Beginner to 5km Training Plan

Having a goal at the start of any exercise programme can be a great motivator and in many cases can make the difference between sticking with it or giving up.

For someone starting an exercise programme for the first time or just getting back into exercise after a long break it can be a difficult and daunting experience. How much should I do? How far should I run? What pace should I run at? What rest should I have between runs? These are all questions that are common, so if you have asked yourself any of them, don’t worry – you’re not alone!

The good thing about starting out on a beginners programme is that the terms ‘walk’ and rest’ are used quite a lot! Once you have decided on the run to take part in you should work backwards to however many weeks programme you are following. This sample programme lasts eight weeks and is aimed at getting you to the finish line. It assumes that you have no major health problems, are in reasonable shape, and have perhaps don at least some jogging or walking beforehand. 

The following programme is only a suggestion and should be adapted to suit your work and home life and the days of the week that is most convenient for you to exercise. As with all exercise programmes you should always do some gentle warm-up exercises beforehand and some stretching exercises to warm-down afterwards. If you have read this then you have taken the first steps towards getting fit enough for the 5km run! Happy Running!


  • Walk: Brisk walking pace (faster than waling to the newsagents).
  • Jog: Gentle running (able to chat easily throughout).
  • Walk/Jog: Periods of walking followed by periods of jogging (vary the times and number of walks and jogs depending on total target time/distance).
  • Run: Faster pace than jogging but still able to chat (not continuously though).
  • Rest: Either a day off exercise completely or other exercise such as swimming, aerobics or cycling.

The 5km Beginners Programme

Scroll Table to view all information
Weeks until Run; Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
8 Rest 1.5km (walk/jog) Rest 1.5km (walk/jog) Rest 30 minute (walk) 1.5km (walk/jog)
7 Rest 1.5km (walk/jog) Rest 1.5km (walk/jog) Rest 30 minute (walk) 1.5km (walk/jog)
6 Rest 1.5km (walk/jog) Rest 1.5km (jog/run) Rest 40 minute (walk) 1.5km (jog/run)
5 Rest 2.5km (walk jog) Rest 1.5km (jog/run) Rest 40 minute (walk) 2.5km (jog/run)
4 Rest 2.5km (walk/jog) Rest 2.5km (jog/run) Rest 50 minute (walk) 3.5km (jog/run)
3 Rest 2.5km (walk/jog) Rest 2.5km (jog/run) Rest 50 minute (walk) 3.5km (run)
2 Rest 3.5km (walk/jog) Rest 3.5km (jog/run) Rest 60 minute (walk) 4.5km (run)
1 Rest 3.5km (walk/jog) Rest 2.5km (jog/run) Rest Rest 5km run

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