Train for a 5K in three weeks – how to build a training plan

A friend of yours runs the next 5K in town and asks you to join. You agree – until you find out that the race takes place in three weeks from today. You have never completed a 5K. It is clear to you that you would not beat the world record but you would like to run through. Street Run 5K Your starting point – manage your expectations

Three weeks is not long and therefore, you need a certain base. Being able to jog 2 miles (around 3K) is an excellent starting point. If you are not able to go over the distance, it will be challenging to be able to run through your 5K in three weeks.

Less is more

Do not try to pack a 9 weeks plan in 3 weeks. Your body needs recovery periods. Three to four sessions per week is a good plan. If you really want to train between your running workouts, choose a light activity like walking, cycling or swimming. Pushing too hard over a short period time risks to cause injuries, especially if you are not used to it. And then, there it goes your 5K…

Three types of workouts

In any training plan, you will find three types of workouts:

  • Long runs: The long run is the masterpiece of your training week. All other sessions will be organized around the long run. It typically takes place on the weekend as it is the most time-consuming session of your week.
  • Intervals: The role of the interval training is increasing your speed. Sometimes it is also referred to as speed run or speed work. Interval sessions come in different intensities – from very short sprints to longer distances up to a mile. As a beginner, do not overdo it: Wrong intervals often lead to injuries, so ramp up progressively.
  • Stamina: The best stamina sessions are hill trainings. They build muscles and increase your VO2, the maximum quantity of oxygen consumed by your body.

5K in three weeks

If your objective is to run the distance, focus on the long runs which will represent between 4 and 6K each (2.5 to 3.75 mi). Then add an interval session every week as well as hill trainings. And then go and run your first 5K!    

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