Low-Mileage 5k Training Plan

Training plans call for running 1-2 key workouts per week. Plans include primary and secondary key workouts. Primary workouts stress your body in a way gets you ready for your specific race. Secondary workout focus more on speed and help support your next primary workout.


  • Run 2-5 days per week
  • Space your key workouts so that you have at lease 48-72 hours recovery between key workouts
  • Key workouts should begin with 1/2 mile to 1 mile warmup
  • Run the second key workout only if you are feeling completely recovered
  • On the non-key workout days rest, walk, cross-train, or run easy 20-60 min
  • You can substitute a race of approximate workout length for a key workout
  • Run key workouts at maximum speed and intensity
  • Start at a pace that allows you to finish faster than you started
  • On your easy runs, incorporate occasional 10-20 second sprints during the course of your run. Include 1-2 sprints per mile


The 5k plans assumes you can run at least 3 miles

Primary Key Workouts

  • 2-4 mile time trials
  • 6 x 1/2 mile w 1 min rest
  • 3 x 1 mile w 2 min rest

Secondary Key Workouts

  • 1-2 mile time trials
  • 12 x 1/4 mile w 45 sec rest

Week Key Workout 1 Key Workout 2 (optional)
1 5k time trial 6 x 1/2 mile w 1 min rest
2 3 x 1 mile w 2 min rest 1-2 mile time trial
3 2-4 mile time trial 12 x 1/4 mile w 45 sec rest
4 6 x 1/2 mile w 1 min rest 1-2 mile time trial
5 3 x 1 mile w 2 min rest 12 x 1/4 mile w 45 sec rest
6 2-4 mile time trial 1-2 mile time trial
7 3 x 1 mile w 2 min rest 1 mile at 5k pace
8 5k Race

Also see Low-Mileage 10k and Half-Marathon and Marathon training plans

4 thoughts on “Low-Mileage 5k Training Plan

  1. Does 2-4 mile time trial mean I run 4 miles as fast as I can, then rest for some time, then run 4 miles as fast as I can again, on the same day? If so, how do I decide how long to rest?

    Or does it mean I run somewhere between 2 and 4 miles as fast as I can?

    I have the same question about the 1-2 mile time trials… Is it 2 separate time trials or are you suggesting we choose a distance of at least 1 mile or up to 2 miles.


  2. Hey Aaron, I just finished reading your book and I have a question. Do you recommend taking time off between each training plan? Or, do you recommend “stacking” a training plan on-top-of another? For example, if I finish the 8 week 5K plan could I just start the marathon plan the next week, or would it be better to take a few weeks off? Furthermore, do you use your low mileage/high intensity plan year round? Thank you in advance for your time in answering these questions. Awesome book by the way!


    1. Adam, always listen to your body if you’re feeling good I don’t recommend taking any time off. If you’re feeling tired out then take a few days or a week off. Thanks for the kind words.


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