16 minute 5k Training Plan

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

To consider following this 16 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 5:10 minute for at least a mile and/or have a PB under 17 minutes

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.

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

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions | Signs of Overtraining

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 16 minute 5k

Pace per Mile / KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
05:10 / 03:1311.6 mph / 18.5 km/h77 / 2:3416min 00s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.

Your 16 minute 5k Training Plan

DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30mins easy30mins easyTempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
Reps@3:13 per km/ 5:10p/m (90s rec.)
Reps@74s per 400m / 5:00p/m (60s rec.)
Reps@3:13 per km/ 5:10p/m (90s rec.)
Wednesday30mins easy30mins easy30mins easyTempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
ThursdayHill Sprints
Kenyan Hills
FridayRest/Cross-trainRestRest/Cross-train30mins easy
Saturday30mins easyTempo Run
inc. 3m @5:30 p/m
30mins easyRest/Cross-train
SundayLong RunLong RunLong RunRest/ Cross-train

16 minute 5k Training Plan Components

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 07:10 p/m, ideally aim for something in region of 07:10-07:40 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.

About this Plan

Remember that to consider following this 16 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 5:10 minute for at least a mile and/or have a PB under 17 minutes.

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.

33 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    I just don’t understand it. I can run backwards on a very hilly course, with only 1 mile a week and can do a 13:59 5k, I have just tuned 83 and have always had a lot of natural talent. I have hopped a sub 16:00 5k in snow up hill with a gale force wind. Come on guys it’s very easy to achieve.

    • Anonymous says:

      damn high km

    • Bill Carson says:

      I know! Celebrated 74th birthday with a 2:26:31 uphill marathon, then a 15:02 5k to round out the week. I don’t train very often, so I don’t see why you’d need more than a week or so to get in shape. Just remember to work smarter not harder.

      • Anonymous says:

        You kidding right, it’s not how you make it sound so easy, I’m on my 5th week of training track and road just over 60km a week. Run 1st 5k 19.34. 2nd 5k 19.02. third 5k 18.29. 4th 5k 17.54, all in 5 weeks I’m slowly progressing, but how do just do it boom i want know, best regards

      • Max says:

        Well that’s just a straight up lie

  2. Opiwan says:

    This plan looks like it is more targeted at HS or College, i.e. younger runners Who may have more natural fitness and quicker recovery and who won’t have had much of a gap in running from school / college but there are several things in this plan that most coaches wouldn’t recommend for most runners.

    First week is generally fine, but only 4 x 1km? Realistically this plan is aimed at people around the 17min and under mark, probably closer to 16min. 95% of those, at the very least, will already be doing 4 x 1km or likely more in a speed session e.g. 4 x 5min, 6 x 4min, 8 x 3 min @ 5km pace or close to it.
    Week 2/3: Not enough rest here between sessions, there is a block of 10 days with 6 hard sessions. Most with just one day of rest or easy running in between. That’s not enough to be sharp for the next session. Some people may argue about running hard on tired legs being good, but seriously if you want to do a speed session properly you need to be able to do it at your best in order to get the most benefit out of it. Running a new session hard on tired legs is a very easy way to get injured.
    Individual sessions:
    1: there should be at least one double run day a week.
    2: easy runs need to be very slow and for at least 40min for full benefit (certain bodily exercise byproducts peak around this point).
    3: a 3 mile tempo is too short, the tempo can be at 5.30 (looks to be about 10sec less than 10k pace of a 16min 5ker) but 4 or 4.5 mile would give more benefit. 2 x 2mi or 2.5mi tempo would also work.
    4: double some of the harder sessions up, a 3 mile tempo would be fine if followed by 6 or 8 x200m at 5k pace or similar. This is the working hard on tired legs but on tired legs that have been well stretched already and not going into an exercise cold, so to speak.
    5: the hill sessions are great to improve form, and you are unlikely to break 16min without at least semi decent form. But again most runners close to 16min will have this form already. So there is no real need for for a hill session in both week 1 and 2, every two weeks is fine especially if the fartlek (and to some extent the long run) has some hills in it.
    6: The long run can be more varied, one week flatish, one week hilly. Take both slow but the hill week will be harder and the hills will help with the form.
    Distance is nowhere near enough for most runners trying to get under 16min. Might be a perfectly fine plan for those under 25. But for those in mid 30’s or beyond this just is nowhere near enough (everyone is of course different) and it needs to be 45/50miles a week if not closer to 60.
    I’m a believer in variety and similar speed sessions shouldn’t be repeated for at least 6 weeks as the body can adapt and certain sessions can become easier if done regularly which will give false confidence.

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