Six-week Intermediate 5K Schedule

A basic 5K schedule for anyone who can run for 30 minutes, four times a week

Posted: 6 May 2000


Mon Rest
Tue 20-25 mins easy
Wed Rest
Thu 10 mins easy, then 4 x 1 min brisk with 2-min jog recoveries, then 10 mins easy
Fri Rest
Sat 20 mins easy
Sun 30 mins easy


Mon Rest
Tue 20-25 mins easy
Wed Rest
Thu 10 mins easy, then 4-5 x 90 secs brisk with 2.5-min jog recoveries, then 10 mins easy
Fri Rest
Sat 20 mins easy
Sun 35 mins easy


Mon Rest
Tue 25-30 mins easy
Wed Rest
Thu 10 mins easy, then 20 mins fartlek (free-form fast and slow running)
Fri Rest
Sat 25 mins easy
Sun 40 mins easy


Mon Rest
Tue 10 mins easy, then stretch, then 1 measured mile, timed, fast, then 10 mins easy
Wed Rest
Thu 10 mins easy, then 20 mins fartlek, then 10 mins easy
Fri Rest
Sat 20 mins easy
Sun 45 mins easy


Mon Rest
Tue 25-30 mins easy
Wed Rest
Thu 10 mins easy, then 3 x 3 mins brisk with 3-min jog recoveries, then 10 mins easy
Fri Rest
Sat 25 mins easy
Sun 35 mins easy


Mon Rest
Tue 25 mins easy, incorporating 6 x 20-40 seconds faster-paced running
Wed Rest
Thu 20-25 mins easy
Fri Rest
Sat 15 mins easy or rest
Sun 5K Race!

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5K schedule

Discuss this article


Any advice welcome for my "predicament".  I am a bit of a gym freak and can run non stop very comfortably on the treadmill at speed of 10 for over 60 mins but when I try to run outside, I can hardly manage it!  I have tried setting an incline on the treadmill but again this does not appear to help?!

Have a possible place in the Marathon next year and don't want to fudge it up by not being able to run for any longer than 20 mins!

Thanks for any help

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 14:31

You're probably running too fast when you're outside.  It can take a while to establish your comfort pace without the treadmill.  Slow down a bit and see how you do.
Posted: 12/05/2009 at 14:36

Thanks, will give that another go.  Did try going quite a bit slower before but then ended up with really sore knees?! 

Will try again though as don't want to be stuck running indoors for the rest of my life! 

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 14:47

Yeah, you get used to the treadmill setting your pace for you, so you have no way to judge pace without it, as a result you are probably running way too fast outside.

As for the knees, outside is tougher on the legs, I assume you are running in the correct shoe for your gait?.

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 14:50

Ah its a bit more clear!  I just get really frustrated with myself thinking I should be able to at least run for 20  mins without being so out of breath!

Yes I went to a proper running shop and got fitted out for shoes, think its more likely the trying to run too quickly!

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 15:01

The best way to do it is forget about pace for the time being, and concetrate on you PE (Percieved effort), try and get your PE outside, the same as you remember your PE being inside, also the "talk" test is a good one, have a little chat with yourself while you are running, if you struggle to string more than 3 or 4 words together, slow down untill you can.

Running outside it tougher (physically), but oh so much more rewarding.

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 15:08

Thanks for the advice and encouragement.  I will start tonight, skip the gym and run outside instead.

I do often think about what I am missing by staying indoors!


Posted: 12/05/2009 at 15:11

Good luck, let us know how you get on.
Posted: 12/05/2009 at 15:15

I love it outside. I ran through a little meadow yesterday and the bluebells were in full bloom......

That's better than Jasper Carrott and Golden Balls anyday of the week on the telly in the gym......

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 16:39

Haha!  Defo better than that cruddy telly programme, though to be honest I put my Ipod on and take my glasses off so I can't actually see the TV, I feel better knowing its all a blur.....!!! hee hee


Posted: 12/05/2009 at 17:10

Hi -I was a 100% indoors runner for about 2 years, and I've successfully trained for a first marathon primarily on tready, but have now taken to the streets, as it's so much nicer- I'll still revert to tready for speed interval sesions, or if it's pi$$ing rain outside.

I always put tready to 1% incline. I bought a Garmin for outdoors running- it  is the best way I could come up with to pace myself, and I have slowly built up my outdoors distances- it takes a bit of getting used to ,but you'll get there- and on a day like this, it's a crime to be indoors!

