18 minute 5k Training Plan

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

To consider following this 18 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 5:45 for at least a mile (3:35 p/km) and/or have a PB under 20 minutes.

If you are not quite there yet then take a look at the sub 20 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: 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.

Your 18 minute 5k Training Plan

DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30mins easy30mins easyHill Sprints
Rest/ Cross-train
Reps@3:35 per km / 90s 5:45p/m (90sec rec.)
Reps@84s per 400m/ 5:35p/m (60s rec.)
Reps@3:35 per km / 90s 5:45p/m (90sec rec.)
Rest/ Cross-train
Wednesday30mins easy30mins easy30mins easyTempo Run
to include 3miles @6:00 p/m
Reps@2:49 per 800m /5:40p/m (200m jog rec.)
Kenyan Hiills
Rest/ Cross-train
FridayRest/ Cross-trainRestRest/ Cross-train30mins easy
Saturday30mins easy6x800m
Reps@2:49 per 800m /5:40p/m (200m jog rec.)
30mins easyRest/ Cross-train
SundayLong runLong runLong runRest/ Cross-train
Article Name
18 minute 5k Training Plan
18 minute 5k training plan tailored to your specific race pace (5:45 p/mile). Speed Intervals sessions, hill sprints, tempo runs & more.

18 Minute 5k Training Plan Components

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.

About this Plan

Remember that to even consider following this 18 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 5:45 for at least a mile (3:35 p/km) and/or have a PB under 20 minutes.

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.

203 Responses

  1. Geo Chamberlain says:

    Hi Matt, love the look to this plan – variety and tempo. Can I do this on a treadmill? And if so, what incline % do you suggest? Thank you!

  2. Vivek says:


  3. Tom says:

    I’m coming up short in the final mile. I have run more for distance over the last few years but started using this plan about 5 weeks ago and have been averaging around 32 miles a week.

    I can hit 10×400 at 79/80.
    This morning I went 4x 1km in 3:28,3:32,3:32,3:32.

    But last Friday I tried for a 5k attempt around 6:00. I hit 5:55, 5:59, and then crumbled to 6:37 and ended up at 19:15.

    How do I build up my endurance for the last mile?

    • Tom says:

      I can also hit the 6×800 and recently went – 2:58,2:49,2:46,2:46,2:47,2:50, but this 3rd mile is eluding me.

    • Mario says:

      I Tom. If I were you, I would try to do a conservative approach, like first mile above 6:10 p/m, second mile around 6 p/m and finally push your maximum level to the final mile until the end.

  4. John Guilbert says:

    I’m 52 year old male and 5′ 8″. My P.B. at the minute is 19:56 which I did last year on treadmill 1% gradient and I am around this at the minute. My warm up consists of 10-15 minutes going from 6.5kph to 17kph in an exponential fashion. I have a number of runs I do on treadmill currently as follows:

    1. 17.2kph for one minute and one minute standing recovery. I can do 15 reps of these
    2. Long runs for up to an hour – this includes 10 mins warm up and 10 mins cool down
    3. 400m x 10 @ 17.1 kph with 60 sec rest

    Should the plan below be altered at all for the older generation – possibly extended. I’m finding the 6x800m quite tough at such an early stage. Maybe I should be aiming for sub 19 minute first?

  5. Owen says:

    I’m a 15 year old freshmen, and track just finished. Do you think I’d be able to do this every week for 12 weeks, and get down from my 20:00 5k to an 18:30 or lower?

  6. Jesus says:

    Is it ok to switch your Saturday and Sunday workouts if you can’t do long runs on Sunday?

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