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Level up your run with an advanced 5K training schedule

Comical illustration of a number 5 and letter K with legs running together
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If you’re like many experienced runners, you embrace the challenge of a 5K because it incorporates both speed and endurance. Going fast is fun after all, and just because a 5K is a shorter distance, that doesn’t mean the race — or training for it — is easy.

If this isn't your first rodeo, and you're looking for that extra something-something to run your fastest 5k yet, you're in the right place. Our advanced 5K training schedule can help you make personal gains and set records. 

Stick to the plan

Our advanced 5k training plan was created by Danny Mackey, coach of our Seattle-based Brooks Beasts team. Despite the intimidating name, these pros are people, too. They love to run and work hard to get better at it. They just happen to be super speedy.

If you want to run like a Beast in your next race, you’ll need to embrace a more rigorous 5K training schedule. Our 9-week plan is the perfect mix of speed intervals, cross-training, and long runs.

If you need to brush up on the running lingo included in this plan, check out our handy running glossary.

To start, use the Hansons Training Pace Calculator to figure out your goal finish time, your goal pace (GP), the length of your long run, and the 10K pace for your workouts. These targets will help you get the most out of your weekly workouts.

Your tempo in this training period should be a pace where conversation is difficult but sustainable for 45 to 60 minutes. Save your monologue about how the Netflix reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries” is giving you life for your recovery pace, which should be an easy jog.

Warmups and cooldowns are similar to your recovery pace. For Tuesday and Thursday workouts, include a 1-mile warmup and 1-mile cooldown.

On your rest days, we recommend total rest, but you can cross-train with non-running exercises such as yoga, cycling, or other low-impact activities.

hree illustrations of a woman biking and thinking about running, doing yoga and thinking about running, and swimming and thinking about running

Sweat the details

With your plan in hand, it's time to address some of the non-running details of your training.

Let’s start with training gear. Perhaps your super speed burned a hole into your favorite singlet, or maybe you need an upgrade from those 1980s running shorts you’ve been hanging on to. If it’s time to try something new, make sure you incorporate unfamiliar gear into your 5K training schedule so you know what will work for you on race day. Find your perfect fit for shoes or bras, and get set with the right apparel before making your way to the start line.

Next, take a close look at nutrition during your 5K training. Eat a balanced diet of carbs, proteins, and good fats found in foods like salmon, avocados, and nuts. It’s OK to treat yourself, but be sensible — you should probably skip the hot dog eating competitions.

Much of your energy for high-intensity races will come from what you consume in the hours and minutes before your start time, so use your 5K training to adjust the specifics of your food intake to find the best fuel for you. Experiment with different foods on training days, take note of what makes your body feel good, and use those familiar foods to fuel your race. 

llustration of a woman running with a bean, a banana, and an avocado

Having a plan is a great start, but we all could use some help with accountability. Consider a reliable training partner or two (with COVID-19 safety precautions in mind) to help you stay on track. Avoid the Jerry Seinfelds and Cosmo Kramers of the world if you want to be on time for your race.

Use social media, virtual running groups, or apps like Strava, which offers detailed GPS tracking and plenty of metrics to keep you in the know about your run sessions.

Revisit these basics and follow our advanced training plan. In just nine weeks, you’ll be ready to push your 5K run to new heights.

View the training plan