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
*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
DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30min easy30min easy30min easyRest/Cross-train
[email protected]:23 per km/ 7:03p/m (90s rec.)
[email protected]:42s per 400 / 6:50p/m (60s rec.)
[email protected]:23 per km/ 7:03p/m (90s rec.)
Wednesday30min easy30min easy30min easy30min easy
Thursday6x800m [email protected]:29 per 800 / 7:00p/m.
(200m jog rec.)
FridayRest/Cross-trainRestRest/Cross-train30min easy
Saturday30min easy6x800m [email protected]:29 per 800 / 7:00p/m.
(200m jog rec.)
30min easyRest/Cross-train
SundayLong runLong runLong runLong 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.

131 Responses

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  1. Erin B says:

    47 year old female. Went through one cycle of the 22 minute 5k plan from June 6 – July 3, 2022. Previous 5k time on May 7, 2022 was 23:53. July 4, 2022 test race was 22:38. May 7 race weather was cooler and course was flatter. So, I’d say the plan is working. Going to do another cycle and test again in a month. Been fun having a challenging plan and goal. My 30 minute easy runs were not as fast as some have mentioned they should have been (8:00-8:15 pace Rx) and I missed a long run. Was also doing dumbbell strength workouts 4-5 days a week.

  2. So here I am, 38 years after being in the shape of my life! I ran through high school and 2 years of college. I was still active on my job through my mid 30’s and then sat on my ass and put on 50 lbs up through 55 years old. Two years ago I started at a 5 day a week gym, some cardio and strength. I thought, I’m ready for a 5K! I probably ran 2 miles in the neighborhood 4 times and ran the 5K in 26:00. I wasn’t ready for that! 38 years ago I ran in the 15:30 range on 5K grass courses! I was stunned that I just couldn’t stride at all anymore. And the fact that guys pushing strollers were blowing by me.

    A year later, still doing the gym 5x week, but not really running I ran another 5K. I ran about the same 4x 2 mile runs and threw in a long 3 mile run 🙂 and got down to 24:00. I found this forum and threw in a small interval workout last week. Another eye opener! Today, I ran that original 5K in 25:00.

    I’m going to follow this plan for the next month and see what I can do. Am I ever going to be able to stride again!? Whether it’s in a “race” or running in the neighborhood, 8:00 is about all I can maintain! So frustrating!

  3. Matt says:

    Just ran my 5k this morning. No race, just a 5k with my buddy who was also working for sub-22. I got it in 21:56, just squeaked under. I ran 23:29 on 4/17. Started this plan on 4/24. Sub-22 on 5/21. Haven’t decided on another round of sub-22 training or going for the sub-20 plan.

  4. Lisa says:

    Is the 5K plan tailored towards Master runners as well? I am a 64-year-old female who is working towards a sub 20 5k. Current PR-22:29. Would I start with the Sub 24 plan or the Sub 20 plan? Thank you.

  5. Andreas says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’am running since 1989 and I like to increase my speed for 5k. At the moment 22:18 is the fastest possible. Your 5k plan 22 seems to be the right one for me… Only one question – how long should be the long run? 20k?, 25k?, just 2 hours, 2,5 hours?
    Best regards from Germany

  6. Craig says:

    It works! Thanks for posting all this Matt. I’m 54 and never followed a training plan in my life. Just ran. I’ve been doing this since Boxing Day 2021 and finally got below 22 minutes today (21.46). That’s about 2.5 minutes faster than I was running in December. Feeling tired but happy that the hard work has paid off.

    Thank you.

  7. Malcolm says:

    “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” what a load of rubbish. Neither of these statements are true. Not the best confidence-inspiring start

    • Both statements are absolutely true. It’s approximately a 7:05 / mile pace, if that’s what you’re eluding too. Hardly worth your statement.

    • Sarah says:

      What?! This is just the facts, unfortunately you can’t run a 5k under 22 mins with any pace above that. it’s not saying you will have to begin your plan like this, rather your finish result will be the 7 min mile pace.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Can’t wait to give this a try! Please can I ask, is 8.30-9.00 min per mile too slow for the longer runs? I think that’s my comfortable pace so just want to be realistic about my targets (PB is 22.40)

    • Magali says:

      Try not to pace your long runs at all, they should always feel relaxed and easy and this may just depend on how you feel that day. You should be able to keep a conversation the whole time you are on your feet and not feel exhausted at the end of your run. If you want to see if this training plan is for you, try running a 5k race, you could see if you get under 25 minutes and then have this as your next goal!

      • Vanessa says:

        Thank you I did parkrun in 22.43 at the weekend so was really pleased with that! Will try and focus on this plan for the next few weeks to see if I can bring my time down further. Thank you!

