You are here

Beginner 5K Training Schedule: Go from the Couch to the Finish Line!

Getty Images

Even if you haven't been working out, this 5K training schedule will let you claim finish line bragging rights in just 8 weeks. You only need to train three days a week, and when you train, you use a combination of walking and running.

Success is yours if you follow the training schedule and use these principles:

1. Your mission each day is to cover the distance—don't run hard.
2. Run so slowly that you are not huffing and puffing—even at the end of your workout.
3. Walkers: Every 3 to 5 minutes, on your long walks, shorten your stride to "baby steps" for 30 seconds. This takes pressure off your legs, feet and joints.
4. Recruit someone to join you (send this plan to a friend!). Having an exercise partner improves motivation.

How much should you walk or run?
Use this chart to figure out how many of your workout minutes you should spend running and how many you should be walking. First, figure out how fast you walk or run a mile, then look below and find out what ratio of walking to running you should be doing.

If you run/walk...
You should fill your workout time by...

9 minutes per mile
Run 55 seconds, Walk 5 seconds

10 minutes per mile
Run 50 secconds, Walk 10 seconds

11 minutes per mile
Run 45 seconds, Walk 15 seconds

12 minutes per mile
Run 40 seconds, Walk 20 seconds

13 minutes per mile
Run 35 seconds, Walk 25 seconds

14 minutes per mile
Run 30 seconds, Walk 30 seconds

15 minutes per mile
Run 25 seconds, Walk 35 seconds

16 minutes per mile
Run 20 seconds, Walk 40 seconds

17 minutes per mile
Run 15 seconds, Walk 45 seconds

18 minutes per mile
Run 10 seconds, Walk 50 seconds

Jeff Galloway is a U.S. Olympic runner and the author of numerous books on running, including North America's best selling running book, Galloway's Book on Running.

You can find Galloway marathon programs in 85+ cities; find out more at

Download the Beginner 5K Training Plan here


Add a comment