22 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace: 7:03 per mile / 4:22 per km for a 22 minute 5k

To run a sub 22 minute 5k you will need to be able to run at a target race pace of 7:00 minutes per mile pace for the full 3.1 mile distance. That converts to 4:22 per kilometre.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 22 minute 5k

Pace per Mile / KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
07:00 / 04:228.5 mph / 13.7 km/h1:44 / 3:2921min 50s
07:05 / 04:258.1 mph / 13.5 km/h1:46 / 3:3222min 05s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.
22 minute 5k

Follow this 5k training plan for a 22 minute 5k

To start this training plan it is recommended that your 5k PB should be below the 24 minute 5k mark already and you are able to run at a pace of 7:00 per mile for at least 1km.

Over the course of the 22 minute 5k training plan you will be required to run at a slightly faster pace than your target race pace for short durations so you really need to ensure that you can hit the 7:00 mark for at least 1km.

If you feel that you are not quite there yet, have a look at one of our other 5k training plans before building 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 22 minute 5k training plan

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions
Signs of Overtraining
130min easy3x1km
[email protected]:23 per km/ 7:03p/m (90s rec.)
30min easy6x800m [email protected]:29 per 800 / 7:00p/m.
(200m jog rec.)
Rest/Cross-train30min easyLong run
230min easy10x400m
[email protected]:42s per 400 / 6:50p/m (60s rec.)
30min easyFartlek
Rest6x800m [email protected]:29 per 800 / 7:00p/m.
(200m jog rec.)
Long run
330min easy3x1km
[email protected]:23 per km/ 7:03p/m (90s rec.)
30min easyHills
Rest/Cross-train30min easyLong run
Rec. WeekRest/Cross-trainRest/Cross-train30min easyRest/Cross-train30min easyRest/Cross-trainLong run

Time commitment: You should be looking to commit roughly 3-4 hours of work a week over the course of the 22 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 22 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 07:45 p/m, ideally aim for somewhere around 08:00-08:15 p/m.
  • Long Run – slow & steady, this should be less than 1 hour.
  • Fartlek – unstructured training. Example Fartlek sessions.

Breakthrough Sessions – 22 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 6:50 p/m pace (1:42 per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 7:00p/m pace (3:29 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – hit 7:00p/m pace (4:22 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 22 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 2/3 months of using the training plan that you take a break and treat yourself to a couple of weeks of low-key training. This should start with 2-3 day’s off from running completely and continue with a nice short easy run every other day.

48 Responses

  1. Eyal says:

    How would you suggest incorporating strength sessions to strengthen the muscles into this program?
    ( such as pullups and pushups etc. for upper body, and squats and lunges etc. for the legs )

  2. Will says:

    I assume the best time to run a best time is just after the weeks recovery?

  3. Corey Joyner says:

    I used this plan to improve my previous 5k PR of a 24:35. Ran today at clocked in a 21:48! I’ll use the sub 20 plan next time I 5k train. Thanks!

  4. Eyal says:

    Didn’t quite understand at what pace/HR zones I should do the long runs and the easy 30 mins runs?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Eyal,
      The plan recommends no quicker than 07:45 pace for the easy runs. I would opt for something in the region of 07:45-08:15 sort of pace for the easy/steady runs.

      • Eyal says:

        Hah, would’nt call it ‘easy’ pace but i’ll give it a go. starting to train for a sub 20 pb (currently around the 22:30 mark ) after I’ve finished an Ironman, hopefully the running volume from all of the ironman training will keep me injury free.
        Thanks for the quick reply!

  5. Rob S says:

    Me – 33 yo, male, in decent shape.
    On June 15th I ran a benchmark 5k to see where I stand currently, and got 23:40. (My current PR, “on record”.) With that, I have 11 weeks to improve my 5k until my big race. I picked up this 22min training program to see what I can do in the next 3-4 weeks before my wedding.
    So, I’m also doing a second benchmark run on July 7th. Following this plan as close as possible (along with a separate weight training program as well), and I’m going to see how much time I can shave off.)
    Let’s see if/what my new PR is on July 8th.
    From there I will have 8 weeks until race day to improve.