  9. ethan says:

    hello what day should try to go sub 22 on the plan ?? during the 4th week or after the 4th week please let me know thanks

  10. HG says:

    I got a sub22 5k at 21:48 for the first time. I started following this training plan from 9/20 when my 5k is at 23:50. During the training, I was able to reach the target pace in every interval sessions. After one round through the plan, I tried a PR attempt on Oct.20, but was only able to hold the target pace for one mile and got only 23:00. In the second round, I put more focus on improving endurance and increase lactate threshold. Here is some of my learning. First, you need to be able to feel easy on the ‘Easy run’ at Mondays and Wendesdays at 7:45 to 8:15 in order to maintain the race speed for the whole 5K. Second, I replaced the Fartlek and Hill Session with Tempo runs at target pace of 7:20 to 7:30. I started with 2x10min at the tempo pace and built toward a single 20 minute tempo session. Third, in the second round through the plan, I increased the 400m interval pace to 6:30p/mi. Lastly, I replaced one of the Sunday long run with a Half Marathon at 8:05 pace.

  11. Juho says:

    Is it okay to replace the 30 min easy run with about 30 to 40 minutes of swimming?

    • Roy says:

      In my opinion, no because the overall mileage is already very low and the easy run help to build endurance and strengthen muscle fibers which is crucial for your speed run. Swimming will maintain your cardio but not so much on the other two mention

  12. Alf says:

    what pace is Easy run ? Thank you in advance

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Alf, not an exact science but somewhere around 8:15 I would say. More important to be cautious than ambitious for easy runs.

  13. RCH says:

    How many minutes/miles for warmup and cool down around track and Fartlek workouts?

  14. Scott says:

    Used this plan and just beat my college PR!

  15. MORAIG says:

    How long should the long runs be?

  16. Brian G says:

    Update: Just took my previous PR from 23:15 to 20:02 in a race on 8/7! This was after only 1 time through the program. Starting the sub 20 program now for another race in 2 weeks. Thanks for a great guide!

  17. Reggie says:

    What pace should I maintain for the 30 min easy run?

  18. Brian G says:

    Hey Matt. I just crushed my PR in week two for the Saturday 6×800 interval and hit 21:13. Race day is in 2 weeks, do you recommend trying intervals for the actual race? Or finding a good consistent pace for the whole thing? Would love to duplicate that number or even crack 21 flat.

  19. larsson says:

    hi my current time is 28 mins 5k will this get me to 22 in 4 weeks?

  20. Matthew D Matthew D says:

    Really loved the training plan thank you!

  21. Ethan says:

    Hey im not understanding the program .How long is the program. 4 weeks or is it longer .please let me know

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Ethan, it’s a cyclical 4-week plan so you can repeat it for as long as it takes for you to feel ready to race the time. But remember to take breaks from the plan and look after yourself.

  22. Farid says:

    Hi Matt! I started running in November with the goal to run a sub20 5k and I#M currently on the 22min 5k plan. I can run the intervals fast than what is required (4:06-4:10) min per km on 5x1km Interval. However, I lack endurance and after about 3km I feel like I’m dying and really need to slow down my pace. Should I do more threshhold running to improve endurance?

    Kind Regards and thank you for your plans

  23. Alan says:

    Sound I warm up and cool down for 30mins easy?

  24. Alan Thomas says:

    Hi Matt, should I warm up prior to these runs? Thinking the 30 mins easy. Should I warm up for 5 mins and cool down for 5 mins after?

  25. Ismael says:

    Followed the sub-22 programme and made a few (very minor) adjustments. Took me a good few months of training but it took me 21:55 to run a 5k today, 04/03/21… (actually a nice ring to it when you read the numbers from the back). Thanks so much! Now on to a sub-21???

  26. Gustavo says:

    Hi, Matt.
    Is it ok to follow this same instructions on a treadmill? It is easy to do the conversion to Km/h.
    The thing is the weather conditions are pretty unpredictable down here in Brazil, specially this time of year, and I wouldn’t like to pass any task.
    Obviously I would choose the road in sunny days.

    • Priyadarshan singh says:

      No bro because its not same for a runner to train on treadmill as compare to track because you have to put the force on ground and treadmill works automatically.
      I think u understood what I want to say

  27. Rabia says:

    I’m going to start this from next week. My best is 21:49 but haven’t hit that in a couple of years (averaging around 23 these days).
    I’ll post my results on here in a few weeks time. Super excited 🙂

  28. Adam Bull says:

    What pace are the recovery runs meant to be at?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Adam, don’t worry too much about the pace for these, just make sure they are not too quick. Something in the region of 8 – 8:15 per mile I would say for this target time.

      • Dmytry says:

        Hi Adam. Please confirm that 200 m recovery between 800 reps needs to be covered from 1 min to 1 min 4 seconds time. As for me its way too fast and minimum as twice less time than needed. Jack Deniels says that rest has to take from 60% to 100% of interval time.

