Your first 5K run

Move up from the 3K plan to your first 5K run. This plan, designed by Jo Pavey, will take you on a 4 week journey to your 5K goal.

5K training plan

This plan is intended to lead on from the 3K programme. There are no walking warm ups, as you should hopefully now be able to ease into each run, but start off slowly and build it up. Running at a faster pace will improve your aerobic capacity and therefore your running economy.

During this plan you may want to include cross training, if you haven't already done so in the previous plan - but only do if you feel you're coping well with your running. If you do want to cross train, it is suggested on one of the days, but it could be done on any of the non-running days that suit you best.

At the end of this plan, you may want to run your 5K at a parkrun. There are many parkruns all over the country at weekends. They are a great way of meeting people, motivating you to progress and reach your goals, as well as helping you to enjoy your running experience.

3K to 5K

Running provides so many great benefits to both physical health and mental wellbeing. In this video Jo Pavey talks you through the next step in your running journey and the importance of maintaining motivation whilst paying more attention to your running form and stretching routine.

Tips to improve your running

Read some extended notes from Jo Pavey, on the key areas of consideration when taking on this part of the WPA running programme.

Maintaining motivation

As you make progress as a runner, you will feel motivated to improve your running further. However, there are always going to be days when you don't feel like heading out for training. Setting yourself a goal and focussing on it will massively increase your motivation. You may even have a longer-term goal in mind that you have aspirations to achieve after completing a particular running plan. Focussing on what you're aiming for and knowing that each workout is part of your journey to achieve that goal, will give you that reason to get out the door. On days you're struggling, think how much better you'll feel when you get back and you've done your workout.

Key motivation tips:

  • Plan new running routes or make time to drive to a beautiful location for your workout - it will give you a real boost to get out amongst nature.
  • Find a running buddy of a similar fitness level and work at the programme together. Meeting up with someone can provide a real sense of camaraderie as you work towards shared goals and encourage each other.
  • Engaging in social networking sites for runners can be a great motivator, being in touch with others. Many runners also find motivation by listening to music or podcasts.
  • Keep a diary of your running so you can look back and realise the progress you are making.

The 4 week training plan

Each workout will always start with an easy walk or a jog to warm up. This is in addition to the dynamic warm up exercises in our videos. Then the work really starts. Typically, each workout consists of a period of high intensity running followed by a rest which you will repeat a set number of times.


In the plan it's written like this:

  • 8 minute easy warm up
  • 3 x 2 minute run with 2 minute recovery between
  • 8 minute easy cool down

This means you will:

  • Do an 8 minute easy run to warm up
  • Run for 2 minutes at a higher intensity and then jog or walk for 2 minutes to recover - repeat 3 times
  • Do an 8 minute easy run to cool down

In total, this session is 28 minutes in length - but remember to allow time for some dynamic warm up exercises before you start and stretching when you finish.

Expand and collapse your weekly training plan below to see your daily schedule. You can also download a PDF of the training plan to take away with you.









Download the 5K training plan


To help prevent injury and maintain flexibility, it is important that runners have a regular stretching routine. In these short videos, Jo Pavey will demonstrate a series of warming up and cooling down exercises.

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The content of the WPA website, including the WPA Health & Wellbeing hub ('the hub'), is for information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment and you should not rely upon it for that purpose.

Not all forms of exercise will be suitable for everyone. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise programme. To the extent permitted by law, WPA shall not be liable for any loss, liability or damage suffered or incurred as a result of using an exercise programme or accessing any information on exercise made available on the hub.