5K Training : Novice

About the Novice Program

This Novice 5K Training Plan is designed for beginning runners or for runners who want to take a low-mileage approach to their training. Never run before? This one's for you. This program works best if you have a goal 5K in 8 weeks. Set that race as your end date and use it as a focus of your training. Even if you do not have a goal 5K at the end of 8 weeks, Hal Higdon's 5K Novice program is a great way to begin your life as a runner.

5
5.0 rating
Based on 6 reviews.
Leave a review    See all reviews

At a glance

Author: Hal Higdon Length: 8 Weeks Typical Week: 3 Run, 3 Day Walk, 1 Day Off Longest Workout: 3 miles

Run With Hal app

For runners who want personalized year-round training, using the Higdon method.

  • Start training for free — or upgrade to Hal+ to fully customize your plan
  • Track your progress with personal stats and charts
  • Record your runs with GPS (Hal+ only)
  • Hal adapts to your goals, performance, and schedule (Hal+ only)
  • Train for multiple races at once (Hal+ only)

Interactive Novice program

For runners who want the same time-tested Hal Higdon training plans.

  • Stay motivated for the marathon with daily tips from Hal in your inbox
  • View and manage your calendar
  • Monitor your progress within TrainingPeaks’ online tools and apps
  • Access charts and graphs to understand training load
  • Tap into TrainingPeaks experience
BUY NOW

Hal on his Novice Program

The following 5K novice training program lasts eight weeks and climaxes at the end of Week 8 with a 5K (3.1 mile) race. It is among the easiest programs I offer both online and in books. If you are a beginning runner, just about to take your first running step, this is the program for you.

“Do you need to race to call yourself a runner?” I ask in my book, RunFast. Not really. Nevertheless, nailing a fast time in a 5K and comparing it a few months or years later to a time previously run can be an important motivational tool.

5K Novice assumes that you have no major health problems, are in reasonably good shape, and have done at least some jogging or walking. If running 1.5 miles for your first workout in Week 1 seems too difficult, you might want to begin with my Beginning Runner’s Guide. If 5K Novice seems too easy, consider 5K intermediate or even 5K advanced.

The terms used in the training schedule are somewhat obvious, but let me explain what I mean anyway.

Rest: Rest days are as vital as training days. They give your muscles time to recover so you can run again. Actually, your muscles will build in strength as you rest.

Run: Don’t worry about how fast you run; just cover the distance–or approximately the distance suggested. Ideally, you should be able to run at a pace that allows you to converse comfortably while you do so.

Run/Walk: There’s nothing in the rules that suggests you have to run continuously, either in training or in the 5K race itself. Run until fatigued; walk until recovered.

Walk: Don’t worry about how fast you walk, or how much distance you cover. Begin with about 30 minutes and add 5 minutes a week until you peak with a full hour in Week 7.

The following schedule is only a guide. Feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule. You will find more information on 5K training in my book, RunFast.

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest or run/walk 1.5 mi run Rest or run/walk 1.5 mi run Rest 1.5 mi run 30 min walk
2 Rest or run/walk 1.75 mi run Rest or run/walk 1.5 mi run Rest 1.75 mi run 35 min walk
3 Rest or run/walk 2 mi run Rest or run/walk 1.5 mi run Rest 2 mi run 40 min walk
4 Rest or run/walk 2.25 mi run Rest or run/walk 1.5 mi run Rest 2.25 mi run 45 min walk
5 Rest or run/walk 2.5 mi run Rest or run/walk 2 mi run Rest 2.5 mi run 50 min walk
6 Rest or run/walk 2.75 mi run Rest or run/walk 2 mi run Rest 2.75 mi run 55 min walk
7 Rest or run/walk 3 mi run Rest or run/walk 2 mi run Rest 3 mi run 60 min walk
8 Rest or run/walk 3 mi run Rest or run/walk 2 mi run Rest Rest 5K Race
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest or run/walk 2.4 km run Rest or run/walk 2.4 km run Rest 2.4 km run 30 min walk
2 Rest or run/walk 2.8 km run Rest or run/walk 2.4 km run Rest 2.8 km run 35 min walk
3 Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest or run/walk 2.4 km run Rest 3.2 km run 40 min walk
4 Rest or run/walk 3.6 km run Rest or run/walk 2.4 km run Rest 3.6 km run 45 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 min walk
6 Rest or run/walk 4.4 km run Rest or run/walk 3.2 km run Rest 4.4 km run 55 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 5K Race

Additional 5K Training Programs

Reviews

Hal Higdon's training works no matter the distance

5.0 rating
May 25, 2019

I’ve been an off and on runner for the past 20 years and anytime I set a goal to do a new distance OR if I’ve been out of the running game for a while, I always come back to Hal’s training guides. They work no matter what my goals are. Thank you, Hal!

Michelle

Back in the Saddle

5.0 rating
May 13, 2019

I took a couple of months off from running consistently and this program was perfect for helping me get back into running again.

Danny Van Fleet

Hal's THE BEST!!!!

5.0 rating
May 11, 2019

It had always been a dream of mine to run a marathon. I used to run half-marathons in my twenties, but didn’t think I would ever be able to complete a full one. When I turned 40, I realized it was my own mindset preventing me from accomplishing my dream. I went online and found one of Hal Higdon’s training programs. I followed it religiously, never missing a training. The day of my race, I was literally smiling from the starting line to the finish. I felt fantastic, only experiencing a bit of soreness the night of the marathon and the next day. It has been a few years since then, and I’m anxious to get back into running using Hal Higdon’s training programs. Thank you, Hal!!!

Kristin Diki

Works every time!

5.0 rating
May 1, 2019

I am not an experienced (or very good) runner, but like to participate in 5K races with friends. Every time I’ve used one of his training programs, I’ve been able to run the whole race when it comes time!

Sara

Hail Hal!

5.0 rating
February 27, 2019

Followed Hal’s plan for a half-marathon and ran to the finish line without stopping! Thanks Hal!

Dawn

Leave a Review