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How to Run a Faster 5K Race in Just Four Weeks

Training Plan: Run a Faster 5K in Four Weeks

If you have a few races under your belt and want to take your training to the next level for faster finish times, add speed work into your training plan. Running coach Andrew Kastor wants to help you set a personal record (PR) in your next 5K. Here is his four-week plan to get you up to speed — literally. Coach Kastor is a certified USA Track and Field coach who's been running competitively for 15 years. Plus he's married to bronze medalist Olympic long-distance runner Deena Kastor. The man knows running. To see Coach Kastor's training plan, just keep on reading. This plan is geared towards intermediate runners with a solid cardio base who have been running regularly for at least six months.

Week One

  • Monday: Three to six kms easy running
  • Tuesday: Off / total rest
  • Wednesday: Three to six kms easy running, plus four to six 80-metre sprints
  • Thursday: Cross-train 45-60 minutes, easy to moderate effort
  • Friday: Three to six kms easy running
  • Saturday: Off / total rest
  • Sunday: Four to nine kms easy running, plus four to six 80-metresprints
  • Notes: Be consistent with your training. Run easy three times this week. Be kind to your joints and try to run on dirt paths.


Week Two

  • Monday: Cross-train 45-60 minutes easy to moderate effort
  • Tuesday: Three km warmup, seven km repeats at a moderate/hard effort with three-minute recovery jog between reps, three km cooldown
  • Wednesday: Four to eight kms of easy running, plus four to six 80-metre sprints
  • Thursday: Cross-train 45-60 minutes easy to moderate effort
  • Friday: Off / total rest
  • Saturday: Three km warmup, three one and a half km repeats at a moderate to hard effort with three-minute recovery jog between repeats, three km cooldown
  • Sunday: Six to nine km of easy running
  • Notes: Adding repeats to your runs will help elevate your speed and fitness level.


Week Three

  • Monday: Cross-train 45-60 minutes easy to moderate effort
  • Tuesday: Three km warmup, two one and a half km repeats at a moderate/hard effort with two-minute recovery jog between reps, then four two and a half km repeats at a moderate/hard effort, three km cooldown
  • Wednesday: Six to eight kms of easy running, plus four to six 80-metresprints
  • Thursday: Off / total rest
  • Friday: Four to six kms of easy running, plus four to six 80-metre sprints
  • Saturday: Three km warmup, then two, two and a half km repeats at a moderate to hard effort with three-minute recovery jog between repeats, three km cooldown
  • Sunday: Eight to 11 kms of easy running
  • Notes: This is the biggest training week — running five times. Be sure to eat at least 60 minutes before you run.


Week Four

  • Monday: Cross-train 45-60 minutes easy to moderate effort
  • Tuesday: Five to eight kms of easy running, plus four to six 80-metre sprints
  • Wednesday: Three km warmup, six half km repeats at a moderate/hard effort with two-minute recovery jog between reps, three km cooldown
  • Thursday: Four to eight kms of easy running, plus four to six 80-metre sprints
  • Friday: Off / total rest
  • Saturday: Race day!
  • Sunday: Off / total rest
  • Notes: It's important to "taper" this week; you have a fun race weekend ahead!

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Image Source: Getty
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