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The ultimate advanced 5k training plan: Week by week plan + printable

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Running a 5k is a major milestone for many runners – whether you’re a beginner runner or have been running for several years.

The 5k continues to be one of the most popular running distances in the world, with over 8.9 million runners in the US completing a 5k event in 2019 alone.

So if you’re working towards your next PB for your 5k race, this advanced 5k training plan has got you covered!

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • How long is a 5k?
  • What is a good 5k time?
  • Are you ready to run an advanced 5k?
  • What’s included in the plan?
  • Advanced 5k training plan Q&A
  • 6 tips for running a 5k
  • Advanced 5k training plan: Week by week plan printable

Ready?

Let’s go!

advanced 5k training plan

How long is a 5k?

A 5k in miles is 3.1 miles.

Related: What is a good 5k time? Average 5k time by age and gender

What is a good 5k time?

A good 5k time will vary depending on your age, gender and running experience.

  • If you’re a beginner runner (i.e. you have started running and have been running for at least a month), the average 5k time is 32 to 40 minutes.
  • If you’re a novice runner (i.e. you have been running for at least 6 months), the average 5k time is 27 to 33 minutes.
  • If you’re an intermediate runner (i.e. you have been running for at least two years), the average 5k time is 23 to 29 minutes.
  • If you’re an advanced runner (i.e. you have been running for over five years), the average 5k time is 20 to 25 minutes.
  • If you’re an elite runner (i.e. you have been running competitively for over five years), the average 5k time is 18 to 22 minutes.

Related: How to run a 5k in under 20 minutes

advanced 5k training plan

Are you ready to run an advanced 5k?

This advanced 5k training plan is for you if:

  • You’ve got several years running experience and you’ve run 5k events as well as other race distances like the 10k and half marathon.
  • You want to run a fast 5k and seek maximum performance by running a 5k.
  • You are already running 4 to 5 days a week, 20 to 30 miles or more per week.

If you don’t feel you meet the above criteria, then an intermediate 5k training plan may be better for you.

Related: How to run a 5k in under 25 minutes

What’s included in the plan?

Each week of the plan includes the following runs and workouts:

  • 1-2 easy runs
  • 1 long run
  • 2 speed training sessions (e.g. interval training and tempo running)
  • 1 pace run/’fast’ run
  • 2 rest days

Here is a breakdown for each:

Easy run

An easy run is designed to be just that – easy!

You should run at a comfortable pace on an easy run. This means you should be able to hold a conversation on your run without getting out of breath.

Don’t worry about pace on your easy runs.

Long run

Once a week you will go for a long run during this plan.

You will be running between 65 to 90 minutes at a conversational pace on your long runs.

As with easy runs, don’t worry about pace – your pace shouldn’t challenge you.

Speed training

Speed training is a way to increase running speed and can take the form of many types of training, including strides, interval training, Fartlek training and tempo running.

This plan mainly focuses on interval training and tempo running, but you could switch these activities out for other speed training of your choice.

Tempo running

Tempo running, also known as threshold running, is a type of speed training that is designed to get you running outside of your comfort zone.

You will be running at a faster pace during these runs and therefore your body will get used to running at a faster pace.

Tempo runs are great for developing your anaerobic threshold. 

Interval training

Interval training is another type of speed training included in the plan.

As with tempo running, in order to improve your speed you need to be running at a faster pace during training.

The plan includes 400m intervals separated by a recovery walk or jog.

Just remember to warm up thoroughly before attempting intervals – don’t go straight into doing them as you are at a higher risk of injury. 

Pace run (PR)

A pace run – or ‘fast’ run – is a run at a fast pace.

Pace runs are designed to be challenging and push you out of your comfort zone.

You should feel out of breath during a pace run, and you shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation during a pace run.

You’ll notice that there is only one pace run included in the plan each week normally on a Saturday.

Rest days

Rest days are just as important as runs, so the plan won’t get you running every day of the week.

At most, you’ll be running 5 days a week.

Race test

At points in the plan you will be doing what is called a race test.

This is designed to test your fitness, normally half way through the plan, so you can understand how you’re doing and what you might need to calibrate to improve certain areas. 

Strength training

It’s up to you if you include strength training in your plan at this stage, but it is highly recommend for any runner looking to run faster and stronger for longer.

Aim to include strength training after your easy runs.

Check out my strength training guide for runners for more information on including strength training in your training routine.

Stretching and foam rolling

Whilst not included in the plan, stretching is crucial in the recovery process and helps to alleviate soreness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Make sure you find time to stretch, particularly after pace runs and long runs. You may also want to include foam rolling into your recovery routine. 

advanced 5k training plan

Advanced 5k training plan Q&A:

Q: How long does it take to run a 5k?

A: If you’re completing this plan, then you can expect to finish a 5k in between 20 and 25 minutes.

Of course, you may be able to run a 5k faster than this, but this is the average time for an advanced runner.

