5K Progressive Training Runs

By Rick Morris

Successful 5K running requires the ability to run negative splits and pick up your pace to near sprint speed in the final 400 meters when you already feel like a big grizzly bear has jumped on your back. 5K progressive training runs are a great way to train for negative splits and run strong when that bear is all over you. Here are some progressive training runs designed for the 5K distance.

Classic 5K Progressive Run

This is a very simple 5K progression run that’s based on the classic progression used for all race distances.

  • Description: 6 miles or 10K at a steadily increasing pace.
  • Pace: Begin this run at an easy pace. After you feel fully warmed up gradually but steadily increase your pace throughout the rest of your training run so that you are running at 5K pace for the final 1 mile.
  • Recovery – None

5K Negative Split Progression

This is a good progressive workout to train you for negative splits without the risk of over training.

  • Description: 4 miles at an increasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 2 miles at 10K pace then speed up to 5K pace for the final 2 miles.
  • Recovery: None

5K Race Simulator Compound Set

This progressive run uses a combination of negative splits and a fast finish to simulate an actual 5K race.

  • Description: 2 x 5K at increasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first two miles at 10K pace, the third mile at 5K pace and the final .1 miles at sprint pace. Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat.
  • Recovery: None within each compound set. Recover with 3 minutes of rest between the compound sets.

5K Long Run Progression

Long Runs aren’t just for marathon training. Here is a long progressive run for the 5K distance.

  • Description: 12 miles at increasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 8 miles at an easy pace. Speed up to 10K pace for the next 2 miles. Then increase your pace to 5K speed for 1.5 miles and finish with .5 miles at 3K pace or about 10 to 15 seconds per mile faster than your 5K pace.
  • Recovery: None except for hydration breaks

5K Speed Progression

The 5K is all about speed and toughness. This progressive training run will improve both.

  • Description: 5K at increasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first mile at 10K pace. The gradually increase your speed over the final 2.1 miles from 10K pace to 800 meter pace.
  • Recovery: None

5K Hill Progression

You need a long hill for this workout. If you don’t have an appropriate hill in your neighborhood you can do this one on your treadmill.

  • Description: 3 miles or 5K at increasing pace on a moderate to steep hill or a treadmill at 8% incline.
  • Pace: Begin this run at an easy pace. Gradually increase your speed to 5K pace so that you are running the final 800 meters at 5K pace. Jog down the hill as a cool down.
  • Recovery: None except for the easy run down the hill.