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5K Training Plan

5K is invariably the first race distance for any runner. Our plans are tailored based on where you stand today.

Some key terms used in the plan that you should know about:

1) Rest : Rest means just what it is Rest. It means doing nothing in particular and going through your usual day routine. Rest is very critical yet often ignored part of training plan. Rest allows your muscle to recover and every time that happens your muscles get stronger.

2) Run : Run means business. It means you are on the move, putting one step after another. The thumb rule about the running pace is that you should run a 'conversational pace'; which means you should be able to talk while running.

3) Run/Walk : This means you can do a mix of running and walking. Ideally, you run till you are tired and then switch to walking. Repeat this routine again.

4) Walk : Well, this is easy. It means you have to walk.

5) Cross : Cross means cross training. It is any aerobic activity other than running. It can be cycling, swiming, session in the gym etc. This is to give your muscle a different form of movement and break the potential boredom.

6) Strength : Strenght means strenght training. It means exercises designed to improve the flexibility and strenght of your key muscles. It could be acitivites like push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats and any other form of Plyometric exercise. This clearly does not mean pumping irons in the gym.

7) Tempo Runs: A continuous run with an easy beginning, a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace, then ease back and cruise to the finish. A typical tempo run would begin with 5-10 minutes easy running, continue with 10-15 faster running, and finish with 5-10 minutes cooling down. You can't figure out your pace on a watch doing this workout; you need to listen to your body. Tempo runs are very useful for developing anaerobic threshold, essential for fast 5-K racing.

5K Run : 8 week training schedule

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest or run/walk 2.5 km run Rest or run/walk 2.5 km run Rest 2.5 km run 30- 60 min walk
2 Rest or run/walk 3 km run Rest or run/walk 2.5 km run Rest 3 km run 35-60 min walk
3 Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest or run/walk 2.5 km run Rest 3.2 km run 40-60 min walk
4 Rest or run/walk 3.5 km run Rest or run/walk 2.5 km run Rest 3.5 km run 45-60 min walk
5 Rest or run/walk 4.0 km run Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest 4.0 km run 50-60 min walk
6 Rest or run/walk 4.5 km run Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest 4.5 km run 55-60 min walk
7 Rest or run/walk 4.8 km run Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest 4.8 km run 60 min walk
8 Rest or run/walk 4.8 km run Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest Rest 5km Race

Intermediate – wanting to improve your time (1mile =1.6km)

Advanced – looking for peak performance in the race (1mile =1.6km)

Do’s and Don’ts in the last week before your run Now that D day is near – congratulate yourself and feel good about your decision to run a race

Rest well and do not exert yourself this week – your body needs to build reserves rather than deplete them at this time. Think positive and reflect on the good runs and training you have had, rather on the training that you missed. Eat more carbohydrates – rice, pasta etc and cut out snacks, deep fried foods to build the body’s energy reserves.

Reduce tea, coffee, colas and alcohol (which are diuretic – ie they make you pee a lot more than usual), while you drink more water and juices to build your body’s hydration levels

Wear the gear you are going to run in – shoes, socks, undergarments, shorts and T shirt – and sunglasses or cap, headband etc over the course of this week and make sure you are comfortable in them

Have the same breakfast you are planning to have on Sunday, on Thursday and go for a 3 to 4 km run

Try to ensure that you are sleeping enough, as also well. Especially Thursday to Saturday – you need it

DO NOT exert yourself on Saturday and try and stay off your feet as much as you can

Have an early and a heavy carbohydrate lunch and dinner on Saturday to finish around 7-8pm at the latest, to allow a couple hours for it to settle, before you sleep

Do not think of work and your life’s worries. Think of the course and the fun and excitement you are going to have

Sleep early on Saturday and get up refreshed and excited on Sunday. Don’t be anxious if you have not been able to sleep well on Saturday due to pre race excitement. You should have had a good sleep on each of Thursday and Friday.

For the 1st timer (1mile =1.6km)

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Stretch & strength 3.2km run 30 min cross training 3.2km run + strength Rest 30 min cross training 3.2km run
2 Stretch & strength 3.2km run 30 min cross training 2 m run
+ strength
Rest 30 min cross training 4.0 km run
3 Stretch & strength 4.0km run 35 min cross training 3.2km run
+ strength
Rest 40 min cross training 4.8km run
4 Stretch & strength 4.0km run 45 min cross training 3.2 km run
+ strength
Rest 40 min cross training 5.5 km run
5 Stretch & strength 4.0km run 40 min cross training 3.2km run
+ strength
Rest 50 min cross training 6.5km run
6 Stretch & strength 4.8 m run 40 min cross training 3.2 km run
+ strength
Rest 50 min cross training 6.5 km run
7 Stretch & strength 4.8km run 45 min cross training 3.2 km run
+ strength
Rest 60 min cross training 7km run
8 Stretch & strength 4.8km run 30 min cross training 3.2 km run Rest Rest or 60 min cross 8-K Race

Do’s and don’ts the day before, and the day of the run
Details for the day before:

 Do:

 Relax – physically and mentally

 Focus on the days of your training when you felt really good

 Get family and friends to cheer you

 Get your kit out for tomorrow – shorts, undergarments, shoes, socks, T shirt with chest number pinned

 Make sure there is no sand/ grit in your shoes

 Cut your toe nails

 Drink more water through the day than usual

 Eat dinner early and eat well.

 Sleep early a few hours after dinner

 Do Not:

 Do lot’s of work at home – you may strain yourself or pull your back

 Eat anything new – your stomach might not handle it well

 Think of how little you have trained or how unfit you are feeling

 Have a late night

 Before the run:

 Have a light breakfast of a banana/ orange juice and water as soon as you wake up

 Hopefully this is nothing new for you – this is quick to digest, and is energy giving

 Get to the start point 45 minutes earlier

 Do a light warm up

 During your run:

 Start slower than normal. Trust me. I have run 29 marathons and am still learning

 It is very easy to get carried away by the enthusiasm of the crowd and the atmosphere

 Smile at others, and cheer on fellow runners – it lightens your load

 Check how you are feeling after 2km, and quicken your pace if you are feeling good

 At around the 4km mark for a 5km runner and at 7km for a 10km runner, if you are feeling good, pick up the pace further.

 Sprint the last 100m – you will end on a high

 Smile for the cameras – you will treasure the great photos of yourself

 Post the run

 Walk briskly for 5 minutes

 Stretch

 Congratulate yourself