28 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace: 9:00 per mile / 5:35 per km for a 28 minute 5k

To run a 28 minute 5k you will need to be able to run at a target race pace of 9:00 minutes per mile pace for the 3.1 mile distance, that is 5min 37sec per kilometre.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 28 minute 5k

Pace per Mile / KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
08:55 / 05:346.7 mph / 10.7 km/h2:13 / 4:2727min 50s
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.
28 minute 5k training plan

Follow our training plan to get you under that 28 minute mark

To start this training plan it is recommended that your 5k PB should be below the 30 minute 5k mark already and you are able to run at a pace of 9:00 per mile for at least 1km.

During the course this 28 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 9:00 for at least 1km before we start to think about maintaining it for 28 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 28 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
[email protected]:37 per km / 9:00p/m (90s rec.)
[email protected]:12 per 400m /8:50p/m (60s rec.)
[email protected]:29 per 800m /9:00 p/m
(200m jog rec.)
30min easy
Wednesday30min easy30min easyRest/cross-trainRest/cross-train
[email protected]:29 per 800m /9:00 p/m
(200m jog rec.)
FridayRest/cross-trainRest/cross-trainRest/cross-train30min easy
SaturdayRest/cross-trainRest/cross-train30min easyRest/cross-train
SundayLong runLong runLong runRest/cross-train

Time commitment: You should be looking to commit roughly 3 hours of work a week over the course of the 28 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 28 minute 5k

These sessions are used for maintaining fitness & recovery. Preparing you for breakthrough sessions:
  • SteadyRun – this doesn’t need to be any quicker than 10:15-10:30 p/m.
  • Long Run – this should be less than 1 hour. Try not to worry about the pace, just enjoy being out running.
  • Fartlek – unstructured training. Example Fartlek sessions.

Breakthrough Sessions – 28 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 8:50 p/m pace (2:12 per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 9:00p/m pace (4:29 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – hit 9:00p/m pace (5:37 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 28 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.

45 Responses

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  1. Dee says:

    This plan is great but how do I translate this into my race strategy?

  2. Charlie says:

    Can you define the “easy 30min” day. Is this just a light jog with no worries about pace at all?

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Matt Great site and plans. I have a 5k (saturday) that would be at the end of week 3 (2nd cycle of 28 min plan). Should I follow week 3 with a 5k at the end of the week? And, my 2nd question is, I move right into having a 10k 4 weeks later. Can I immediately move to one of the 10k plans for those next 4 weeks? Thanks so much!

  4. David says:

    Are the recoveries after each interval on the Tuesdays and first Wednesday?

  5. Tara Roberts says:

    What should we do for a warm-up before each session? Do we need to do a warm-up for an easy run?

  6. Stephanie says:

    I love this plan! I’m going to speak bluntly – as a woman who has one week per month scuppered by problematic menstruation, I have often found it difficult to follow training plans since I started running aged 16. I am now 45! This plan is great as I can time it so the recovery week covers the time when I struggle to find much energy. Instead of it being a ‘problem’, this plan allows me to cater for it. Thank you.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for taking the time to comment on this and I’m really pleased that you’ve been able to incorporate the plan into your monthly training cycle. Good luck with the training! Cheers.

  7. Eleanor Warwick says:

    Hi. I am following your 28 minute 5km plan. Can you please advise what pace I should be aiming for and should I be trying to run for the full hour please? Thankyou.

    • Eleanor Warwick says:

      Hi. Sorry, this is in reference to the long run! Thankyou

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Eleanor, for the long run do not worry about the pace. Just try and enjoy being out. You don’t need to go longer than 1 hour ideally, but this is down to you and your experience and comfort at the pace.

  8. Michael says:

    Hi there, is there a diet plan you’d recommend to go with this training schedule and what food is recommended for consumption before a run to maximise stamina and growth? Cheers

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Michael, it’s not something I’ve looked at including on the website yet but definitely on the to do list as nutrition is vital to training in a structured and committed way. Please check back again soon and I’ll hopefully have some updates on the site that will help. Cheers.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks Matt. Also on easy run days is it advisable to incorporate hilly routes at a slow pace to help build muscle and endurance or will this hamper performance in breakthrough and breakeven sessions?


