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360 YOU: Two 5K Plans to Start the Program

Two plans, one goal: Run together on March 8th.

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Our new members-only 360 YOU program includes a different distance challenge each quarter. First up is a 5K. We’re providing you with two Mary Cain–approved plans: one for beginners, and one for those who want to up their speed. On March 8, International Women’s Day, we’ll all run a 5K together and own the 3.1 distance.

“If you come from a beginner’s background, don’t be intimidated by the race distance,” says Cain. “Make sure you pace yourself conservatively initially if you are wary of the length of the 3.1 miles. Better to finish strong and fast if this is your first time tackling a 5K.”

And if you’re opting for the intermediate plan to help you hit a PR, don’t assume a shorter race is easier! “If anything, fast 5Ks are uncomfortable from the start, compared to longer races that let you ease into the pace,” says Cain.

5K Plan for Beginners

“I love how the beginner plan is set up. Slow and steady with walk breaks is very smart. My biggest tip to beginners is to take it day by day and not get discouraged,” says Cain. The six-week plan aims to get your body comfortable with running 30 minutes straight and assumes that a new runner already walks briskly for at least 30 minutes four to six times per week.

“I know I’ve had programs similar to this when coming back from injury and it can seem so daunting at the start. Like how can a one-minute run feel hard and my goal is a 5K?” she says. “But if you trust the process, your body always adapts well and safely to the new training load.”

Cain suggests occasionally playing with pace on the “run” portions to help you feel more comfortable on race day, and completing the 5K without walking is “an awesome goal.”

360 You beginner's 5K training plan

Download the beginner’s hi-res PDF here.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes Workout: 10 x 1 minute run/1 minute walk (20 minutes total) 30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes
Workout: 11 x 1 minute run/1 minute walk (22 minutes total)
Rest day 30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 10 x 90 seconds run/1 minute walk (25 minutes total)
Rest day
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes
Workout: 10 x 2 minutes run/1 minute walk (30 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 minutes
Workout: 11 x 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk (27 minutes and 30 seconds total)
Rest day 30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 10 x 2:30 minutes run/1 minute walk (35 minutes total)
Rest day
Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 8 x 3 minutes run/1 minute walk (32 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 6 x 4 minutes run/1 minute walk (30 minutes total)
Rest day 30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 6 x 5 minute run/30 second walk (33 minutes total)
Rest day
Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 6 minute run/1 minute walk/5 minute run/1 minute walk/4 minute run/1 minute walk/3 minute run/1 minute walk (22 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 7 minute run/30 seconds walk/6 minute run/30 seconds walk/5 minute run/30 seconds walk/4 minute run/30 seconds walk/3 minute run/30 seconds walk (27 minutes and 30 seconds total)
Rest day 30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 8 minute run/2 minutes walk/8 minute run/1 minute walk/8 minute run (27 minutes total)
Rest Day
Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 2 x 10 minutes run/1 minute walk (22 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 12 minutes run/1 minute walk/10 minutes run/1 minute walk/5 minutes run/1 minute walk (30 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 2 x 12 minute run/1 minute walk (26 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Rest Day
Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 2 x 14 minute run/1 minute walk (30 minutes total)
30-60 minutes cross-training Warm up: 5 minutes brisk walk
Workout: 28 minute run
Rest day 30-60 minutes cross-training Rest Day 30 min/3.1 mile run. Congrats!

5K Plan for Hitting a PR

“The 5K is a fun challenge because it’s a mix of endurance and speed,” says Cain. “I think this plan can really set people up for a PR, and I love the cross-training flexibility.”

Cain and her Atalanta NYC teammates workout Tuesday/Friday with a long run on Sunday, and this eight-week plan is a little different. “I know it is easier for some people to do full weekends (aka Saturday and Sunday hard back-to-back),” says Cain.

And don’t forget to take some of those Tuesday off days actually off—rest is important for muscle building and increasing fitness.

360 You intermediate 5K PR plan

Download the intermediate hi-res PDF here.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
6-10 x 400m @ HM-10K [half marathon to 10K pace] w/ 400m jog recovery PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 8 x 200m @ 5K–Mile w/ 200m jog recovery 45 – 60 min run
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
4 x 5 min @ HM w/ 1:30 min recovery PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 8-10 x 30 sec hill w/ jog down recovery 45 – 60 min run
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
3-5 x 1 mile @ HM w/ 1 min walk recovery PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 2 x 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m @ 5K or mile pace w/ previous distance jog recovery (i.e., 500m @ Mile, 500m recovery, 400m @ Mile, 400m recovery)
first set @ 5K, second set @ Mile
60 – 70 min run
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
45 min run PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 4 x 800m/300m @ 5K/Mile w/ 100m/400m jog recovery
(i.e. 800m @ 5K, 100m jog, 300m @ Mile, 400m jog)
8 miles
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
2 x 10 min @ HM w/ 1:30 min recovery + 4 x 1 min @ 5K-Mile w/ 2 min jog recovery PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 8-10 x 30 sec hill w/ jog down recovery 10 miles
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
8-10 x 400m @ 10K-5K w/ 400m jog recovery PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 12-14 x 200 @ 5K/Mile w/ 200m jog recovery 8 miles
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
45 min run PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min run or 45 – 60 min cross-train 3000m @ 5K, 5 min jog recovery, 2 x 600m/200m @ 5K/Mile w/ 200m/400m jog recovery
(600 @ 5K, jog 200m, 200 @ Mile, jog 400m – REPEAT)
45 – 60 min run
PT / Strength Focused Lift 30 min +
4 x 20 sec strides or OFF
1 Mile @ 5K, 10 min
@ HM, 2 x 200m @ Mile w/ 2 min recovery
PT /
Endurance Focused Lift
30 min + 2 x 200m strides @ 5K for rhythm 5K 30 min run

 


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.