Posted: 12/05/2009 at 20:14

 Hi All,  Im interested in knowing how accurate the distances are on a treadmill to being outdoors as I ran for 27mins on TM and it said 5.1km but last thursday I ran for 38mins at park and i had covered 7km . Does that sound right?
Posted: 12/05/2009 at 22:39

I have no idea how accurate treadmills are, there is no easy way to check, but I wouldn't take them as accurate.
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 07:14

I've used Nike+ on a treadmill and all of the numbers were completely different.  I'd stick to the Nike+ (or other fine device) as it is calibrated to your specifics.  I've used a treadmill quite a lot and now stick to outdoor running, it's only really good for increasing oxygen intake, and then it's nasty gym air, not fresh London air (lol!)
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 07:57

I run both outdoors and on the treadmill - like Delirium I struggled with the change from gym to road.... however I purchased a polar HR with shoe pod sometime ago and found that I was running much faster on the road than in the gym e.g. in the gym I run at around 7mph but on the road it was nearer 8.5mph and I was kna***ed after 20mins - by adjusting my pace to just under 8mph on the road I found I could run for much longer and retrun more 'refreshed' - its all about pace !!!!
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 09:24

Hmm - interesting thread. I started running indoors about a month ago, purely to do some sort of excercise and I happened to have a decent TM at home. However, in the last week or so, having progressed quite nicely (albeit slowly) on the Treadmill, I have started to think about going "outside".

I too was wondering about the accuracy of the TM, so I'll keep an eye on that. I have a slight niggle at the mo but once that clears up I'm going to brave the outside world. We'll see how it goes !

Posted: 13/05/2009 at 09:32

i use Nike+ outside as well - although i've just had to buy a new sensor. this needed calibrating - which i thought i'd do on a treadmill. all seemed fine until i went running round a known 5k loop of bushy park. my Nike+ only measured 4.3k. next day i calibrated it on a straight 1k run, then did another 4k - total = 4.4k!!?? bloomin' confusing. my old sensor was much more accurate and i can't seem to get this one even close! any ideas? back to the treadmill?

Posted: 13/05/2009 at 09:36

Only idea I can suggest is get a GPS based system, not 100% accurate, but bloody close, my last 10k came out at 6.23 miles on my 405, which is a fraction of a percent out.
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 09:42

inho-treadmills are only good for:

a) gentle rehab after certain lower limb injuries

b) training for...treadmill races!

They are part of the gym myth conspiracy in order for you to pay gym fees!

Running outside has so many advantages!

Posted: 13/05/2009 at 09:49

Did all my running for years on the dreadmill, but thanks to some advice from Wilkie managed to pluck up the courage to run outside. Could run easily for two hours a day on dreadmill but my first run outside had my legs burning and after an hour was close to chucking up. Found running outside so hard to start with, then a couple of people advised me to slow down and it has made all the difference. Can do my two hours now. It took just over a month for me to get used to outdoor running but are so glad i stuck with it. Trust the advice you have been given by others on this thread. It may take time but you will get there. I only use the dready for speed sessions now, totally converted.
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 15:12

Running on the treadmill has its benefits (speed training, bad weather, burns calories etc )

But nothing can beat outdoor running - so much fresher, fitness improvements, time goes by nicely without you even noticing, get to nose inside peoples living rooms as you pass by etc etc.
Posted: 13/05/2009 at 21:08

You forget the important one.

If you need an urgent poo - I'd rather be in the gym.....

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 09:40

I belong to a well known chain and for the past three weeks there A/C unit in the Gym has been out of action so running is far too hot!

Step outside and running even in the midday sun at the weekend was better than in the gym.  Today I'm canceling my membership and getting out!

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 10:56

We haven't even GOT air-con in our £2,000 a year (for a family of four gym)! We have an air-cooling system (which is code for cheap crap that never works)

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 12:52

Hi there !!! I done exactly the same !!! been running on the treadmill for 2 months and decided to pluck up the courage to go outside. I ran out of the house like a greyhound ! nearly collapsing round the corner, I had to sit at a bus stop to get my breath back !! Regardless I carried on and ran for 15 mins very slowly, back home to lick my wounds. Keep trying, it can only get better.
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 13:07

Dual Heritage wrote (see)
...get to nose inside peoples living rooms as you pass by etc etc.
Hahaha, glad it's not just me
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 13:44

Been running outside for a month or so now and I find it much easier to run.  I am quite tall at 6'4" so I find the treadmill a little stiffling like I am not getting a full stride.  Outside I am able to run much better and do actually find it easier.  My pace is faster and I want to go further and do more!  Smiles all round for me and running outside!
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 14:01

My wife began the c25k program using the treadmill, (on the basis that if she ran outside people would "look at " her), and the first time I could persuade her out into the real world she took off like a scalded cat and was too knackered to carry on after 5 minutes: too fast....

I keep trying to persuade her out into the real world on the basis that she will never be able to do a decent 5k fun run if she continues with this indoor running - and that despite the effort she is putting in, she just isnt getting the proper benefits of running.