  29. Mike says:

    This program works. I repeated the full program three times through. On the third time through I tested on the Saturday of week 3. I ran a 21:40 on hilly terrain in the high desert (~2000′ elevation).

    Shaving an extra 1:40 off sounds like a tall order to make it under 20:00, but the sub 20 program looks like it might be aggressive enough to do the job – if I can stick to it. Thank you for the programs!

  30. Emmanuel says:


    I just started this week but with adjustments to fit my goal for training for marine corps pft. The test is only 3 miles so it’s a bit shorter but I’m following this because my goal is a 21 minute 3 mile. And a 22 mine 5k is the equivalent.

    I did 3 sets of 1 miles instead of the 1k (found this program after I did that workout) so this week I did that instead.

    Then for the easy run I always do 3 miles in 24 minutes with a cool down to hit 30 minutes.

    I did the 800m sprints today.

    My questions is, should I be trying to hit 3:29 pace ? Or if I can go faster is that alright?

    I was able to do 4 sets at 3:16-2:20 and then 2 sets at 3:25. Thing is I walked 200 meters Which took as long as 3-4 minutes. Will
    I still get the benefits of the workout?

    This was still a hard workout. Thanks I’m advance

    • Mike says:

      I am also using these programs to get a faster 3 mile time on the PFT. I have been sticking to the program as prescribed and I’m seeing the results.

      I’m not the trainer here, but I would say for the 800m you can go faster than 3:29 AS LONG AS you can meet the 3:29 (or better) pace for every interval. That’s how I’ve been treating them. For instance, on the 1km repeats, the target pace is 7:03 per mile. I started the interval at around a 6:25 pace and didn’t let myself drop below a 7:00 pace per mile through the interval.

  31. Margus says:

    Started running 2 months ago. First my lungs were burning and couldn’t keep up with my legs, I sounded like injured camel. I’m 194cm tall and 93kg, so I must’ve looked lie one too, because my cadence was 155. Most help so far I have found is to follow my running steps bpm music, as I started to build up my cadence with bpm, bumped up my 5bpm every couple of weeks. As I got closer to 170-175 cadence I noticed that most efficient way to run bounce off the ball of the foot. So now I’m down to 23:25 5k from 28min. Hopefully it’s hope for all of the camels out there 🙂 If you got any tips for me you’re more than welcome to reply 🙂

  32. Andreyson says:

    Nice program. I am running 5 k in 22:35 min for a while. Yet, I am always broken during the interval training. It is very very hard. I went back to the 5k in 24 min traning and now I am preparing to try this one again.

    Thank you very much for this page.

  33. John Roberts says:

    Followed this program for 4 weeks, previous best was 22.23, hit 21.53 today, was a hard program but well worth it, now on to sub 20 program on the website but will be happy if I ever got sub 21

  34. Bill Scott says:

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for sharing these plans, going to put them into action this month.
    Just not sure if I should do the 24-minutes or 22-minutes plan. I feel the break-even sessions in the 22-minute plan are similar to what I am currently doing. I can run around 7:10-7:20 sometimes and my fastest 5k is 23:50

    Currently not running at that 7:00min pace for 1k though, What do you think? Should I try it and see or start off with the 24 min plan?

    • Dar says:

      If you have already done a 24 min 5k, I don’t see a reason to train for that. Do this program.
      I just finished the 24 min plan and ended up 23:40 on my “race” day. This 22 min program looks ambitious, but I think you will see better results from this than the 24 min plan.

  35. Ayla says:

    I’m a powerlifter getting back in running shape for the first time since high school cross country. Started out running 25min 3mi, got down to 22.14 on my last 3mi test, very helpful program. Thank you for sharing!

  36. Lee says:

    Just hit a 22:34 using this program. I also have done a 15mile time trial earlier today on the road bike so probably not the best day to attempt it although it did warm me up first :-). Going to actually rest and then go for a real 5k PB in the next few weeks after another round

  37. Tony Roberts says:

    Just posted a 23:55 5k today using the 26 minute plan so from next Monday I am going to jump to the 22 min plan, looking forward to the various challenges especially the 800m. Thanks for sharing these plans, finding them really useful.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Tony, well done that’s great! Thanks for letting me know you are finding the plans useful, it’s always nice to hear my time hasn’t been completely wasted! Good luck with the 22 minute plan and let us know how it goes. Cheers.

  38. Kenneth Allen says:

    Started this a week ago with a 23:18 – 5k. The 800m’s were tough, walked at the end of most of them but powered through. Couldn’t keep the pace of the last 800m but plenty of time to improve before I attempt the sub 22 in 3 weeks.

    Thanks for the plan and info. I’ll let you know how I do. Cheers. Ken

    • Ken says:

      I attempted the sub 22min run at the end of week 4 and was delighted to come at 22:03 as it was windy and the route I chose had a few small hills. Thanks very much for the plan 🙂

      I’m going to try the sub 20 plan with the aim of doing sub 21 in another 4 weeks. Fingers and toes crossed.

