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.
At a glanceAuthor: Hal Higdon Length: 8 Weeks Typical Week: 3 Run, 3 Day Walk, 1 Day Off Longest Workout: 3 miles
Run With Hal 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
- 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 programFor 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
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|
Excellent sequencing and felt great at the end!
I have been a runner for a few years but recently I stopped. I needed something to get me back into the groove. This was it. I think that anyone who is able to run can follow this plan without too much stress. It is still a challenge, but that is all part of the preparation. Loved it!
Used the half marathon training schedule for a “newbie” running a marathon – can I tell ya, IT WORKS! I am 53 years old and never in my life did I think I would EVER run a half-marathon race! Thank you so much Hal for helping me fulfill this dream 🙂
Hal Higdon's training works no matter the distance
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!
Back in the Saddle
I took a couple of months off from running consistently and this program was perfect for helping me get back into running again.
Hal's THE BEST!!!!
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!!!