  9. Dani says:

    Hey Matt, Just wondering, when we should re-test ?

  10. Blair McClelland says:

    Hi Matt,
    I was wondering if it would be ok to do the long runs on a treadmill or if it is recommended to be done outdoors, what would you do?
    forward to your response.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Blair, you certainly could do but them on a treadmill but if it was me I would only opt for this if outside runs weren’t possible, i.e., there’s snow everywhere! 🙂 Treadmills are quite unforgiving on the knees and joints so I personally would rather do my long runs outside, even some of them off road. Nothing wrong with doing the odd long run on the treadmill though. Good luck with your training.

    • Dani says:

      Oh nvm

  11. DB says:

    Is there a good way to print this article? The formatting gets all wonky when I try to do it, even to a PDF.

  12. Claudia says:

    Hi Matt,

    Right now my PB is just over 28min. I want to train towards being able to run a 16min 5km.
    I think it best to start with your 28min training plan. My question is; after I finish the 3 week training plan and the 1 week recovery, can I than start with the 26min training plan in week 5, the 24min training plan in week 10 etc, or do you recommend to repeat the same training plan several times?
    Looking forward to your response.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Claudia, the training plans are intended to be repeated in a cycle until the target time has been achieved. For example, you might roll with the 28 minute plan for a 7 to 8 weeks (i.e., 2 cycles of it) or until you have ran a 28 minute 5k and then you could progress to the 26min training plan. Hope that makes sense. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  13. Lily says:

    Hey Matt, just finished your couch to 5k with a time of 29 mins and I was just wondering, how you can measure your speed for a run? I don’t really like running carrying a phone or anything but I’m not sure if there is a way I can do this.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Lily, the only way of accurately doing this is to use a watch that provides speed data, such as a Garmin (these can be very expensive so I usually pick one up on eBay).

  14. Kristi Allen says:

    I run local 5k’s most Saturdays. Always have, I enjoy it and it’s the reason i run. don’t want to give that up but after being out for several months due to moving out of state I’ve lost about 1:30 off my normal 5k time. I would like to use your plan to get back to where I was and eventually get to sub 25:00 5k. My question is what day can I move my long run to other than Sunday, I use that day to rest from the 5k and have this plan still be effective? Thanks

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Kristi, it would be tricky to move the long run day without re-jigging the rest of the day’s around (which is something you are very welcome to do). I placed the long run on the Sunday because it’s generally when people have more time and it’s far enough away from the interval session in the middle of the week to allow for recovery and prep. That said, if you are racing regularly on a Saturday then you could consider dropping one of the interval sessions and doing a long run on that day – under the assumption that the Saturday run is a high intensity effort. Alternately (and what I would probably opt for) is to drop the Sunday long run and perhaps extend Monday’s easy run days. This would ensure you fit in the speed session which are key to improving your times.
      Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  15. Trevor says:

    Why would you need to train for a 28 minute 5K

    • Lara says:

      Why post that comment? Kind of obvious why someone would need to train for a sub 28 minute 5K – to get a sub 28 minute 5K, duh

  16. Sandy says:

    Hi. Can I do weights as cross training. If not, when is it best to do them. Looking at two or 3 times a week. Thanks.

  17. PAUL says:

    Hey Matt,
    I currently have a sold base of 35-40 miles per week. I have a question about total training time per week. you seem to say that it would be 4 hours plus cross training but it seems like adding up the workouts on the plan it much less than that.


