5k Training Plan

5k Training Plans: Couch-to-5k down to 16 minute training plans

Welcome to the 5k training plan section. 5000 meters, 3.1 miles, or perhaps 16404 feet…whichever way you want to define the distance, the 5k race distance is an ideal running challenge for beginners and pro’s alike.

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It serves as a great introductory distance for the beginner racer or people new to running, while also being a good test of strength and speed for the more experienced runner.

Following a structured training plan that has clearly defined training components that are tailored to your current level and time aspiration, will help you train smarter to achieve your goals.
We have tried and tested training plans suitable for beginners to advanced athletes that target a particular race time so you can focus on getting that new PB.

Couch-to-5k  * 5k Training Plan for Beginners * Sub 30 Minute 5k Training Plan * 28 Minute 5k * 26 Minute 5k * 24 Minute 5k Training Plan * 22 Minute 5k Training Plan * Sub 20 5k Training Plan * 18 Minute 5k Training Plan * 16 Minute 5k Training Plan


We have put together beginner, intermediate and advanced 5k training plans for runners of all abilities, so even if you are looking for a 5k training plan for beginners, or you want to join the sub 20 5k club, we have a training plan for you.

Completely new to running? Then try our couch-to-5k plan first.

Select a 5km Training Plan to get Started

All of the training plans on this site are cyclical plans, in that they are comprised of blocks of training of three to four weeks that you can repeat and tweak as you see fit. Regardless of your current ability or ambitions, the plans were designed to be specific to a particular target time to give runners the best possible chance of achieving their goals.

Please take a moment to read our FAQs before starting any of the training plans on this site.

BeginnersIntermediateAdvanced
Couch to 5k Training PlanSub 30 Minute 5k (9:39 per mile)22 minute 5k (7:03 per mile)
5k Training Plan for Beginners28 minute 5k (9:00 per mile)Sub 20 minute 5k (6:25 per mile)
26 minute 5k (8:21 per mile)18 minute 5k (5:45 per mile)
24 minute 5k (7:42 per mile)16 minute 5k (5:10 per mile)

Your Training Plan Components

Whichever training plan you are using, the sessions within the plan will be tailored specifically to get you to a target time. For 5km training, the sessions will largely consist of the following components:

  • Steady Paced ‘Easy’ Runs – does exactly what it say’s on the tin. Nice gentle paced recovery run where you can enjoy the scenery. These will vary in length but expect 15-35 minutes as standard depending on which training plan you are following. These are largely run at a pace 60 secs slower per mile than your target race pace.
  • High Intensity Interval Training – crucial addition to your training plan and these speed sessions will vary between 400 meter and 1 km reps targeted at your required race pace. Can be done outside at a track or indoors on a decent treadmill.
  • Hill Sessions – hill sprints for improving running strength and form. See our Hill Sprints and Kenyan Hills training page for some examples.
  • Fartlek Sessions – time-based derivative of speed interval training. These sessions are medium-hard, but playful.
  • Long Runs – the ‘time on your feet’ run. For 5km runs this doesn’t really need to be any longer than 10 miles (16km).
  • Rest /Cross Training – last but definitely not least. Rest is a vital part of any training plan and should not be overlooked. These days will benefit you both physically and mentally.

Looking for a 10k Training Plan Instead?

Check out the 10k training plan section for structured training plans from a 60 minute 10k down to a 35 minute 10k.