United Way 5K on the Runway: 8-Week Training Schedule

5K Training Schedule Designed for Beginning Runners

If you have never run a 5K and are a brand-new runner, this training plan will get you to the finish line feeling like a champion! Most training plans recommend eight weeks to accomplish your first 5K.

So, this is the week to begin training for the United Way 5K on the Runway, April 18th.

Before I give you the eight-week plan, here are a few important tips. Be sure you have the correct running shoes. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new training program. Once you have done this, I recommend going to Riverside Runners or another running store to be properly fitted for shoes. Shoes are the single most important piece of equipment for a runner. I promise you the right shoes will make your running experience safe, enjoyable, and fun.

Next, be sure to drink water regularly throughout the day, especially on training days when you need to drink water before and after your workout. Often when we feel tired or hungry, when we are actually dehydrated. Water is imperative for running safely.

Register for the race. Once you have paid for registration, you will be surprised how committed you become to the training.

Find a friend to join you for the training and the race. Running with a buddy makes the training go more quickly and seem easier.

As a beginner runner, you should focus on running at a comfortable, conversational pace. Conversational pace means that you should be able to speak in complete sentences while running.

Now for the training Schedule. This schedule is based on time, not on distance. It is a proven way to learn to run, and I encourage you to follow it as set out. You will be able to complete 5K by the end of this simple program.


Walk 1 minute, Run 1 minute for 10 repeats. Do this three times in week one.


Walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes for 10 repeats. Do this three times in week two.


Walk 1 minute, run 3 minutes for 9 repeats. Do this three times in week three. Remember, do not focus on distance. Focus on being consistent with the repeats and breathing.


Walk 1 minute, run 4 minutes for 8 repeats. Do this three times in week 4.


Walk 1 minute, run 6 minutes for 7 repeats. Do this three times in week 5.


Walk 1 minute, run 8 minutes for 6 repeats. Do this three times in week 6.


Walk 1 minute, run 10 minutes for 5 repeats. Do this three times in week 7. Doing these five repeats equals 55 minutes of training, and you will have completed three-plus miles, more distance than the race.


Week eight is the final week that leads up to Race Day, so begin to taper your running to prepare for the race. Sunday, walk 1 minute, run 10 minutes for 3 repeats. Tuesday walk 1 minute, run 5 minutes for 4 repeats. Thursday walk 1 minute, run 3 minutes for 5 repeats.

April 18th – You are ready for race day! Run/walk to the finish and enjoy your first 5K on the Runway!

Any questions feel free to contact me, the Race Director, and a longtime runner, at robin.steckley@unitedwaycv.org

Can’t wait to see you, April 18th on the Runway.

To download the PDF for this 8-week training plan, click Training Schedule