If you can walk, it’s highly likely you can do a 5K – even if you plan on walking the entire way. The speed in which you complete this 3.1 mile run depends on 1) your goal 2) how diligently you train.

I’m not going to lay out an entire training plan, rather two workouts. Both are running workouts, and can be calibrated to your ability. If you are training for a mid-distance race – whether you’re doing it for a PR or just for fun – one of the workouts below would count as a “speed day.”

If you’re NOT training for a thing, but like to run, these workouts are a great way to break up the monotony and get a little faster.

Accelerating Compound Set
This particular compound training set starts with a fast, slow distance, then gradually get slower in pace and longer in distance. That said, this set is in no way “slow.” They are usually comprised of two or more intervals, but aren’t really an interval set in that there is no recovery or easy perceived rest period.

Compound sets can be catered to long distance training (marathons and ultras) or shorter distance training (5 and 10ks).

I’ve designed this one to operate on time not distance as this isn’t a running blog and most of my readers aren’t aspiring to be the next Cara Goucher or Ryan Hall…but if you are – more power to you! The bigger reason is that the distance of these compound sets usually equates to meters…and, well, I’m not going to get that technical right now! Regardless, this is a great workout (and a butt kicker).

  • Warm up 10-15 minutes building to a comfortable pace
  • Run the following in consecutive order with no rest:
    • 30 second sprint/45 seconds very fast pace/60 seconds fast pace
    • Rest (jog easy) two minutes
    • Repeat x 4 (if you’re brave, well-trained or just a glutton for punishment , add on one or two sets)
    • Cool down with a 5 to 10 minute jog

Half-Mile Repeats
This is probably my favorite running workout – and definitely a classic. This is an interval workout, with a quarter mile of rest in between each half mile. If you’re just getting into speed work, or don’t do any sort of speed workouts right now, start with two to three intervals. If you’ve built your legs up for speed, shoot for five intervals.

  • Warm up 10-15 minutes building to a comfortable pace
  • Run a half mile at 5k pace (Not sure what your 5k pace is? Check out this calculator.)
  • Recover to an easy jog or walk for a quarter of a mile
  • Repeat x 2 – 5 depending on comfort and ability
  • Cool down with a 5 to 10 minute jog