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The 5K is the most intense event out of the 4 classical road race distances. Given the same training level, a marathon runner will not beat a 5K runner over the 5K.


5K race intensity

  • 60% of your maximal speed
  • 95% of your VO2max
  • 6.2mmol/L of blood lactate (LT = 4mmol/L)

5K energy supply

  • 92% aerobic
  • 8% anaerobic

5K muscle fiber recruitment

  • 100% of your slow-twitch fibers
  • 87% of your intermediate fast-twitch fibers
  • 55% of your super fast-twitch fibers


5K training requires a unique combination of maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), lactate threshold/tolerance, maximal running speed, resistance to fatigue, and running economy. In order to maximize these variables, you will need to carry out your training in different training zones.


What’s more, peak performance training requires a logical sequence where one adaptation piggybacks on another. I’m an advocate of non-linear periodization (multi-pace training) where the emphasis transitions from general to 5K-specific pace.


Focus Block 1 = Twin-Base

Highly polarized training with a focus on the extreme ends of the pace spectrum.

>>> General Endurance + Maximal Speed


Focus Block 2 = Conditioning

The inclusion of middle-paces that develop your fitness to maximal levels.

>>> Lactate Threshold + VO2max


Focus Block 3 = Race-Specific

Emphasis on 5K-specific training while all other variables are maintained.

>>> 5K Race-Specific Endurance + Economy

5K Training Plans

Faster times from the 5K to the marathon are not just the result of training more or harder. Start training with the non-linear periodization method used by professional athletes and elite coaches.

You can choose 5K training plans from 4 levels or have one custom made for you.

Elevate your aerobic capacity (VO2max)
Boost your lactate threshold/tolerance
Increase your neuromuscular power
Upgrade your fatigue resistance
Improve your running economy

5K Beginner

8-week plan
3 running days/week
10 miles/week (16 km/week)

5K Intermediate

8-week plan
3 - 5 running days/week
20 miles/week (32 km/week)

5K Advanced

8-week plan
4 - 6 running days/week
30 miles/week (48 km/week)

5K Pre-Elite

8-week plan
5 - 7 running days/week
40 miles/week (64 km/week)

5K Custom

Do you prefer a plan handcrafted for you?

See more details...