Whether you are new to running or looking to improve your speed endurance, a 5K race is the perfect way to start. Training for a 5K offers both beginner and seasoned runners the opportunity to get stronger and more fit, ultimately improving their performance.

Whether this is your first 5K or your hundredth, you’ll likely experience some pre-race jitters and anticipation in the weeks leading up to the race. While beginners might strive just to reach the finish line, more experienced runners may be looking PR. Whatever your goal, allowing ample time to prepare and follow a scheduled training plan are the best ways to assure you perform your best.

Two of the biggest reasons runners use a training plan are for accountability and scheduling. Following a plan takes the guesswork out of training since your workouts are given to you ahead of time on a weekly basis. You are told exactly what length runs to do, and when and how to best prepare for them. By following a set schedule, each of your workouts (and rest days!) take on a purpose, like helping you build endurance, improving your pace, and getting faster.

In addition to running workouts, strength workouts should also be incorporated into your race training. Strength 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.   

It’s also important to take time to recover between workouts. By letting your muscles rest, you are allowing your body to get stronger, which will in turn enable you to push harder (and go farther) next week.

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. ASICS fitness apps offer several features to help you prepare for your upcoming race, including:

Pace Academy

Learn to improve your pace through a series of interval workouts complemented by audio cues. By introducing intervals to your training, you improve not only your speed but also your strength and endurance. The combination of high-intensity bursts with mild activity and recovery periods allows for improved cardiovascular fitness. This is an ideal (and free!) option if you are looking to improve your speed that you can find in the ASICS Runkeeper™ app.

Runkeeper Training Plans 

If you are looking for a more personalized approach to training, the premium version of the Runkeeper app, Runkeeper Go™, offers race-training plans for distances ranging from 5K to a full marathon. Each plan is unique 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 taken into consideration to design a personal training schedule that will help you stay healthy and reach your goals. These plans are available with a Runkeeper Go subscription ($9.99 per month and $39.99 per year).

ASICS Studio™ Training Programs

Treadmill running more your speed? The ASICS Studio app offers a 4 Weeks to 5K training program developed by Coach Kelli Fierras, a USATF Level 1 Certified running coach. This program guides you through four weeks’ worth of running and strength-training workouts designed to get you ready to reach your 5K goal.

If you’re looking for a less formal way to train, ASICS Studio offers over 300 classes in strength training, cardio, and more to meet all of your cross-training needs. (Download ASICS Studio today to get a free 30-day trial.)

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!

Let us know, what are your favorite ways to train for an upcoming race?