Home Fitness 4 Week 5K Training Plan: From Beginner To Expert In 28 Days

4 Week 5K Training Plan: From Beginner To Expert In 28 Days

by Lois R. Earles
1070 views

Running a 5K marathon without collapsing is proof you have the base fitness level needed to live a long and healthy life. It might overwhelm you at first, especially if you haven’t been hitting the gym or getting any exercise, but you’ll be surprised what a few weeks of discipline and exertion can accomplish. This 4 Week 5k training plan should help you tune your body and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the marathon.

Get Started With a 5K Training Schedule

Consider running at least half a mile comfortably to be the prerequisite fitness requirement for this training plan. If you cannot already do this, you’ll need to get involved in activities for at least a couple of weeks before you begin this schedule.

Although this training plan has been created assuming you’re an absolute beginner, you should increase your activity level before you begin. It’s not that intensive, but you don’t want to risk overworking muscles that have been dormant for a long time by starting big.

What Will Your Training Routine Comprise of?

This guide doesn’t require you to run every day. And so, you can make a running schedule as per your convenience. You’ll start with short brisk walks interspersed with a few minutes of intense running. The duration of each sprint will increase over time. In addition to giving you an aerobic base, this routine will also include other exercises such as stretching, yoga, weight lifting, etc. These are essential for you to build endurance.

Fun fact: According to the American College of Cardiology, you’ll reverse heart aging by four years after just a six-month marathon training schedule!

It isn’t recommended to run two days consecutively. Instead, substitute your off days with various forms of cross-training with activities like biking, swimming, yoga, and other fun sports—you have creative liberty here.

Make sure to add weight-lifting sessions at the gym or home with free weights two to three times a week. As a runner, this will help you by increasing your speed and endurance, thereby mitigating the risk of injury.

Still need convincing? Running is a natural anti-depressant!

How Fast Should I Go?

The answer to that hinges on your current level of fitness. There’s no ideal pace since the training is for a marathon, not a race where you sprint. What your training needs to focus on is building stamina.

You need to run at a pace that gets your heart pumping but not so much that you feel winded in just a minute or two. If you’re a beginner, start at a moderate pace, which is right above jogging. While you’re running, you should be able to talk instead of gasping for air. Whatever pace gets you to this point is an ideal pace for you.

While running, if you feel exhausted, slow down a little or switch to walking briskly for a while. This should help you recuperate. If you prefer training on a treadmill, start at 4.0 mph and slowly increase from there as you get more comfortable.

Is It Normal to Feel Pain During a Run?

Yes, especially since you’ve only just begun to run regularly. It shouldn’t be worrisome unless you are running with a limp or alter your stride. That could mean that you’re injured. If this happens, please stop running for a few days. If the pain gets any worse, visit a physician or doctor.

When you’re running, if the discomfort starts to grow beyond what’s bearable, don’t push yourself. Take a break, hydrate yourself, and rest for a while. Take running one step at a time. There’s no reason to make 5K on the very first day. The whole point of training is to work your way up.

Do I Need to Buy a Special Pair of Shoes?

If you don’t have a pair of running shoes, consider investing in one. But no matter what, don’t go for a run in the wrong pair of shoes and definitely not in slippers. This could result in serious injuries such as an ankle sprain. Or you might trip and fall. Do not buy running shoes that are loose in fit either. Your feet should feel like they’re being pushed in from all sides.

4 Week 5K Training Schedule

Week 1

Day 1: Warm up a little by taking a brisk walk. Then run for eight minutes. Slow your pace to walking speed. Repeat this twice.

Day 2: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 3: This time, run for ten minutes before switching to walking for three minutes. Repeat this twice.

Day 4: Consider this your rest day. Don’t exert yourself too much. If you must exercise, go for a short walk.

Day 5: Run for twelve minutes before switching to walking for three. Repeat this twice.

Day 6: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 7: This is your second rest day of the week. As before, you can take a short walk if you want.

Week 2

Day 1: Warm up a little by taking a brisk walk. Begin by running for fourteen minutes, then switch to a fast-walking pace for a minute. Repeat this twice.

Day 2: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 3: You should be able to run for sixteen minutes before needing a break. Walk for a minute or two to recuperate instead of stopping. Repeat this twice.

Day 4: Consider this your rest day. Don’t exert yourself too much. If you must exercise, go for a short walk.

Day 5: Run for eighteen minutes and walk for seven minutes. Repeat this twice.

Day 6: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 7: This is your second rest day of the week. As before, you can take a short walk if you want.

As you may have noticed, the duration has increased by two minutes of additional running for each day in this schedule. If you’re responding well to the program, you can always run longer. But remember to stay within your abilities. It will take time for the stamina to build, so be patient.

Week 3

Day 1: Warm up a little by taking a brisk walk and then run for twenty minutes. Take a break and run for another six minutes.

Day 2: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 3: This time, run for twenty-three minutes. See if your stamina has built enough for you not to be winded for this length of time. If you have some energy left, walk for a while. Don’t push beyond this.

Day 4: Consider this your rest day. Don’t exert yourself too much. If you must exercise, go for a short walk.

Day 5: Run for twenty-five minutes flat. If you have some energy left, walk for a while, and then end your training day.

Day 6: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 7: This is your second rest day of the week. As before, you can take a short walk if you want.

Week 4

Day 1: Run for twenty-eight minutes and measure how far you’ve traveled. It will be easier to calculate if you have a Fitbit or app on your phone.

Day 2: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 3: This is your final test as far as running goes. See if you can keep running for up to thirty minutes straight. Remember, a marathon is about keeping pace, not sprinting. Just run at a comfortable speed.

Day 4: Consider this your rest day. Don’t exert yourself too much. If you must exercise, go for a short walk.

Day 5: If you didn’t manage thirty minutes earlier this week, here’s your chance to try again.

Day 6: Weight-lifting/Cross-training

Day 7: This is your second rest day of the week. Use this rest day to prepare for your 5K marathon tomorrow. You’re ready!

Things to Remember

If you’ve followed this schedule religiously, congratulations, you should be proud of yourself. Now that the marathon date is approaching, here are a few things to keep in mind:

#1. Keep to Your Routine

Be prepared with all the gear you’ll need, from shoes to the right article of clothing and a handkerchief or towel. Do not use any new gear; the golden rule is nothing new on race day. Only use the clothes and accessories you’ve already tested and are comfortable with so the marathon can go smoothly.

#2. Do Not Overindulge on the Last Meal Before the Marathon

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should run on an empty stomach. That’s not ideal either. But do not gorge the night before. You’re going to feel it the next morning. It will make you very uncomfortable, and there’s no worse time to feel sick than during a marathon.

Eat something healthy like a banana or toast for breakfast before the marathon to give you some energy.

#3. Warm-Up Before the Race

Sprawl out and stretch a little, do some jumping jacks or take a short jog, any exercises at all to get the blood flowing. It’s a good idea to slowly raise your heart rate and warm your muscles before the marathon.

The Bottom Line

Did you know that there are over 2.5 million marathons held across the US every year? A 5K marathon involves running continuously for 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), and that’s one of the short ones. If you’ve never been keen on running or been on a hiatus from running, use this 4 week 5k training plan as your guide.

Plan your training such that you begin at least a month before the day of the race, especially if you want a fighting chance of coming first. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your marathon.

You may also like