    • Ken says:

      I attempted the sub 22min 5k at the end of week 4 and was delighted to come in at 22:03 considering it was windy and the course I ran had some small hills.

      I’m going to move onto to the sub 20 plan with the aim of running sub 21 after another 4 weeks of training. Fingers crossed.

      Thanks again for the plans and website! Great job.

      • Matt Matt says:

        Hi Ken, well done! It sounds like you are really making the plans for for you which is great to hear. Good luck with your progression and let us know how it goes.

  39. Tom Stroud says:

    Hey buddy. I’m a relatively fit 35 year old male. Did a 5k exactly a month ago in 23.51 and thought I’d see what a months training would do. Found your plan and stuck to it religiously, with some resistance training thrown in too. I just ran a 21.27 5k and I am so thankful for your advice, absolutely delighted with it!

    • Brad Sova says:

      I am in the same exact boat! 35, can run a sub 24 5k right now. Wrapping up week 4. I have noticed a tremendous improvement in my fun runs and long runs. I can easily get carried away with pace and not realize it where I was struggling previously. Cant wait to test out my progress soon.

  40. James says:

    Thanks for these plans, they’re great. I’d never ran a 5k before but due to lockdown had to resort to running as a form of exercise and discovered I was annoyingly not very good. Given some of my friends were significantly faster than me I decided I needed some structure if I was going to get anything half respectable! I didn’t try to do a flat out 5k when I started but I ran around a 25 minutes 5k which did not feel great. I did feel I could go faster though so I decided to start with this 22 min plan.

    I’ve done one cycle and saw really significant improvements on my heart rate when doing the exact same intervals. Decided to try run a flat out 5k today and was thrilled to manage a 21:14 according to the Garmin. Will move onto the 20 min plan and see how I get on – I have even started to not completely dislike running!

    Thanks again for the plan it’s been really helpful.

  41. Monique says:

    My PB for a 5k is 25:33, but I think I could do the 24-minute plan fairly easily. Could I skip straight to the 22-minute plan or would it be better to do the 24-minute plan?

  42. Ben says:

    I’ve found this programme really helpful. Gives a good breakdown of what to be aiming for. Managed to go from 27 mins down to 23 mins for a 5km and using the plan with the aim of 22. Definitely helped having an aim whilst we are only allowed out to exercise once a day. Thanks

  43. Hannah says:

    My 5k PB is 23:55, and I am struggling just a little bit with the intervals. I am making the recommended times for the 400m, 800m, and 1km reps – but I have to walk instead of jog for the recovery in the 800m and 1km runs. Should I worry much with this? Would you suggest that I slow the pace so that I can jog in between reps, or just keep walking between them until I can get more comfortable? Thanks, loving this training plan!

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Hannah, that is absolutely fine; if you are making the times for the intervals but walking between the reps then there is no need to worry at all about this. Use the time between the intervals to recover as best you can.
      Pleased you are finding the site useful, and good luck with the training!

  44. Simon says:

    Not sure 7:45 pace for someone trying to break 22 mins is easy enough for an easy run. I’d call that my easy run pace and I’m prob in 16:XX 5k shape

  45. Dusan Radivojevic says:

    Thank you so much… on January 3rd, I have ran my best time, probably ever on 5k (24:55), before i started following the plan.

    Last Saturday, i have ran 5k (21:20) and i felt that i could do even better…

    Now I am going to follow under 20 min on 5k and hopefully reach objective several weeks from now…

  46. El says:

    Went from 24.20mins to 20.40mins with this plan – thanks!

  47. Taylor says:

    What is the recommended base weekly mileage prior to starting this or any of the other 5K Training Plans?

  48. Phillip yianni says:

    How do I cope with spondylilothesis my pb 23.50

  49. Andy says:

    what should the pace for the long runs be?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Andy, I try not to give a pace for the long run as it can have counter-effect. Try to do it at a comfortable pace where you can have a conversation. Same pace or slower as the easy run would suffice. Cheers.

  50. Finbar says:

    Thanks for these plans! The 8.1mph treadmill pace in the table at the top looks wrong for 13.5km/h, 22m 05s / 5k etc. I think this should be 8.4mph treadmill pace instead.

  51. 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 )

  52. Will says:

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

  53. 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!

  54. Eyal says:

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

    • Matt 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!

  55. 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 . . .

  56. 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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!

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. Magali says:

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

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

  66. 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?

  67. 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 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!

  68. 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 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.

  69. 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 :).

  70. 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 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.

  71. 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 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.

  72. 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?


  73. 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 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.

  74. 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 .

  75. JS says:

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


  76. George says:

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

  77. 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!

  78. 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 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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?