Top Ten 5k Plan Reviews: From Beginner to Faster Times

Rate this post

Running is one of the easiest options for a cardio workout. All you need is a pair of running shoes. You can literally run anywhere and everywhere and with the proper training you can keep running for a good part of your life and many organizations use runs/walks to raise money for different organizations and causes. The 5k or 3.1 miles is the most popular distance and is an obtainable goal for anyone. Below are different plans for any one who wants to run a 5k.

1. The Couch to 5k Running Plan:

The couch to 5k running plan has been around for a while. It is a 3 day a week work out plan. It is great for anyone who is brand new to running because it provides a lot of flexibility, starts out slow and leaves a lot of room for self-assessment and improvement. However it will also require a lot of discipline as it is a 9 -week training plan and does not include any sort of stretching. What is cool about this plan is that is has an app available for purchase to track your workouts and connect with other people.

2. Shape’s Beginners guide to running a 5K:

This plan is also a great guide for beginners. It is a 5-day work out plan with two full rest days and built in strength and stretching days. This plan is more regimented than others but boasts to have you 5k ready in just 6 weeks. This plan also has a little bit of speed training, which can help on race day when you get near the finish line. The plan is offered as a printable version for free at

3. Mayo Clinic 7 week training schedule:

This plan is a 7-week training guide that has one rest day with an optional second. It is an easy schedule that has you doing the same thing each day of the week. There is no strength or stretching included. What I like about this plan is that it builds in a timing mechanism that helps you find your ideal race pace and also has you training for longer than 3 miles (with walking) that will have you well prepared for race day. This plan is available to print here:

4. Runner’s World Beginner 5k plan:

Runner’s World has a variety of plans available for purchase on their website or app. This gives you access to their online community and they send you an email with your schedule each week. This plan is really great for people who need to be held accountable. The plan is an 8-week course that varies between mileage, stretching and strength training. There is also a built in rest day. Runner’s World offers many plans and can help you find the right one.

5. Jenny Hadfield 5k Beginner Plan:

Jenny Hadfield’s website offers plans for all types of runners. The beginner plan includes everything to prepare you for a race and keep you running long after. Mixing it up with different distances, cross training and rest days this plan will keep you free of any injuries while still working out the rest of your body. The plan that you can print online comes with other information and even options for walkers or people who want to run/walk. There really is a plan for everyone. The only downside to this plan was that it is a ten week plan.

6. Hal Higdon Novice Training Program:

Hal’s Plan is an 8 week training plan that is available online and/or in books. The plan has 3 built in rest days and emphasizes the importance of a rest day. This plan also offers other plan options for walkers. Hal’s plan also emphasizes getting the distance done on a given training day, regardless of how long it takes you. It also switches it up by doing a timed run/walk. The website also offers interactive programs which is great for accountability.

7. Cool Running Intermediate 5k Running Plan:

This plan focuses on running longer distances, mostly 4-5 mile runs with one off day and offers no cross training. It is also a 12 week plan. The plan is offered in both miles and kilometers and is strictly running.

8. Runners World 5k training plan:

This plan is available for purchase online or at the app store for your phone. This plan is 8 weeks long and focuses on running longer distances for most days but at an easy pace. It has built in rest days as well as track work outs and speed training.

9. Very Well – Run Your Fastest 5k Intermediate Training Plan:

This plan is for anyone who has experience running a 5k and would like to improve their time. This 8 week plan was designed to improve your time. It was cross training days to keep your body working other muscles as well as rest days to give your muscles time to heal. It focuses on interval workouts and temp runs with just one day set aside for a longer run. The plan is available online.

10. Shape’s 4 weeks to Your Fastest 5k:

USA’s Track and Field Coach, Andrew Kastor, developed this plan to help you get your fastest 5k time. It is a 4 week schedule designed for runners that have had a few 5k runs under their belt. The plan mixes it up with long run days, speed training days, easy run days, cross training and rest days. It does a great job of keeping your whole body healthy before, during and after race day. It is available online.

While most of these plans require rest days it is important to note that running is hard on the body and injuries can occur. You should always listen to your body and don’t run with injuries.

Amanda Strube

Amanda Strube