I got her out last week on the promise that I'd run with her nice and slow so she wouldnt feel daft on her own. We "ran" 10.5 to 11 minute miles for half an hour and she was exhausted at the end - managed the full half hour time, (because I had the watch and I lied to her and said she had only done 23 minutes), but not the distance.

 So for the first time I gave the treadmill a go myself to see what  the difference is....


I can run almost 20% and cover 20% more distance on the treadmill than in real life! I also ended up with extremely sore knees no doubt caused by too big a stridfe pattern and going faster than my legs can genuinely cope with.

My conclusions?

Treadmills are RUBBISH!

Get out there and experience real life not virtual running!

The wind and the rain are there to remind you that you are alive!

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 14:08

I find that I can't run as far on a treadmill because I start to lose concentration due to me getting so BORED. There's only so much of staring at the gym carpark roof that one can take!
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 14:13

I think they have there place in recovering from injury or for people who maybe work unsocial hours and don't want to run in the dark...  But Once you discover the open road/path/grass under your trainers theres no going back!

Plus quitting the gym means I'll have more money for running kit & races!  Woohoo!!!!!

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 15:34

picking up on the unsociable hours comment - lone female runners may prefer to train on the TM rather than run outside in the dark...
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 15:43

I have to admit that the occasion that I used the treadmill it was cold and windy outside so it was - ahem - "convenient" to use this as an opportunity to test out treadmill running, (plus I'd spent £150 on it for the wife and never used it myself!).

With it conveniently positioned next to the hifi, with my tropical fish tank directly in front, it was quite a surreal experience to watch the fish going about their business whilst pounding the miles out!

Got to agree though - nosing through peoples windows when running at night is much more interesting! I find it helps to motivate me  to look at folk slobbed out in front of the TV as I run past outside.

Reminds me of what I'd be doing if I wasnt running!

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 15:46

Treadmills are great for people like me with joint problems - I train on them 90% of the time then a few outdoor runs before an event so I don't end up on crutches every few months. Helps with 'learning' different paces as well.

I also find tm's way better for mental stamina training - having run up to 18 miles on a tm outdoors long runs were not nearly as tough as I expected. 

Posted: 14/05/2009 at 17:49

I have a knee problem and believe it or not the pain has completely gone since i have been running outside !! only conclusion i can come to is that on the tready my running style or the muscles i use on the tready, must be completely different to outside. Not sure why this has happened but my knee has been fantastic since ditching the treadmill.
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 18:03

I do my training part treadmill part outside. I find the treadmill usefull for speed sessions and hills. Outside is great for the freshair and to get your body used to road or track running/racing. There are pros and cons either way ( and I'm staying on that fence ).
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 18:08

Thats definately the wisest comment on this thread!! Theres obviously pros and cons it will work for some and not for others, ive just bought one and find it extremely convenient when I get  back from work. b ut its not like running outside . Youve got to accept that but also use a tready to your advantage aswell cos its still gets your hhr going.
Posted: 14/05/2009 at 22:00

Oh god yeah !!! completely agree with both Thera and Hemo. I still use the tready for my speed sessions. It definitely has it's place. I was just surprised after having used it solely for so many years that running outdoors could feel so different. I expected them to both feel the same. A healthy mix of both is what i do now but the vast majority of my running is done outdoors.

Posted: 15/05/2009 at 13:22


 Just need to be patient, treadmills are usefull especially if it's raining and cold.  Try going at a slower pace & try alternating between walking and running, untill you become acustomed to outside running.

Being Patient is the key.....  Good luck

Posted: 29/05/2009 at 23:28

What about running on grass, say next to the river?

I have been running now for 3 months and I enjoy the treadmill.  Last week went on holiday to the inlaws house in France and ran outside for the frist time around some lanes and found myself a little slower which I expected.

Today I decided to run from our house down to the river which is quarter of a mile from home and then along the bank where the grass is short. It felt like I had my aces tied together the moment I left the hard road / path surface and went onto the grass. I now the surface is bobbly and has some small dips but I found this extremely hard work.

 My pace per mile worsened by almost 10% today.

I've been reading about runnig outside and on roads I am happy but is it the grass or did I have a bad day or something? I am a plodder and usually run about 3 miles at around 10 minute per mile pace.

Posted: 02/06/2009 at 17:36

JB - I always run slower on grass. It's harder work because it's softer than tarmac/concrete but it's also better for your joints. I try to do as much running off-road as possible.

I hate the treadmill and only use it in extreme circumstances - like if I'm recovering from injury. I also find that I run slower on it than I do outside - I think it's the fear of falling off .

Posted: 03/06/2009 at 09:10

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