If you’re reading this, you have taken your first step to become fitter and live a healthier lifestyle. Running is a great habit and it has many positives – not just for physical but for mental health as well. If you haven’t already, do check out my post on “20 Tips for Beginners to get started with running” which talks about how to work on both internal and external motivation to keep you regular with the habit. In this post, I will take you through a step-wise progressive training plan for 5k run for beginners .
But before we get into it, here are some pre-requisites before you start the 5k training plan –
#1 Get a comfortable pair of running shoes
Comfortable pair of shoes is very important for developing a running habit. Think of it as an investment and get a pair of shoes that are not only comfortable but will last you at least 3-4 years. Do your research and do not cheap out on them. I prefer Nike, Asics and Adidas as they produce the latest in running technology and longevity is not an issue at all.
#2 Buy proper running clothes
I personally prefer running with Shorts and tees that can absorb sweat and let my skin breathe. Running with a cotton T-shirt can be a problem for longer runs as the sweat can weigh you down and make it difficult.
#3 Wear a watch when you go for run
In the initial weeks of training, we will be using time as a measure for how much you need to run or walk. Hence it is important that you wear a watch.
#4 Download an app that tracks your run
Along with time, we also need to measure how much distance you are able to cover through your runs. For this, you can either use a sports watch or download an app on your phone (the one you carry on your runs) that tracks your location through GPS. I have personally used Adidas running on my Android phone and works quite well.
#5 Make your running playlist
Music is very important to keep you energized during the run. Create your own running playlist with a mix of slow and fast tempo songs in the ratio of 20:80.
Check out my post “20 Tips for Beginners to get started with running” for more tips on how to choose your playlist and how to use your music during a run.
#6 Choose a running route
For this 6-week regiment, choose a running route that is at-least 2km in length. If the route is too short, you will find it hard to make those runs last longer during Week 4 & 5. I understand that this might be hard for some people, so if you’re stuck with a shorter route, it is absolutely fine. DO NOT run a treadmill.
It is crucial to keep yourself hydrated during the run. Always carry a bottle of water with you. If you find it uncomfortable to run with a water bottle in your hand, you can do the following –
- Place the bottle outside your house. Whenever you need to drink, swing by the house and take a water break. Of course, your house in this case should be on your running route
- Purchase a running belt which has holders to keep a water bottle
My personal preference is to carry the water bottle in my hand as it allows me to keep sipping the water whenever I need to without taking any breaks.
Warming up and cooling down is essential to any exercise you do. Make sure you DO NOT skip as that will lead to soreness in your body and you will NOT be able to stick to the regiment being prescribed.
Leaving some links here from YouTube to help with your warm-up and cool-down routines.
#9 Protein Intake
Make sure you have some protein powder at home. After your run and cool-down, have some protein powder with water. This is necessary to strengthen your muscles and make a quick recovery after the run. I prefer having Plix Plant Protein as it facilitates easy muscle recovery compared to Whey protein.
Now that you’re ready, here’s your training plan for your first 5k run –
How to read the calendar
- Starting really slowly, week 1 will be just to get your body accustomed to being outside. The week will train your body to slowly gain strength and also train your body to run as per the time allocated.
- If we work out the math, 1min of running with an average speed of 8km/h means 125m of running. Hence if we start on Monday, by Friday we should be completing 1km of running with 1 min interval between each 125m.
- We end the week with a 10-minute non-stop slow jog at your own pace. Ideally, you should target to complete at least 1km during the jog.
- As with Week 1, we continue to build strength in our legs and build our stamina but running for 2 mins (approx. 250m).
- By Saturday, we should be reaching 2km with 1 min intervals every 2 mins of running.
- We end the week (similar to Week 1) with a 20-minute non-stop slow jog with a target of completing 2km. During this, feel free to walk in between if you need to but not for more than 10-15 seconds.
- By Week 3, your body should be used to running for longer times and be in much better shape than what it was at the start of this regiment.
- By Saturday, you should be able to run 750m straight without stopping and complete 4.5km with 1 min intervals every 6 minutes.
- We end the week with a 30-minute non-stop slow jog with a target of completing 3.5km. Feel free to walk whenever you need to during this run.
- Week 4 is where we really challenge ourselves. We will be no longer be tracking minutes of running but go to tracking distance. As we are really challenging ourselves this week, I have kept 4 days of rest and only 3 days of exercise this week.
- By the end of the week, your targets should be –
- To be able to run 2km without stopping
- Complete 5km of running (but with intervals) on Sunday
- By week 4, your body is used to running a longer distance but your overall speed will be slow. To challenge yourself further and to shake things up, we will be doing sprints this week.
- On Tuesday, we do 500m sprints with 2 minutes rest in between each sprint. When you sprint, try and run as fast as you can to do the 500m without stopping. This exercise will make your body used to higher speeds and strengthen your legs.
- We resume back with normal running on Thursday and keep on increasing distance. You might notice a bit of fatigue this day as you had sprints 2 days back but try to power through it.
- On Friday you have the option to take rest or to do some cross-training – either at home (through YouTube) or at the gym.
- On Sunday, we do our long run with 3km on the first run and 2km on the second one with a 1-minute walk in between.
- Going into the final week of the regiment, we have sprints again on Tuesday with total distance reaching 4km. We keep on increasing distance on Thursday and cross-train on Friday.
- Finally, the day arrives on Sunday when you should be ready to do your first 5km run NON-STOP.
Do try out the 6 week training plan for 5k run for beginners and let me know how it works out for you in the comments below!
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23 thoughts on “How to go from Zero to your first 5km run in 6 weeks?”
Nice tips! It’s also very important that people be sure they are healthy enough to start a program like this. Some extremely sedentary people may not be.
Fantastic post. I’ve read other posts about how this can be done but I love your approach ❤️ thanks for sharing this.
Good Tips for beginners..also advise what to eat pre and post run including warmup and cool down exercises
This makes me so motivated to run now! Great post:)
Such a good little beginners routine! Listening to the right thing is so important for me, if I put anything too upbeat on I end up running to quick and getting out of breath fab post
Nicola | nicoladaletraining.com
This is a great post! I followed a similar routine a few years back and got from zero to 5km. Unfortunately, I neglected running lately and I should really start again.
Thanks for the reminder!
Love these tips! I’ve been wanting to start running again! Will have to give this a try! Thank you
great post thanks for sharing
Great build up plan!!
Sounds like a great workout plan – I might give it a shot if the weather holds up
I’ve been running for a long time now and actually just started a marathon training plan but way back when I first started I tried a plan like this. I got bored of walk/ run because it felt too easy so decided to start running a mile every single day, then started running for however long a mile used to take me and started building up distance. Every day. I got runner’s knee after about 3/4 weeks. If any newbies happen to see this, don’t overtrain too soon. Even if it feels easy or boring x
Love this! I used to run years and years ago and have wanted to start up again! Going to give your calendar a try.
this is an awesome post.
although I am not planning to run 5 km, I found some valuable tips for getting started with running daily.
thanks for sharing.
Good reminder to be active.
C25K is how I finally got into running and it’s been five years. I haven’t looked back 🙂
Great post! All of your tips are really helpful, and I now feel inspired to get back into a running routine after a lengthy break.. Thanks for sharing!
Good info to get you going!
A good action plan!
Nice post! I have a similar training plan when i trained for a 10k run – was fun but i’ve lost my interest in running and found other sports more fun these days 🙂
This might be something I actually will try. I loathe running but I think a calendar like this will make it more appealing than just trying to force myself to run X amount of minutes haha. I like the gradual increase. Great tips!