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360 YOU: 5K Training Notes for Week 3

This week's training is harder, but don't let that motivation wane.

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Well done, 360 You runners! You’ve finished another week of the 360 You 5k Training Program with Coach Mary Cain. This was a big week for both the beginners and intermediates. Even if it feels like you’re still quite far from your goal, don’t worry—you’ll get there.  

This coming week is another step up on both training plans, which is in line with the training concept of progressive overload. Essentially, we gradually increase the difficulty of the training in terms of mileage and intensity to stimulate your body to adapt and get fitter and stronger so that you can run longer and faster. 

RELATED: 360 YOU: 5K Training Notes for Week 2

Let’s take a look at what’s coming up in week three of training:

Check-in: Beginner 5K Plan

You have two big weeks under your belt and you’ll continue to progress in week three of your training program. This week follows the same format: run/walk on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, cross-training on Tuesday and Friday, and rest on Thursday and Sunday. You’ll notice the run intervals on your run/walk workouts are getting progressively longer while the walk intervals are either staying at one minute or just 30 seconds. By Friday, you’ll run 6 x 5 minutes with just 30-second breaks. That’s 30 minutes of running! Very exciting. If you’ve questioned your identity as an athlete up to this point, there’s no way around it at this point: You are a runner.

Remember to stretch after your runs and listen to your body when it comes to pace. Concentrate on running by effort or feel rather than pace. If you’re sore and tired, use those cross-training workouts to help you recover from your run days by taking it easy and just moving your body, but if you feel good, you can push yourself a bit to get an aerobic workout, as long as you aren’t stressing your joints.

RELATED: 11 Reasons Why Your Heart Rate is High on Easy Runs

Check-in: Intermediate 5K Plan

This week is similar to last week in that you have your two big strength training days, the optional run or rest day on Tuesday, a tempo-based workout on Wednesday, the recovery run or cross-training workout on Friday, a hard workout Saturday, and a long run on Sunday. You’ll notice the long run is bumped up to 60-70 minutes, which will help you build your aerobic endurance base. Remember, it’s important to run your long runs at a conversational pace, not as fast as possible. 

You’ll tackle mile repeats on Wednesday. These are run at half marathon pace, so it’s more of a tempo-based workout designed to increase your lactate threshold than an all-out speed workout. You should be working hard, but also feel like you could easily keep going at that pace after each repeat (for a half marathon or so). The walk breaks are short, but that’s because you should be ready to go again quickly and keeping the rest short helps condition your body to clear metabolic waste products from your legs rapidly.

The Saturday track workout is all about speed. You’ll do two sets of intervals. The first are all run at goal 5k pace and the second set will be run at mile pace. You’ll be running fast! It may feel uncomfortable, but these speed workouts are crucial to getting faster because they train your body to run faster.


You might feel intimidated by one or more of the workouts on your schedule this week, but you can absolutely do it. Believe in yourself. Trust in your body. You are capable of more than you even know.

RELATED: Master Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose for Better Recovery

This article is part of our three-month 360 YOU program, available free to Women’s Running members. Find out what the program is all about here or head to the collection page to dive into the available training and inspirational content.