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.
Get Novice in our appFor runners who want personalized year-round training, using the Higdon method.
- Start training for free — or upgrade to Hal+ to fully customize your plan
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- 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)
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.
|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|
|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|
Couch potato to runner-This works!
I’ve used Hal Higdon’s running programs several times over the past 11 years…I ran my first race in 2011 and used Higdon’s run 30/walk 30 plan to get me ready for the Novice 5K program. Within 3 months, I went from not running at all to being able to run for an hour without stopping. I’m in my 40s now, and I realize I’m more out of shape than I’d like to be. I’m starting the Novice 5K plan to help get me ready for the next level. I’m coming back to this program because I know it works.