Q: How should I pace my 5k run?

A: A good race strategy boils down to effective pacing.

If you want to be able to run a 5k in under 25 minutes, then you will need to run at a pace of 8:03 minutes per mile / 5 minutes per km.

This may seem unachievable to you right now, but with the right training you will get there.

Q: How do I run a faster 5k?

A: The aim of this advanced 5k training plan is to get you running a faster 5k.

The plan includes activities like speed training.

As well as the weekly scheduled runs to get you running at a challenging pace during training as well as on race day.

Speed training is great for improving speed and making you a faster runner.

Q: What if I need to repeat a week or take an extra rest day?

A: If you need to repeat a week due to a busy schedule, or take an extra rest day, this is completely fine.

You can adapt the plan to fit into your lifestyle – the golden rule is to always be consistent.

Make sure you do the scheduled runs each week and take the allotted rest days.

Q: Can I use this plan when training for a longer distance like a half marathon or marathon?

A: Many runners use the 5k as a race test before going on to complete a half marathon or marathon to check how they’re doing in their training.

A half marathon training plan has been designed with that distance in mind.

It is recommended you stick with such a plan when training for a half marathon or longer distance, and not replace it with a 5k training plan.

advanced 5k training plan

6 tips for running a 5k

Now you know what’s included in an advanced 5k training plan, here are 6 tips for running a 5k:

#1 Remember to warm up

An advanced 5k training plan can be intense!

Remember to warm up before each run to help minimise the risk of injury and prevent muscle soreness.

A good warm up will consist of 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging.

Include some dynamic stretches and some running drills if you want to work on your running form.

#2 Fuel and hydrate

Nutrition should play an integral part of any training plan, no matter if you’re training for a 5k or marathon.

Aim to eat the right foods and stay hydrated as you will be losing a lot of liquids through sweat during your training plan.

Your two main fuel sources should be carbohydrates and protein.

#3 Take rest days seriously

The rest days in this plan are there for a reason to give your body adequate time to recover after each run.

If at any point you feel you need to take an extra rest day, then do it.

Listen to what your body is telling you and don’t be tempted to run through your rest days.

#4 Work on your running form

Proper running form is extremely important and it goes a long way to help you run more efficiently.

Running form looks at everything from your form and posture to your stride, cadence and arm swing.

#5 Wear the right running shoes

A decent pair of running shoes are a must for any runner.

The right pair of running shoes will help to cushion your feet and provide the necessary support on your run.

A good pair of running shoes will also help to prevent common running injuries like shin splints and IT band syndrome.

#6 Pace yourself

An advanced 5k training plan is for you if you’re an experienced runner and have run several events in the past.

You will still need to think about your pace and set realistic goals for yourself.

If you have a goal race time in mind, then break this down to understand what pace you should be running during training to achieve this.

It may be that you’re not quite there yet in terms of your desired pace, but with the right mindset and motivation you will get there!

Use a running pace calculator to work out how fast you should be running.

advanced 5k training plan

Advanced 5k training plan: Week by week plan

Week 1:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 4 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 30 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 4 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 60 minute long run

Week 2:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 4 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 30 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 4 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 65 minute long run

Week 3:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 5 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 35 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 5 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 70 minute long run

Week 4:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 5 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 35 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 5k race test

Week 5:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 6 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 40 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 5 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 75 minute long run

Week 6:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 6 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 40 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 6 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 85 minute long run

Week 7:

  • Monday: 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 7 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 45 minute tempo run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 6 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 90 minute long run

Week 8:

  • Monday: 2 mile easy run
  • Tuesday: 4 x 400m intervals
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 2 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 5k race!

Advanced 5k training plan week by week printable

advanced 5k training plan
Caroline Geoghegan
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Nard Dog

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

With this plan being “advanced”, it seems more like intermediate or a step above couch-to-5k.

Mileage is way too *short* for “advanced”.

farbcei

Monday 20th of March 2023

Agree with Gaurav - this plan doesn't make any sense with Pace Run on week 1 already longer than your 5K race ...

Caroline Geoghegan

Monday 20th of March 2023

Hi. Thanks for your comment. This advanced 5k training plan deliberately gets you running 4 to 6 miles. You need to improve your endurance and speed in order to improve your 5k race times and you can do this by running further and running faster - or a combination of both. So it's recommended you do a combination of pace runs, long runs and speed work as part of this training plan as prescribed. Hope this helps.

Gaurav

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Can you explain Pace Runs? You say the Pace Run is at "Race Pace" How can you do a 6 Mile Pace Run at a pace you hope to run the 5k in?

Caroline Geoghegan

Monday 20th of March 2023

Hi Gaurav. Thanks for your comment. A pace run is more like a 'fast' run - so depending on your comfort levels, you need to be running faster than you would do on a 'normal' run day. You shouldn't be able to hold a conversation when running a pace run. You will probably feel out of breath - this is a good indicator that your pace is about right. Hope this helps.