Beginners Guide on How to Train for a 5K

Whether you’re trying to spruce up your running routine, or looking to raise money for a cause, the idea of a 5k run might seem like a daunting task to most of us, especially if you’ve never participated in an event such as a 5k run before.

Running a 5k doesn’t have to be scary. With a little determination, anyone can cross that finish line with a smile on their face. The most important part of running a 5k is the preparation. Training for a 5k doesn’t have to take a year; in fact, by following our guide for beginners, you could be ready to run your 5k event in just a couple of months.

Beginners Guide to Running a 5k

If running has taken a back seat to your workouts lately, you still have a chance to improve your running and get back on it. However, don’t try to do too much at once. It’s okay to take your time to slowly get back into a running routine; this will help you avoid serious injuries.

Cardio Walk

A cardio walk includes brisk walking while swinging your arms like you would when running. Brisk walking is extremely beneficial in strengthening cardiovascular health and boosting metabolism to increase fat burn.

Starting with a cardio walk is an easy yet effective way to warm your body up to prepare for a 5k run.

Cross Training

Challenge your running level by training with other types of exercise. Activities such as swimming or cycling are perfect for cross training and will help you build the strength and endurance that is necessary to run a 5k.

Swimming and cycling are full body workouts that are gentle on the joints and, therefore, reduce your risk of injury, especially when it comes to the knees.

Mile Walk

Your cardio walks will go hand in hand with the of miles you take on, over the course of the next few weeks. As you start your training, you will first engage in cardio walking for 1 mile. As the weeks’ progress, you will gradually walk your way up to the 3.1-mile (5k) goal.

Strength Traning

As mentioned earlier, strength and endurance are important when running a 5k. You need to build muscle strength, increase your stamina, and prepare your body for the long distance run you are about to do in the next few months.

Using dumbbells and other weights in your workouts are a good way to promote strength and endurance and give your body an overall workout.

Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are a few extra tips to help you prepare for your run.

Workout Attire

Make sure you get yourself a good pair of running shoes that fit. Running shoes should be comfortable and have a good grip in order to help you run efficiently and effectively. If you’re not sure what shoes are best, ask a professional to give their advice on what kind of shoes you will need for your run.

A good pair of running shoes will not only help you run better, but they will also make you feel good when you’re wearing them.

Pre-Run Routine

It is important to follow a warm-up routine when you’re training for your runs. Warm-up routines include dynamic stretching and light cardio to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.

Dynamic stretching includes lunges, high knees, toy soldiers, and other exercises that work to give the hamstrings a good stretch. Stretching is extremely important to enhance flexibility and prevent injuries to the muscles and joints.

After you’ve completed your stretching exercises, start your cardio walk for about five minutes, and then gradually start to speed up as you reach your running pace.

Your first week of running should include 20 to 30 minutes total of jogging/running/walking at three times a week. Make sure you include rest days to give your muscles and yourself some time to recover.

Have Fun

Don’t worry about the speed at which you need to run. As you train, your speed will gradually increase until you reach the pace you feel comfortable running at. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! This is an exciting opportunity to participate in and a fun way to switch up your regular exercise routine.

Quick FAQs

1. How many miles are in a 5k?

A 5k run equals to 3.1 miles.

2. How many 5k runs are held during the year?

There are numerous 5k events that are held every year. Check your local events or the internet to learn about upcoming events in your area.


Pake, T. (2013, February 04). 5K Training Tips for Beginners. Retrieved from

S. (2016, April 21). 5K Running Guide for Absolute Beginners. Retrieved from