Finding the Right 5k Training Plan

By: Adam Stakeman

I’ve committed to Wabash Run the River, now what?

Wabash River Trail

Whether this will be your first or twenty-first 5k, it’s almost always a good idea to follow a training plan. And no matter if you’re running to get in shape, get faster or complete a new distance, there are tricks to making progress without injury or burnout.  Especially as a new runner, how are you to know how many miles to run/walk each week, what workouts to do, and most importantly when you should take a rest day?

Lucky for you, there are hundreds of free training plans and other references that can be found online.  There are even apps, podcasts, blogs, and YouTube videos.  So which one is right for you?  The answer is, there is no single correct answer.  But there are a few things to consider when looking for a plan.

Flexible Schedule

  • We are all busy and finding a plan that fits your lifestyle is very important.   Most plans will call for you to run/walk 4-5 days per week.  Finding a plan that fits your schedule or that can be adjusted to your schedule will make sticking with the plan that much easier.

Training Levels

  • Find a plan that matches both your current fitness level with your running goals. Most plans will offer novice, intermediate, and advanced levels of training. Being honest about your current fitness level and experience will increase the likelihood that you stick with the plan.

Cross-Training or Strength Workouts

  • Some plans will call for cross-training or strength workouts.  There are absolutely benefits to including these types of workouts, but if you are just getting started in a new fitness journey, keeping it simple to walking/running may be an easier transition.  Choose a plan that keeps you wanting more, and not feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.

Program Duration

  • Most 5k plans are 5-7 weeks in length.  Does that mean you should wait until the end of April to start training, ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Instead, start now by walking 30 minutes a day then jump into a plan in a few weeks, or start with a 6-week plan now but repeat each week before moving on.  

Once you’ve found the right plan, you’ll be one step closer to reaching that finish line in June.  But as Robert Burns said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  Be patient with yourself as you work towards this new goal.  Life happens and you’ll occasionally miss a workout or two.  It’s okay! Stick with it and don’t let a misstep set you back.  

Haven’t signed up for Wabash Run the River?  What are you waiting for?

Sign up today and be sure to refer a friend!

– Happy Running – 

Training programs to consider

5k Training Plan HERE

10k Training Plan HERE

Half Marathon Training Plan HERE

*Wabash Run the River is a program of Visit Wabash County. Those interested in participating or volunteering for the event can get more information by going online to or by calling the Welcome Center at 260-563-7171.