From couch to running a 5k in twelve weeks

How to Run a 5k in 12 Weeks

If you are new to running or you have not run in a long time, this program is for you. We designed it for non-runners looking to train for a 5k event or for those who just want to develop as runners and see if they might enjoy it. At the end of the twelve weeks you should be able to complete at least a 5k without walking.

The twelve week training schedule is broken-up into three phases: On Your Feet Stage, Getting in the Groove Phase, and Final Phase. We explain the purpose of each phase followed by the training schedule for that phase. The term min stands for minutes.

On Your Feet Phase (Weeks 1-4)

This phase of training is meant to get you on your feet and moving. You will spend time walking with easy jogs on some of the days. Walk at a brisk pace where you are breathing a little but you can still talk. Jog at an easy pace. In other words, you should not be out of breath at the end of them but should feel a little winded.

Day
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Sundaywalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 20 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 25 min
Mondaywalk for 20 minwalk for 25 minwalk for 25 minwalk for 25 min
Tuesday
Wednesdaywalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 20 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 25 min
Thursday
Fridaywalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 20 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 2 min and jog for 1 min for 25 minwalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 25 min
Saturday
Appx. Miles6-8 Miles7-9 Miles7-9 Miles8-10 Miles

Getting in the Groove Phase (Weeks 5-8)

We build on week four and continue to run more than walk. We also increase the time moving from 25 minutes to 30 minutes. After four weeks, you will have a feel for jogging. This phase will add to it and help you become stronger and fitter.

Day
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Sundaywalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 3 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 4 min for 30 minwalk one minute and jog for five minutes for 35 minutes
Mondaywalk for 30 minwalk for 30 minwalk for 30 minwalk for 30 min
Tuesday
Wednesdaywalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 3 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 4 min for 30 minwalk one min and jog for five min for 30 min
Thursday
Fridaywalk 1 min and jog for 2 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 3 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for 4 min for 30 minwalk one min and jog for five min for 30 min
Saturday
Appx. Miles 9-11 Miles 9-11 Miles10-12 Miles10-12 Miles

Final Phase (Weeks 9-12)

This is the last phase of training. During the first two weeks you will continue to increase the time run. We also ask that you pick up the pace on some of the jogs so that it is brisk or so that you are not fully recovered until you start your jog again after the one minute of walking. The last week you are maintaining your fitness, and getting your legs and body fresher so that on race day you can feel as good as possible while getting the benefits from all the training you have done.

Start the race at a pace you think is a little slow. Most people let the adrenaline and energy from the other participants get the best of them and start too fast. You will have succeeded if the last half of the race is completed in the same time or faster than the first half.

Day
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Sundaywalk 1 min and jog for 5 min for 40 minwalk 1 min and jog for 7 min for 40 minwalk 1 min and jog for 9 min for 40 minwalk 1 min and jog for 12 min for 40 min
Mondaywalk for 30 minwalk for 30 minwalk for 30 minwalk for 30 min
Tuesday
Wednesdaywalk 1 min and jog briskly for 4 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog briskly for 5 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog briskly for 5 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog briskly for 5 min for 30 min
Thursday
Fridaywalk 1 min and jog for briskly 4 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for briskly 5 min for 30 minwalk 1 min and jog for briskly 5 min for 30 minwalk for 30 minutes
SaturdayRace Day!
Appx. Miles11-13 Miles12-14 Miles12-14 Miles11-13 Miles

Congratulations!

Now what? As a running beginner it is important to concentrate on the process not the result. Hopefully, you completed the 5k and are happy with the result. Regardless of your time, the process of training for it will benefit your health and wellness. With that in mind, we would urge you to continue to run. You may want to take a few days off thinking that it will be easy to get back into it. It won’t be easy if you take too much time off. You will lose the time and effort in about week if you stop.

If you really enjoyed the event and the energy it brings, choose another one a few weeks from when you complete this one. You can find events in your area at www.active.com. Additionally, come back to this site as we will offer training suggestions for all types of running events from running a faster 5k to running a marathon.

If you don’t want to run another event but want to continue to run, pick any of the training weeks between weeks 9 to 11 and use them as a model for your workouts. As you progress, you may find that you are not walking at all. And don’t feel obligated to increase your time. A half an hour to 40 minutes is enough to stay active and fit.