If you are new to running or are a veteran looking to improve your speed over longer distances, a 5K race is an excellent place to start. Training for a 5K offers beginner and seasoned runners the opportunity to gain strength and fitness, which over time can improve race performances. While it may be tempting to wing it when it comes to a 5K, especially if this distance is one you can easily cover, a training plan will help you get to where you want to be in a smarter, healthier, and more sustainable way.
With so much running information and misinformation floating around, finding a training plan can often feel like an overwhelming process. We get it, and that’s why we are here to help you! Let us worry about the training plan details so you can spend your energy on training.
Benefits of Using a Training Plan for a 5K Race
Following a training plan has multiple benefits. First, it takes the guesswork out of what you are running for the week because your workouts are given to you ahead of time. You know how long the run is and the target pace of each run, which makes it easier to schedule running around your life instead of your life around running.
Every day has a purpose, from rest days that help you recover to interval runs that help you improve your speed and build endurance. Logically runners know that it’s important to take time to recover between workouts to let your muscles rest and your body adapt to the training stimulus. But rest days can be hard for many as they often induce the guilt of, I should go run today. Scheduled rest days in a training plan remove that guilt and allow you to reframe those days as part of the plan.
Second, following a plan can create a sense of accountability, as you check off your weekly runs. Consistency is a struggle that many newer runners encounter when training for a race. A training plan can help you create a consistent habit by helping you stay on track.
Lastly, a training plan can help you get to where you want to go faster, figuratively and literally. Say you wanted to visit a new restaurant, you wouldn’t just hop in the car and drive around till you found it. Depending on your priorities, you would map out a route to get there in the least amount of time, to find the most scenic route, combine errands, etc. Think of a training plan like a map, you wouldn’t leave home without one, so don’t run without one. Depending on your running history, the time needed to ramp up to a 5K may differ. In general, allowing anywhere from four to eight weeks to train is a good guideline.
The Runkeeper app offers several features to help you prepare for your upcoming race, including:
Race Training Plans in the Runkeeper app
If you want a more personalized approach to training, upgrade to a Runkeeper Go™ subscription. The premium version of the Runkeeper app offers race-training plans for distances ranging from 5K to a marathon. Each training plan is unique to you and developed by the ASICS Institute of Sport Science using an algorithm built from the training results of thousands of runners. Your specific goal time, race distance, and race date are combined to design a personal training schedule that will help you reach your goals.
Guided Audio Training Plans
If you are the type of runner who likes to have a coach by your side check out our Guided Workouts Training plans. There are two comprehensive 5K training plans, My First 5K and My Fastest 5K, that are six weeks long and contain 18 guided runs. It’s like having your coach in your ear on every run without the cost of individual coaching. While the plans can help you get 5K ready in six weeks, we suggest you take them at your own pace and move on to the next week when you feel ready. Our users often repeat workouts because they love Coach Erin and Coach Corinne’s energy and encouragement.
Strength Train in the ASICS Studio™ App
In addition to running, strength training workouts (also known as cross-training) should also be incorporated into your race training. These workouts train muscle groups—like your quads, glutes, and core—that are key to running, allowing you to train more efficiently, prevent injuries, and improve overall performance. The ASICS Studio™ app (built by the same people behind your beloved Runkeeper app) offers over 300 classes in strength training, cardio, and more to meet all of your cross-training needs. You can still log these workouts in the Runkeeper app to keep all your data in one place. See how to add workouts manually for easy tracking.
Whatever plan you choose to follow for your 5K, with persistent dedication you’ll be able to achieve your goals for the race and maybe even impress yourself with a new PR!