Hannah Ebelthite is a freelance health, fitness and wellbeing writer. With nearly two decades experience in journalism, she has held staff posts on Cosmopolitan, Zest and Healthy magazines, and writes for a wide range of...

Your 5K training schedule has been devised for you by Andy Baddeley. Andy has competed at two Olympic games over 1500m for Team GB, and holds the world record for parkrun (weekly timed 5K runs). Since retiring from professional running at the end of 2016, Andy has worked as a full-time running coach.


Running should be fun and feel rewarding, Andy believes. ‘Most beginners start with 5K as a distance goal to cover, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good racing goal, too,’ he says. ‘There’s always a faster time or a different terrain to try out (on a track or on the trails instead of a road, say). This training plan doesn’t specify pace, so you can adapt it to your speed or experience.’

As with all these plans, ‘easy’ means a pace where you can easily chat; ‘steady’ means you’d struggle to hold a conversation, but are still able to respond to simple questions; and ‘hard’ or ‘quicker’ means you can only utter single words and are working at race pace or faster.


Checklist for starting 
this plan…

> You’ve covered 5K as a distance before. You may have completed (or be working on) a couch-to-5K walk/run plan, or be working towards a faster 5K time.

> You’re willing and able to make time to run three times a week

> You have a 5K goal in mind. You may be targeting a new parkrun personal best time (PB). If so, instead of just racing your hardest every Saturday, follow this plan and build up to it (being ready to adjust your goal if you find yourself naturally getting faster during training!). Or find 
a local race or charity run to target.


Andy’s coaching notes

> Get into a familiar routine for any run, training session or race. It will help you prepare mentally and physically, and it can be reassuring if you’re a bit nervous. Aim for at least 10 minutes of easy jogging followed by some dynamic drills if you’re familiar with them (if you run with a club you may be – if not there’s lots of guidance available online).

> Do up to 4 ‘strides’ after your warm-up, before beginning the session or race. This is where you run 80–100m at a fast pace, to get your legs ready for running a bit faster.

> To cool down, get some extra layers on for an easy 10-minute jog. Then work through some stretching or foam rolling back inside in the warm.

> Keep track of your training. You can write it down as a training log, but it’s far easier to use a social network such as Strava ( This will track your activities and help you find like-minded runners and clubs to join. It’s a great way of seeing your progress – and of keeping you honest!

> Never try anything new on race days. This applies to eating and drinking (be careful with timings and with coffee), shoes, clothes, warming up and cooling down.




Click on the image above for the full training schedule.