Ask the Coach: Training for a five-mile run

Q. I am currently running two miles twice a week and a three-mile run on the weekend. I'm thinking of signing up for a five-mile run on Thanksgiving Day. Do you think I have enough time for training to add two miles to my workouts?

Also, how do you suggest I add on the miles? Just one or two runs per week or all my runs? I need help with training.

A. You have about eight-and-a-half weeks between September 26 and the Thanksgiving run, plenty of time to be ready for five miles. There are lots of ways to go, but let's just hold your weekday runs constant in this model. For planning purposes, I'm going to assume your run Tuesday, Thursday and one weekend day. Your run mileage on those days, of the following weeks could look something like:

Week of: Distance (Tues/Thurs/Weekend day)
9/26 2 miles / 2 miles / 3.5 miles
10/3 2 miles / 2 miles / 4 miles
10/10 2 miles / 2 miles / 3 miles (recovery week)
10/17 2 miles / 2 miles / 4.5 miles
10/24 2 miles / 2 miles / 5 miles
10/31 2 miles / 2 miles / 3 miles (recovery week)
11/7 2 miles / 2 miles / 5-5.5 miles
11/14 2 miles / 3 miles / 2 miles
11/21 1-2 miles / 5-mile race / no run or an easy 2 miles

Good luck at the race and have fun!

Do you have a specific training or sport related question? Have world-renowned coach Gale Bernhardt answer it! Send your questions to

Previous topics:

  • Pre-run eating
  • Incorporating rest weeks
  • Getting comfortable with triathlon swim starts
  • Fueling for early morning runs

  • Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic Coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

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