26 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace:  8:20 per mile / 5:12 per km for a 26 minute 5k

A 26 minute 5k requires you to run at a target race pace of just under 8:20 minutes per mile pace for the full 3.1 mile distance (5:12 per kilometre).


Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 26 minute 5k

Pace per Mile/KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
08:15 / 05:097.2 mph / 11.6 km/h2:03 / 4:0725min 45s
08:20 / 05:127.2 mph / 11.5 km.h2:04 / 4:0926min 00s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.
26 minute 5k

Follow this 5k training plan for a sub 26 minute 5k

To start this training plan it is recommended that your 5k PB should be below the 28 minute 5k mark already and you are able to run at a pace of 8:20 per mile for at least 1km.

During the course this 26 minute 5k training plan you will be running at a slightly faster pace than this for short durations so you need to ensure that you can hit the 8:20 for at least 1km before we start to think about maintaining it for 26 minutes.

If 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 26 minute 5k training plan

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions
Signs of Overtraining
DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30min easyRest/ cross-train30min easyRest/ cross-train
Tuesday3x1km
[email protected]:12 per km/ 8:20p/m (90s rec.)
10x400m
[email protected]:02 per 400m / 8:10p/m (60s rec.)
3x1km
[email protected]:12 per km/ 8:20p/m (90s rec.)
Rest/ cross-train
Wednesday30min easy30min easy30min easy30min easy
Thursday4x800m [email protected]:09 per 800m/ 8:20 p/m
(200m rec jog)
Hills
Examples
Tempo RunRest/ cross-train
FridayRest/ cross-trainRestRest/ cross-train30min easy
Saturday30min easyRest/ cross-trainFatlek
Examples
Rest/ cross-train
SundayLong runRest/ cross-trainLong runRest/ cross-train

Time commitment: You should be looking to commit roughly 3 hours of work a week over the course of the 26 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 26 minute 5k

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

  • Steady Run – this should be no quicker than 09:15 p/m.
  • Long Run – slow and steady pace, this should be less than 1 hour.
  • Fartlek – unstructured training. Example Fartlek sessions.

Breakthrough Sessions – 26 minute 5k

These sessions are meant to be challenging intense efforts, treat them as mini-milestones towards your target:

  • 400m Reps – these need to be at 8:10 p/m pace (2:02 per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 8:20p/m pace (4:09 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – hit 8:20p/m pace (5:12 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 26 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.

8 Responses

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  1. Julie B says:

    Hi Matt, I’m enjoying the variety of workouts in your program, but have a question. In week 3, how far and what pace is the tempo run? When training for half marathons, tempo pace was usually half mara pace, so is it 5km pace? Thanks in advance.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Julie, for the tempo run look to try and hit 5k pace for a couple of miles in the middle of the run. For 5k training I would tend to do a steady mile building up the pace, then a couple of miles at 5k target pace or close to, and then a steady mile to finish. Good luck!

  2. Ken says:

    Hi Matt. Are you using the terms ‘tempo run’ and ‘steady run: no quicker than . . .’ interchangeably on this 26 min 5Km program? Also, when next you’re doing some editing, could you supply both mile and Km pacing please so I don’t have to do the conversion from ‘no quicker than 8:55 per mile to Km pacing? Thanks for a very helpful and supportive site.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Ken, “tempo” and “steady” runs are quite different; tempo should be a brisk pace, close to your aerobic or anaerobic thresholds and steady is just that, a nice easy relaxed pace where you don’t worry too much about the pace but make sure it’s not too fast. I will take a look at the conversions and make an update, thanks for the pointing it out.

  3. Aituaje says:

    Hello! I read that long runs should be no more than an hour: is there a goal pace for these? Is there a goal distance? Thank you!

  4. Ismail Rashid says:

    How long do you run for the long runs?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Ismail, largely up to you but if you are focusing solely on 5k training then I wouldn’t run longer than an 60-80 mins tops for a long run.