    • Rob S says:

      Quick update – So, after 3 wks of training on this program I was able to shave off 70 secs! Ran a 5k this weekend and finished in 22:30, a new PR. Honestly, I didn’t feel completely challenged by this 22min program at all times, so thinking of stepping it up to the 20 min program for the next 8 weeks! See how that goes . . .

  6. Alex says:

    Awesome programming. I wanted to incorporate some run training in my 4-5 times a week Crossfit training. I was aiming a sub 20 5k with a personal best of 19:19 (when I was 16 and i’m now 25). I did the intervals training 2 times a week Monday and Wednesday and were able to get back that sub 20 with a 19:29 after 3 months of training.

  7. Sean says:

    I’m back training a week after a few months off. At the moment doing around 23:30 for 5k. Goal is to hit the 20 min this summer. Incorporating strength training and everything to get me there.
    My club do interval training on Tue nights and there’s usually a 5K race the following night. Obviously I’m not of the standard to give it socks both nights. Should I skip the Tuesday night and do my own intervals on Saturday?

    Also, how realistic is it to expect to crack the 20 min in 3-4 months?

    Many thanks

  8. Hannes says:

    21:12 with my new shoes (nike elite 10).
    But I am not sure if I am doing the forefoot running right. I read, that forefoot running is not toe running, meaning that your heels should also touch the ground. My heels do touch the ground, but really just a little bit. Most of my weight is on the fore and the midfoot, except when running up/downhills my heels do not touch the street. So far I’ve had no issues/kneeproblems/shin splints with this technique.
    Might this become a problem in the future?
    And Matt: thank you soo much for your training plans!

  9. Phil Plasma says:

    I did 6x800m on Saturday, each one had to be below 3.29 and I did fairly well; in order:
    2:57, 3:09, 3:19, 3:09, 3:30, 3:19

    On that fifth lap I actually walked for about 8 seconds half way through, so that explains the time. This was not an easy drill, that’s for sure. However, to get the sub 20 minute I need to do 800 m in 3:12 or less, which I managed to do three times.

    Today is 3x1Km, in 4:23 or less. If I can manage it, do the single km in 4:00 as that is the 20 minute pace. I’ll only get to this later today.

  10. Phil Plasma says:

    I did the 30min easy on Monday but went out to a movie on Tuesday evening and so I didn’t have the time to get the 3x1km done. So last night, instead of doing Wednesday’s 30min easy, I did the 3x1kms in 4:03, 4:08 and 4:12; all well under the 4:23 required. I think the next time I do this I may try doing 4x1km with the goal of under 4:15 each. Tonight it is ‘Hills’ and then the next 10 days are easier as I am entering into the recovery week.

  11. Phil Plasma says:

    On Saturday this past weekend I did the 6×800, 3:29 per. Due to a lack of mental toughness I only did four out of the six, but managed to do them in 3:20, 3:27, 3:23 and 3:29, so I did succeed in keeping the correct pace. Next time I do 6×800 I’ll try harder to get all six done. Yesterday I did the ‘Long Run’, about 10km in about an hour. Today is 30 min easy and tomorrow will be my first attempt at 3x1km 4:23 per. I’m really liking this program.

  12. Phil Plasma says:

    My PB is 21:55 but lately I haven’t gotten under 23 minutes, so I’m starting with this plan for about six weeks, and then will move up to the Sub 20 as I am aiming to cut my time down into the low20s. My next and last race of 2018 is on October 15, so I should also be able to do a full cycle of the Sub 20. Did my first run last night of ’30min easy’ and tonight, the Fartlek.

    Thanks for putting these plans together

    • Hannes says:

      So how went your race?
      (I’m currently pounding hard to keep those 3x1km at 4:00-4:15min. It is a lot harder to go from a 25min/5k to a 20min/5k than from 30 to 25min.