    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Paul, thanks for your query. I have allowed for an hour a week contingency so you are correct in that the total training time is circa 3 hours (30 mins roughly per session + 1 hour for long run) with an additional hour included which is the time I spend faffing, getting to a track/hill/gym, etc. 🙂 Cheers

  18. Mad says:

    Well done and really great job for all the effort that you put to make all this training plan!!!
    I started running on July 17 and already completed 3 times 5K race with my best time is 35:50 (official) on 6 Aug 17. During that race, my official chip time for first 2.5km is 13:02 (5:23min/km) , but the pace drop dramatically for the next 2.5 km to 9:07min/km. During the training, I completed my first 10k in 1:14:50 on 4 Sep 2017. My average weekly distance is 16km. I still confuse to choose which plan is best for me and how fast I can go. My actual target is to achieve 55min 10k in Jun 2018. Which plan do you think is the best for my next 5K race on this 4 Nov? I will start to join 10k race by next year.
    Many thanks!!

  19. eric hui says:

    I’m a beginner and as with all sports, i’m guessing it doesn’t matter what program i follow- gains will come progressively and inevitably. My question is will this training work if i am doing this as a form of crosstraining, since i’m not a primarily a runner. 5 /week training seems like nothing, but i just want to hear it from you

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Eric, I’m not sure I really understand your question. Sure, whichever plan you follow gains will come progressively at first but you will inevitably plateau at some point, which is why I have put together these structured plans built around a target race pace as it’ll help the progression you’re after. My advice would be if you are only running as part of a cross training programme then these plans probably aren’t for you as they are geared towards running and achieving particular race times. Cheers.

  20. Oliver says:

    Hi. I’m on the 16 minute 5k training plan. It’s very useful and enjoyable. Can you explain more on how to do the tempo runs? How long should they be and at what pace? Many thanks

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Oliver, for the tempo run I would suggest something in region of 20 secs outside your target pace pace for a couple 2-3 miles in the middle of a jog. My tempo runs tend to last 30 mins, 10 mins jog, 10 mins ish at a good tempo pace, then 10 mins jog. Hope that helps and good luck with the trianing plan.

  21. Shannon says:

    What do you mean by “after 2/3 months of using the training plan…”?

  22. Hannah Rae says:

    I was just wondering what you suggest I do during the 1 week recovery (as in should I be doing some easy runs or cross-training or anything like that?)? I love your site btw 🙂

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Hannah, yes I would suggest to do a couple of runs during your recovery week just to keep things ticking over. I wouldn’t advise any speed work that week and if you have options for cross-training then this would be a great thing to do that week. What worked for me was to cycle or swim most days during the recovery week and by the end of it I would have given my ‘running legs’ a break and be itching to get out for a run. I found this approach also helped alleviate the prospect of groundhog day training setting in, so you are giving yourself a break mentally as well as physically.
      Pleased you like the site and good luck with your training 🙂

  23. Jack says:

    Thanks for your awesome no-nonsense site. I love it, you get right to the point with simple easy to follow training plans. I’m currently working towards a sub 30 5K (I’m about 32:30 now), and to follow that with a sub 60 10K (I did a 1:07 a few months back with one month of training). I had started doing a few intervals but didn’t really have a plan and now I do. I like that you can adjust the paces with your plans. Question… I’m walking during my rest intervals right now, as I’m pretty gassed after the 1KM and 800m intervals. Do you think that is okay?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for your comments. Always nice to hear that the plans are working and you find them useful. Re your walking, yes that is fine: recover as best as you can in whatever way suits you. Some people like to jog slowly between intervals so the heart rate doesn’t come down too much and it’s not so much of shock to system when you start the next interval. Personally, I take static rest when doing 400m & 800m intervals and a jogged rest when doing 1km or 2km intervals.
      Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  24. Adela says:

    Gonna give the 28 plan a go after my 13 yr old bet me I’ve been out for 18m due to injury and recovery Last week 5k was 29.11 so fingers crossed
    Well done andrewmcgill

  25. andrewmcgill says:

    After 2 years away from running I finished my C25K a month ago with a time of 29:51. After following the 28min 5K plan I’ve just managed a 27:48 – 32 seconds faster than my previous best so thank-you 🙂

    • Matt Matt says:

      Well done that’s a great effort and a really good improvement in such a short space of time. I’m pleased the plan worked so well for you 🙂