The Best Running Workout Plan (Schedule, Training & Program)

man running

The best running training and running schedule isn’t guesswork—it comes down to following a personalized running plan that works for you.

When you’re planning for a race, there’s no shortage of running schedules you can find on the internet or in books. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve created the only running plan you’ll need that you can tailor towards a 5k, a 10k or a half marathon race. Read on for tips and a sample week for each race length that will have you feeling prepared and confident on race day!

The Only Running Plan You Need

Whether you’re focused on weight loss or simply living a more healthy lifestyle, training for a 5k is a great place to start, and you’ll only need about six weeks to train from start to finish. For a 10k race, you’ll need about 10 weeks, and for a half marathon, you’ll need about 12-14, depending on your starting fitness level. Find the right running shoes, choose the appropriate running schedule, and try out this sample week plan to get you ready for your race:

running shoes

Monday Running Plan: Mobility Day

We’ll start off easy with some mobility training each week. For example, you can do some yoga or pilates to get your muscles stretched out, toned, and reduce your risk of injury. Follow along for a yoga routine for runners:

Training tip: If you’re training for a 10k or half-marathon, you can add in a light run or some cross-training, like swimming or the elliptical for 20-30 minutes.

Tuesday Running Plan: Run Drills

Today we run!

  • If you’re training for a 5k, start with a solid warm-up and then run for 10-20 minutes, depending on your fitness level. For example, if you’re just starting out, jog for 30 seconds and take a walk break for 30 seconds for 10 minutes. If you’re more experienced, you can run for 15-20 minutes.
  • If you’re training for a 10k, you should be able to run for at least 20 minutes without stopping from the get-go of your training plan. Increase the distance you run every week on this day by about 10 percent, depending on how you’re feeling that day.
  • For the half-marathon trainers, start out with a 30-minute run. Again, increase this by about 10% each week throughout your running program.

Most importantly, no matter what race distance you are training for, Tuesdays will focus on a run drill of some sort. For example, you might focus on nose breathing where you take five to ten deep nose breaths each minute, proper arm swing, or your cadence.

Want to know more about proper arm swing? Check out this video:

To improve your cadence, follow along here:

Wednesday Running Plan: Strength Training and Agility Day

There’s no denying that strength and agility workouts can be rough and certainly get your heart rate up, but they are worth it and pay off in the end! We’ll do a ladder workout, which is a type of repetitive workout where the number of times you perform a group of exercises changes as you step down the ladder.

man doing strength training

These workouts can include strength exercises such as mountain climbers, burpees, high knees, butt kicks, and more–it’s up to you to customize it.

  • If you’re starting out training for a 5k, aim for a 20-25 minute workout,
  • For 10ker’s let’s look at 30-35 minutes.
  • If you’re training for the half marathon, carve out 45 minutes for this one. And remember, challenge and push yourself a bit more each week.

If you’re looking for a good sample strength and agility drills, check out this video:

Thursday Running Plan: Speed Work

Whether you’re running a 5k or a half-marathon, you have the need for speed, and we get that through weekly speed workouts. There’s a variety of workouts you can do such as a tempo run, hill intervals, or fartleks (which means “speed play).

woman running up grass hill

Start out where you are comfortable. That might mean doing three to five hill intervals or a 15-minute tempo run if you are starting out. If you’re more advanced, it might mean a 45-minute tempo run or 10 hill repeats. Make sure to follow these workouts up with a proper cool down.

Want to know more about what each type of speed workout looks like, including fartleks? Watch here:

Friday Running Plan: Core and Stability Work

Today we take a break from running to get us ready for a long run tomorrow by focusing on core and stability work. This running workout plan should take about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the distance you are training for. You’re still getting beneficial work in, but also allowing your legs to rest.

Core and stability exercises include things like planks, sit-ups, V-ups, Russian twists, squats, push-ups, and more. You shouldn’t need much equipment at all, but some simple weights and a medicine ball can be helpful if you want an extra challenge.

Here’s a great example of core and stability running workout you can incorporate into your Friday workouts:

Saturday Running Plan: The Long Run

No matter what race distance you are training for, a weekly long run is a key part of your running plan. But how long–and how hard? Regardless of the length of your run, you should be running at a conversational pace.

  • If you’re starting up training for a 5k and are a beginner runner, this could mean three miles to begin with, upping it by 10 percent each week.
  • If you’re advanced and training for a half marathon, you might start with six miles and work up to at least 10 miles.
  • No matter what, listen to your body and adjust as needed!

Sunday Running Plan: Fun Day or Cross-Training

The last week of the day is your day. That means being active but keeping it low key so your body can recover but still doing something active that you enjoy. It’s up to you!

Here are some great ideas:

  • Go for a walk with a friend
  • Play frisbee with a group
  • Play with your kids at the park
  • Go swimming outside
  • Play golf (but walk rather than riding the cart)!
  • Put together a fun kickball game

You get the gist, just enjoy the day and get your body moving! It’s a fun way to break up your running routine and remember what it’s all about—doing something you love.

Access Running Plans on Your Schedule

Want more running plans and example running schedules? We have plans to help you finish a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or even full marathon—and it’s all in our mobile app. We have running workout plans, running schedules for beginners, and easy-to-follow routines that you’ll pick up in no time.

Let’s do this! Don’t forget to download our new mobile app for access to coaching advice, daily video workouts, injury prevention tips, and complete training programs that will help motivate and inspire your training program!