  13. Magali says:

    Would it be appropriate to change hills to 3/4x 800 at broken pace at 42 – 52?

  14. Magali says:

    Could I switch around on what do I do which workout, like doing the hard workouts on a Tuesday and Sunday instead of Tuesday Thursday?

  15. Kim says:

    For the speed work days, should we be doing a warm up/cool down? Did the 3×1’s today (just starting week 1), great workout.

  16. Wannarunstrong says:

    I’ve run 22:10. Do u think I can run a sub 22 with this plan in 4 weeks or should I go through the cycle twice? Also, if I plan. A race in the 4th week, should I still have 4 days of Rec/xtrain or is their a alternate for race week?

  17. Kim says:

    Hey! So if I am about 12 weeks out from a race that I am
    Aiming for sub 22, just ran a 22:20 race and it was tough, but now I’m motivated, should I just repeat this training plan 3x?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Kim, yes my advice would be to stick with this plan until race day. Twelve weeks is a long time though when following a tough and worthwhile plan so you could consider throwing in one or two more easy/recovery weeks to keep things fresh.
      Good luck!

  18. Andrea says:

    Hi, i’m following the plan and enjoying it. My 5k pb is 22:57 which I set last April. I had a run of illness and I haven’t been able to get under 23:38.

    I’m in my fourth week now, I can’t quite meet the speed for the intervals but i’m getting closer. Is the rest week just for when you race or do you have a rest week and then start again after week 1? Also;, is there a run for Sunday? It’s not showing for me.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Andrea, pleased you are enjoying the plan. The 4th week in the cycle is not just for races, it’s important to take the time to recuperate when you are following the plan and give your body some time on less intensive training to prevent over-training and monotony setting in.
      Yes there is a run listed for Sunday – Long run.
      Good luck with your training, let us know how you get on.

  19. Calum Blair says:

    Hey Matt,

    Really enjoying this running plan – I feel like I am not out of my comfort zone doing this but I am seeing real improvement in my running speed.

    I plan to do 2-3 cycles and then aim to hit the 22:00 target. I would then like to progress to ultimately hitting a 20:00 5k, although I am not sure whether to jump from 22:00 to 20:00 training plan or maybe try and hit 21:00 first then 20:00 – thoughts?

    My ultimate goal is to try and achieve a 40:00 10k, ambitious I know. I am not sure on how to progress from what I am doing now to make sure I am on track to do this. Should I try get a 19:00 min 5k and build my endurance after? Should I jump to 10k after doing a 22:00 5k? Unsure on how to get there – again, thoughts?

    Finally, due to where I live I am not near any hills- is there anything you can think of as an alternative to this?

    Thanks in advance. You are always responsive and informative to all questions ask, so on behalf of everyone, thank you and keep it up as we all really appreciate your help.

    • Calum says:

      Hey Matt, still yet to hear anything. Don’t want to be “that guy” but would be great if you could get back to me 🙂

    • Calum says:

      Hey Matt, still waiting for a response. I hate to be “that guy” but would really appreciate it if you could get back to me :).

  20. Maddie says:

    Hi what day in the plan is race day? Is race day supposed to be the last day of rec. week, or is it supposed to be Monday on what would be week 5? Or have I missed it completely?

    Am trying to plan for a race 🙂


    • Matt says:

      Hi Maddie, I generally make the Sunday of week 3 race day. Depending on how much of a taper you like to have you could move the hill session to earlier in the week to give you a longer gap between that session and race day. If you do prefer a longer taper and don’t like the idea of doing high intensity sessions in the week of the race you could opt for race day as end of week 4 but personally I think it works better at end of week 3 as you are in the training groove at that stage.
      Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  21. Alex says:

    Hi, really eager to follow this plan. I took a break from running and I am currently at 22:45 with just 5-10 km a month. I’m planning to get back and this plan looks perfect. I was wondering how long the long runs must be if I want to break the 22 min barrier?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Alex, the long run requirement can vary slightly depending on what other training you are doing which is why it’s a little vague in the plan. If you are focusing solely on 5k’s then I don’t think the long run needs to be any longer than an hour and a half max. Because the week’s sessions can be quite intense my focus is to just enjoy the slower steady pace of a long run and whether than is for 60 mins or 90 mins it’s not an exact science. Personally my long run is an hour, when I’m 10k training as well I’ll go a bit longer. Good luck.

