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Page 1 2 Summary: If you have 16 weeks before your race. At least four weeks of steady running to get your heart ready for: Five weeks of twice weekly short intervals... 100s and 200s; then: Six weeks of long repetitions.

Weeks 1 to 4... run 3 to 4 miles easy on 4 days per week. Then:
  Sun Tues Thurs Sat
Wk 5... 4E 12 x 100 4E 16 x 100
Wk 6... 4E 16 x 100 4E 20 x 100
Wk 7... 4E 8 x 200 4E 12 x 200
Wk 8... 4E 20 x 100 4E 16 x 200
Wk 9A... 4E 20 x 100 4E 16 x 200
Wk 10... 4E 20 x 100 4E 3 x 800 meters
Wk 11... 4E 16 x 200 4E 2 x one mile
Wk 12... 4E 20 x 100 4E 3 x 1,200 m
Wk 13... 4E 16 x 200 4E 4 x 800 meters
Wk 14... 4E 20 x 100 3E 2 x one mile
Wk 15... 4E 12 x 200 3E 2 x 1,200 m
Wk 16... 3E 8 x 200 2E Time trial or 5K

Got Six months?

As above but after week 9A, add five weeks of hills or other resistance training once a week, (weeks 9B to 9F below) while maintaining one session of short repeats. Then, do at least five weeks of Intervals weeks 9G to 9K. Do 400s and 300 meter repeats once every two weeks at 10 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace; on alternate weeks, do 600 meter reps at 5 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace.

Depending on how harsh you'd like your training to be, you can run hills or the 100s and 200s for your other speed session during 9G to 9K. Running hills every two weeks works well for most runners because you'll continue to get stronger (weeks G to K below). Finish with the six weeks of long repetitions, (weeks 10 to 16 of the shorter program) which will actually be weeks 20 to 26 for you. For those of you doing the 26 week option, it would be prudent to run hills instead of 100s in weeks 9H and 9J, which are actually weeks 22 and 24 for you) to maintain your leg strength. You can also "run" a race at 5K once a month instead of the Saturday session. That means not aiming for a fast time.

Weeks One to 9A as above, then:
  Sun Tues Thurs Sat
Wk 9B... 4E 20 x 100 4E 8 x 60 second hill
Wk 9C... 4E 16 x 200 4E 4 x 2 minute hill
Wk 9D... 4E 20 x 100 4E 10 x 60 second hill
Wk 9E... 4E 16 x 200 4E 5 x 2 minute hill
Wk 9F... 4E 20 x 100 4E 10 x 60 second hill
Wk 9G... 4E 16 x 200 4E 4 x 400 & 3 x 300 meters
Wk 9H... 4E Hill reps 4E 5 x 600 meters
Wk 9 I... 4E 16 x 200 4E 4 x 400 & 5 x 300 meters
Wk 9J... 4E Hill reps 4E 6 x 600 meters
Wk 9K... 4E 16 x 200 4E 5 x 400 & 5 x 300 meters

Then you'll do weeks 10 to 16 of the 16 week schedule, though they will actually be weeks 20 to 26 for you.

Think a 5K race still too much for you? Start the 5K at a slower pace because then it will not hurt you. You stay in control. Or enter a street mile race. Most cities have them. Do the training from this web page while also doing some striders at about mile race pace, then make sure that you run the first quarter of a mile in your race at a sensible pace. This way you'll enjoy the second quarter mile and perhaps the last quarter as you stride to the finish. The real hurting, if you race really fast, occurs in the third quarter of a race. Page 1 2

This program was adapted from 5K Fitness Run: Walk, Jog & Train for Fun, Health & to Race the 5K pages 122 to 126, by its author David Holt. 5K Fitness Run includes many more programs at 12 to 30 miles per week.