16 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace: 5:10 per mile/ 3:13 p/km for a 16 Minute 5k

Successfully running a 16 minute 5k means you will need to be able to run slightly faster than a target race pace of 5:10 minute per mile pace for the full 3.1 mile distance.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 16 minute 5k

Pace per Mile / KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
05:05 / 03:1011.8 mph / 18.8 km/h76 / 2:3215min 50s
05:10 / 03:1311.6 mph / 18.5 km/h77 / 2:3416min 00s
05:15 / 03:1611.4 mph / 18.2 km/h78 / 2:3616min 20s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.

Like all of our training plans, the 16 minute 5k training plan will occassionally require you to run slightly faster than the required race pace for short durations, so before starting any of our plans ensure that you are able to run at your target race pace for at least 1km or preferably a mile.

If you are not quite there yet then take a look at the 18 minute 5k training plan instead and then come back to this one once you are in a position to run at this pace for a km.

Other 5k training plans: 16 minute 5k || 18 minute 5k || Sub 20 5k || 22 minute 5k || 24 minute 5k || 26 minute 5k || 28 minute 5k || Sub 30 minute 5k || Couch to 5k Training Plan

Your 16 minute 5k Training Plan

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions
Signs of Overtraining
130mins easy4x1km
[email protected]:13 per km/ 5:10p/m (90s rec.)
30mins easyHill Sprints
Rest/Cross-train30mins easyLong Run
230mins easy10x400m
[email protected] per 400m / 5:00p/m (60s rec.)
30mins easyKenyan Hills
RestTempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
Long Run
3Tempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
[email protected]:13 per km/ 5:10p/m (90s rec.)
30mins easyFartlek
Rest/Cross-train30mins easyLong Run
Rec. WeekRest/Cross-trainRest/Cross-trainTempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
Rest/Cross-train30mins easyRest/Cross-trainRest/ Cross-train

Time commitment: circa 3-4 hours of work a week over the course of the sub 16 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 16 minute 5k training plan

These sessions are used for maintaining fitness & recovery. Preparing you for breakthrough sessions:

  • Steady Run – this should be no quicker than 06:00 p/m, ideally aim for something in region of 06:15-06:45 p/m.
  • Long Run – slow & steady run, this should be less than 1 hour.
  • Fartlek – unstructured training. Example Fartlek sessions.

Breakthrough Sessions – 16 minute 5k training plan

These sessions are meant to be challenging intense efforts, treat them as mini-milestones towards your target:

  • 400m Reps – these need to be at 5:00 p/m pace (74s per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 5:10p/m pace (2:34 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery
  • 1km Intervals – hit 5:10p/m pace (3:13 per km) with a 90sec jogged recovery.
  • Hills: Kenyans/ Hill Sprints – alternate between Kenyans and Hill Sprints to get a balance of power and endurance training. Example Hill Training Sessions.

The core work for the 16 minute 5k training plan is set over a 3-week period with the addition of 1 week’s recovery. At the end of the first 4-week cycle you can repeat and/or tailor the plan to your individual needs to focus on your particular 5k event.

It is recommended that after three months following the 16 minute 5k plan that you reduce your training for a period of one to two weeks to allow your body time to recover from the impact of running. This should mean more time cross-training with a couple of nice easy runs every few days to keep the legs ticking over.

17 Responses

  1. Girish says:

    As of today, I can’t believe that 5K distance is completed by folks in 15-16minutes. Amazing and hats off !!

    I guess, I’m the tortoise in the 5k running community, completing the distance in 26-27 minutes :).

  2. Jay says:

    My 5K PR is 16:10 and like others have stated, before you even think about speed work you need to have a solid base to work off of. A solid 9-12 weeks of building a solid base is typically what my coaches have taught me. This gives you time to build up the miles and begin to get comfortable with doing high mile weeks. This should be done gradually. Start the 1st week around 20-25 miles and by week 12, you should be at 65+ miles with the middle of that time you consistently running 45-55 miles. This will help build the strength and endurance that you need. Now you may want to throw in tempo runs/fartleks from the 7th-12th week but don’t overdo it. Just see where your body is. Perhaps a 5K time trial in the 10th week can benefit you to see how in shape you are and give you something to work off of. Post 10 weeks, the hard workouts can begin (10x400s, 5x1600s, and 6x800s etc). Even when you start doing those 400, 800, 1600 repeats, you gradually have to get into running faster. The first few workouts you’ll need to run slower than goal pace to adjust your fast twitch muscles. Once your body feels comfortable, those quicker times can be ran (5:04 or faster for the mile repeats, 2:25 or faster for the 800s and 1:12 or faster for the 400s).

