26 minute 5k Training Plan

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

To consider following this 26 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 08:20 minute for at least a mile (5:12p/km) and/or have a PB under 28 minutes.

If you are not quite there yet then take a look at the 28 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: 26 minute 5k

Pace per Mile/KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
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.

Your 26 minute 5k training plan

DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30min easyRest/ cross-train30min easyRest/ cross-train
Reps@5:12 per km/ 8:20p/m (90s rec.)
Reps@2:02 per 400m / 8:10p/m (60s rec.)
Reps@5:12 per km/ 8:20p/m (90s rec.)
Rest/ cross-train
Wednesday30min easy30min easy30min easy30min easy
Thursday4x800m Reps@4:09 per 800m/ 8:20 p/m
(200m rec jog)
Tempo Run
inc 3 miles at circa 08:35 per mile pace
Rest/ cross-train
FridayRest/ cross-trainRestRest/ cross-train30min easy
Saturday30min easyRest/ cross-trainFatlek
Rest/ cross-train
SundayLong runRest/ cross-trainLong runRest/ cross-train

26 minute 5k Training Plan Components

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 10:20 p/m. Aim for somewhere between 10:20-10:50 per/mile.
  • 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.

About this Plan

Remember that to even consider following this 26 minute 5k plan you should already be able to run at a target race pace of 08:20 minute for at least a mile (5:12p/km) and/or have a PB under 28 minutes.

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.

54 Responses

  1. John Michael says:

    Week 3 asks for 3mi of Tempo at 8:35, which is roughly asking for a sub 27 5k, ie, a personal best, potentially days before attempting a personal best sub 26, for those attempting such after week 3.

    –Fine if you don’t think there is a good way to run sub 26 until you can tempo run sub 27. Nonetheless, a little confusing given the mission and prerequisites of the plan.

    In any case thank you much. I believe this template provides my training great value. Cheers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Curious why a Tempo run at race pace +15s translates over such a broad range of race paces. Intuitively, one would have expected it to be a % of race pace.

  3. Tommy says:

    3x1000m 8:20 p/m pace Reps 5:12 minute >>> 90s recovery
    4x800m 8:20 p/m Reps 4:09 minute >>>> 200m jogging recovery
    A and B have equal velocities. A is longer than B. But B has more rest. Could your plan be wrong? Because it’s so silly.

  4. Takis says:

    Hi! What exactly easy run means?

    • A person says:

      Easy runs are the speed you can have a full conversation with someone beside you, not be huffing and puffing. Heart rate “Zone 2” in a 5-zone system.

  5. Tommy Cox says:

    58 years old. Started running in July not on a training program to run a 5K. Ran August 6th a 5K race in 28 mins flat. Found the training programs here after that and worked on the 26 minute program for two iterations and got to 25:30 by September 14. It helped me with injury prevention, interest (I normally hate running, but this has variety!) , and allowed me to focus on technique instead of over training and going as hard as I can every time out. Have learned so much in a short time! Love it!

  6. Tommy Cox says:

    Really enjoying this.. just wanted to mention that in the break through section on the 26 min 5K, it doesn’t really explain the “tempo run”.. I searched the site and found it explained elsewhere.

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