Skip to Content

The ultimate advanced 5k training plan: Week by week plan + 6 training tips

Share

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:

  • Who should complete this advanced 5k training plan?
  • 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

Ready?

Let’s go!

advanced 5k training plan

Who should complete this advanced 5k training plan?

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.

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
  • 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 runningTempo 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 trainingInterval 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

A pace run is a run at the pace that you expect to run the 5k event – in other words your race pace.

Pace runs are designed to be challenging to get you used to running at your desired race pace and to push you out of your comfort zone.

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

advanced 5k training plan

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, but 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, so 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 intensive, so 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, 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. Check out my guide on carb loading for runners for more information.

#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.

Check out my running form guide for more information on applying running form technique properly.

#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.

There’s a lot to think about when buying a pair of running shoes, so check out our handy guide on how to find the right running shoes for more tips and advice.

#6 Pace yourself

Whilst 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: 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!

Share