18 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace: 5:45 per mile for an 18 minute 5k

To run a sub 18 minute 5k you will need to be able to run at a target race pace of 5:45 minutes per mile pace for the 3.1 mile distance.  That works out at 3:35 per kilometre.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 18 minute 5k

Pace per Mile/ KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
05:45 / 03:3510.4 mph / 16.6 km/h86s / 2:5217min 55s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.
sub 18 minute 5k

Follow our training plan for a sub 18 minute 5k

Before starting this plan it is recommended that your 5k PB should be below the sub 20 minute 5k mark already and you are able to run faster than your target 5k race pace for at least 1km.

This is because during the course of this 18 Minute 5k Training Plan you will be running slightly faster than your race pace for short durations so you really need to ensure that you can run 1km at 5:45 pace. If you are not quite there yet, have a look at one of our other 5k training plans and build up to this one:

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 18 minute 5k Training Plan

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions
Signs of Overtraining
DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30mins easy30mins easyHill Sprints
Rest/ Cross-train
[email protected]:35 per km / 90s 5:45p/m (90sec rec.)
[email protected] per 400m/ 5:35p/m (60s rec.)
[email protected]:35 per km / 90s 5:45p/m (90sec rec.)
Rest/ Cross-train
Wednesday30mins easy30mins easy30mins easyTempo Run
to include 3miles @6:00 p/m
[email protected]:49 per 800m /5:40p/m (200m jog rec.)
Kenyan Hiills
Rest/ Cross-train
FridayRest/ Cross-trainRestRest/ Cross-train30mins easy
Saturday30mins easy6x800m
[email protected]:49 per 800m /5:40p/m (200m jog rec.)
30mins easyRest/ Cross-train
SundayLong runLong runLong runRest/ Cross-train

Time commitment: You should be looking to commit roughly 3-4 hours of work a week over the course of the 18 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 18 minute 5k training plan

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

  • Steady/ Easy Run – this run should be according to how you feel, don’t worry about the time, make sure it’s no quicker than 07:45 p/m. Concentrate on recovery and form.
  • Long Run – slow & steady run, this should be less than 1 hours work.
  • Fartlek – unstructured training. Example Fartlek sessions.

Breakthrough Sessions – 18 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 5:35 p/m pace (84s per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 5:40p/m pace (2:49 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – hit 5:45p/m pace (3:35 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 18 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 18 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.

198 Responses

  1. I am a15 years old sophomore and my 3 mile pr is 17:17 in September of this year. What time should I be trying to break in a 5k since ive been training a lot harder now.

  2. Stephen says:

    I was running sub 18s in my mid/late 20’s with little commitment to training. Started running again 6 weeks ago after a 15 year hiatus. ……. Now doing a very embarrassing 27min.

  3. Anonymous says:


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