  22. Adam L says:

    Any thoughts on what type of warmup/cool down is needed? I’ll typically do some light static stretching, along with 5 minutes of dynamic stretches before a run. Should I be thinking of jogging for any period of time before or after any of the workouts?


  23. Steve says:

    The steady run should be no quicker than 7:45 but no slower than what pace? The long run should be less than 1 hour but at what type of pace range?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Steve, just make the steady and long runs comfortable. I think it’s important not to make it quicker than 07:45 but no need to get bogged down with a ‘no slower than’, just run naturally.

  24. Asha says:

    I run a 5k in 23:07 minutes I’m also 14 and had done it for a year then quit for a year but I’m hoping i will be just as fast , my mummy is a runner a team GB gold medalist at the European masters and I hope to be just like her .

  25. JS says:

    Whats pace,and miles on a “long run”? Also should the 30 min run be easy– say 9 min pace or faster?


  26. George says:

    Just went through the plan …but cant find where is the slot for the steady run and how long it should be.

  27. Cari says:

    How do you access he whole plan? I am looking now and it is only giving me week 1. Am I looking in the wrong spot?

    Thank you. Looking forward to starting soon!

  28. MC says:

    Hi. Great plan. Looking forward to trying it out. At 22:35 at the moment so will doing this program as a precursor to the sub20 plan.

    Just wondering at what point should you attempt to actually get a 22 min score. As in where do you do a PR run? Immediately after the rest week?

    • Matt says:

      Hi, my advice would be to do a couple of cycles of the plan and then look to incorporate a PB attempt at the end of a week 3 that you have tailored to be less intense, i.e., no speed work within 3-4 day’s of the attempt but maybe a tempo run. It’s a good question so I think I will add a page to the site with some recommendations so please check back again soon and and will hopefully have some more information that’ll help.
      Good luck in the meantime.

  29. Jay says:

    Thanks for the training plan! My PB for 5k was 22:34 but that was in 2013 so thought I’d try and break the 22min mark. I did a timed effort at the start and got 23:51. I then followed the plan/structure for 12 weeks, I swam twice a week, one LSR, one breakthrough session, one game of 5aside football (most similar to fartlek training session), one or two steady 30min runs and sometimes spin class instead of a steady run.

    I did a timed run after 5 weeks of the plan and got 22:43 – so improvements but not quite sub 22. So i had an easy two weeks recovery, then started again for 5 weeks and just did 21:58 yesterday.

    My pacing was off somewhat, i went too hard and did the first km in 4:09 and then suffered so I changed it to a 4x1km interval run with 330m recovery. But i was left with having to do 4:05 for the last km, but did it in 4:03. I would be interested seeing what time I’d get if i did a constant pace, think it would be around 21:40

    The training plan really helped give me ideas of what sessions I should be doing, how often and most importantly what pace! Time to step up to the sub 20min 5k now eek, as following my timed run where i did PB km and mile running times, I meet the ‘pre-qualifying’ criteria.

  30. Dave says:

    Thanks for the article. I’m keen to give it a go. My parkrun PB is 22:06 at the moment but I am averaging about 22:30 so am aiming to get consistently sub 22 there. I’ll generally use parkrun as a steady run and just take it a bit easier. One question: in the article you mention the need to commit 8-10 hours a week for training but the plan seems to factor about 3 hours or so each week… I’m assuming this is just a carrier over from a longer distance training plan?

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