    • Jay says:

      ***Also, I was always more of a 800 meter/1600 meter guy but ran XC and never would run over 50 miles. Getting into the 60-70 mile range could’ve benefited me and helped me break 15:30.

  3. Kevin says:

    To run a 16:00 5k you need months of doing aerobic long distance base work work before you can even think about the speed / endurance workouts necessary in the above training plan or any other training plan that is trying to bring you down to that time. 16:00 5k races are usually run by elite high school cross country runners at the end of the season or your area’s finest 5k road racers. My best 5k in high school was a 16:35 on a hilly cross country course. That was after running 400 miles of distance work in the summer. Going to XC camp for a week in the mountains the last week of summer and racing myself in to shape during the season along with track workouts. You have to be in the best running shape of your life and have the power to weight ratio to even train that fast. Nobody should even be thinking about 16:00 unless they have already broken 17:00. It’s hard enough to go from 18:00 to 17:30. Sometimes that takes an entire school year to do.

    • Damian says:

      I ended up not till 2 weeks before the start of cross season for total of 70 miles and ended running 16:30 on the toughest course in the state junior year you really ran 400 miles shit gains

    • Damian Albisu says:

      Last cross season I started training 2 weeks before the season started totaling 75 miles for the summer and ended up running 16:30 on one of the toughest courses in the state of Indiana you ran 400 miles and went to cc camp to run a fucking 16:35 that’s a shame

  4. Draven says:

    @Tewis: You should never set limits or mental roadblocks for other people. To tell someone they are too slow when you don’t have a clue about their physiology is pretty ignorant. On my highschool track team I ran my first Mile race above 6 minutes. Then I trained really hard for two years and I dropped my time to 4:25. If I can drop a minute and a half on a Mile race then anyone can train hard enought to drop a minute or two on their 5k given they train their heart out and have a healthy diet. I think my first 5k was around 19 minutes. In two years I ran 6:19 on a very hilly 5k course. If you have never puked after a 5k or super intense training then it mean you have not trained or raced to your maximum potential. Ive puked a few times. If you are serious.. break down those marriers. My fried finished the last mile of a spartan Super (5-6 mile obstacle course race) with a grade 3 Ankle sprain. Every step his tendons were literally making a gross squishing sound. Im not saying I recommend doing that… but anything is possible.

    • charlie says:

      Not everyone who runs is a young kid. The training threshold before injuries gets smaller as you age. For instance, I’m more likely to pass out and break my head open before I’d ever puke

  5. Nameless says:

    Does the inc. 3m mean like incline at 3% ? And why is tempo run pace 15 seconds slower than race pace? Shouldn’t it be 25-30 seconds slower ?

  6. Kanishak says:

    Sir my pb 5k is 17.06 and i ran 120km per weak how can get in sub 16 in 6 months or 8months

  7. NP says:

    i think you should remove discouraging comments like that made by Tewis. Completely unnecessary, and also not true (how can s/he comment on what is possible?).

    • Some Dude says:

      I think Tewis is correct though. To drop 7 minutes in just 6 months would be unprecedented. I ran an 18:30 5k in 8th grade. I only got to 16:30 last weekend, which is almost 2 years later. The training plans I’ve seen on this website are not nearly intense enough, nor do they have enough mileage. I just don’t think to drop that far in 6 months is realistic.

  8. Aditya gupta says:

    my time for 5k is 23min and i am having intercollege race in october and to qualify that i need to run 5k in 16 or maybe in 15:45min plz make a routine so i can follow that plzz…

  9. Dokare says:

    Sir i need your help.

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