
Week 2 Rest 2 miles easy run 30 mins interval run Rest 20 mins speed run Rest 4 miles steady run
Week 3 Rest 2 miles easy run 40 mins interval run Rest 20 mins speed run Rest 4 miles steady run
Week 4 Rest 3 miles easy run 40 mins interval run Rest 30 mins speed run Rest 5 miles steady run
Week 5 Rest 3 miles easy run 40 min interval run Rest 30 mins speed run Rest 5 miles steady run
Week 6 Rest 3 miles easy run 40 mins interval run Rest 30 mins speed run Rest 5 miles steady run
Week 7 Rest 3 miles easy run 30mins interval run Rest 20 mins speed run Rest 5 miles steady run
Week 8 Rest 2 miles easy run 30 mins interval run Rest 2 miles easy run Rest RACE DAY!

Hints

Timing your runs and your mile speeds is an excellent way of monitoring your improvement, and a good motivation to improve. Don’t be afraid to set yourself challenges.

Use the speed sessions on a Friday to improve your aerobic fitness and strength, and to test your own effort and endurance levels. You want to train at about 70-75% effort normally (a run not a sprint!), but can put a little more effort in on the faster runs. This will help to ensure that you have enough in the tank to do an impressive sprint finish on the day of the race!

Conserve your energy in the final week, and use the final 2 mile run to gently warm and exercise the muscles in preparation for the race.

A few things to remember from the start:

  • Respect your Rest-Days as these are necessary to allow your body to recover and adapt.
  • Don’t be afraid to repeat a week if you are feel unprepared for the next part, or to drop back a week if you find the next stage too demanding at first. Everyone is different and bodies adapt at different rates.
  • Wear proper running shoes (usually in about half a size larger than your normal footwear) as these will provide shock-absorption, support, protection, comfort and an efficient exchange of energy from the ground. Seek advice from a specialist running shop for shoe advice and information, and to find out if you “over-pronate” (see our separate section on this).

To maintain this new level of fitness, try to do at least three 30-40 minute runs every week.