30 minute 5k Training Plan

Target Race Pace 9:40 per mile / 6:00 per km for a Sub 30 minute 5k

To run a sub 30 minute 5k you will need to be able to run at a target race pace of 9:40 minutes per mile pace for the full 3.1 mile/5k distance. To start this training plan it is recommended that you are not completely new running and have completed our couch to 5k training plan and you are able to run at a pace of 9:40 per mile for at least 1km.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: Sub 30 minute 5k

Pace per Mile / KmTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits5km Race Pace
09:40 / 06:006.2 mph / 10.0 km/h2:24 / 4:4830min
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.

During the course of this 30 minute 5k training plan you will be running at a slightly faster pace than 9:40 p/mile for short durations, so you need to ensure that you can maintain a pace of 9:40 for at least 1km before we start to think about maintaining it for 30 minutes.

If you are not quite at the 30 minute 5k mark yet, then have a check out the couch-to-5k training plan 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 || 30 minute 5k training plan || Couch to 5k Training Plan

Your Sub 30 minute 5k training plan

Please read before starting a training plan:
Frequently Asked Questions
Signs of Overtraining
DayWeek 1Week 2Week 3Rec. Week
Monday30mins easyRest/cross-trainRest/cross-trainRest/cross-train
[email protected]:00 per km / 9:40p/m (90s rec.)
[email protected]:24 per 400m / 9:40p/m (60s rec.)
[email protected]:00 per km / 9:40p/m (90s rec.)
WednesdayRest/cross-train30mins easyRest/cross-train30mins easy
[email protected]:48 per 800m / 9:40p/m
(200m jog rec).
Rest/cross-train30mins easyRest/cross-train
FridayRest/cross-trainRestRest/cross-train30mins easy
[email protected]:48 per 800m / 9:40p/m
(200m jog rec).
SundayLong runRest/cross-trainLong runRest/cross-train

Time commitment: You should be looking to commit roughly 2 hours of work a week over the course of the sub 30 minute 5k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – Sub 30 minute 5k

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

  • Steady Run – this should be no quicker than 10:30 p/m.
  • Long Run – this doesn’t need to be any longer than 60-75 minutes.

Breakthrough Sessions – Sub 30 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 9:40 p/m pace (2:24 per lap) with a 60sec standing recovery.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 9:40 p/m pace (4:48 per 800m) with a 200m jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – aim for 9:35-9:40 p/m pace (6:00 per km) with a 90sec jogged recovery.

The core work for the 30 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.

To realise improvements it’s worth remembering that training is cumulative and it takes time and dedication to follow any training plan and achieve the results you want. You should not start this plan if you cannot commit to doing 3 sessions a week.

46 Responses

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  1. Faizy says:

    I was using the plan to run 5km in 30 minutes – and it worked like a treat – thanks a bunch Matt!
    For context, I ran ad-hoc and anytime I ran a 5k, I’ll consistently do it around 37minutes.
    Following Matt’s plan, in the 5th week I ran it in 29minutes, 8 minutes faster.
    Matt – I’m now targeting a 10k plan – thanks a mil

  2. Faizy says:

    I was using the plan to run 5km in 30 minutes – and it worked like a treat – thanks a bunch Matt!
    For context, I ran ad-hoc and anytime I ran a 5k, I’ll consistently do it around 37minutes.
    Following Matt’s plan, in the 5th week I ran it in 29minutes, 8 minutes faster.
    Matt – I’m now targeting a 10k plan – thanks a mil

  3. Jhansen says:

    Thanks for this plan. It’s rather effective.

    I was stuck at 32 minutes on low heart rate training.

    After week 2 during an Easy run, I was able to hit sub-30 while keeping my heart rate really low (I didn’t even touch my aerobic zone). So, I decided to adjust the plan to hit sub-28.

    I ran my 5 km trial today and hit 24:35!!! 7 minutes was spent in my threshold zone.

    I’m going to try the sub-24 training plan. I’m certain I’ll be able to hit that no problem.

    I can’t believe this is all available for free!!!

  4. Lisa Gardener says:

    I’ve just completed this training plan. I’ve managed to improve my 5k time from 34mins to 29.10mins. It made my running so much more interesting, fitness levels have improved too. Loved it! Thanks

  5. Blase says:

    At 31 years old and 250 lbs, I just completed my 1st 5k @ sub-35 min. I’m going to give this training plan an honest shot. I hope to see improvements. Looking forward to the challenge.

  6. Ryan says:

    Should the treadmill pace be set at 6.2 mph for this training? That equals a 30:00 5k. 6.1 mph is like 30:30.

  7. Ryan says:

    Great site. Thanks! So in the intro you talk about how there will be times where we are required to run faster than our target 5k pace, but for the interval days I’m seeing speeds that are equal to target pace and other runs it’s slower. Am I reading something wrong? Thanks

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Ryan, you can ignore that text. I originally had a speed session slightly faster than target pace but revised it. Will update the text but please ignore than for now. Cheers.

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks. Also, why is the treadmill speed at 6.1 mph? That equals a 30:30 5k. 6.21 is a 30 minute 5k, right? Shouldn’t we be training at 6.2 mph?

        • Matt Matt says:

          Hi Ryan, you are quite right, the treadmill pace should be 6.2 mph. I have updated the table so should be correct after a refresh. Thanks for letting me know.
          Cheers, Matt

  8. says:

    Great training plan!

  9. Gaurav Mohan says:

    a few questions
    what is a rec week?
    what is 90s rec?
    what is an easy run

    • Emma says:

      Rec. stands for recovery. A recovery week would be a taking a week off running, or just going for some very slow, steady runs.
      90s rec. is simply recovering for 90 seconds before you begin your next interval.
      An easy run comes under the “steady run” as mentioned above in the blog post. This run should be no quicker than 10minutes 30seconds per mile.
      Best of luck!!

  10. Ellie says:

    Just wanted to say this is a great training plan! Having run very intermittently over the years, I’d never been able to get my 5K time below about 35mins. I did a couple of cycles of this plan (about 8 weeks total, skipping a few runs here and there) and ran my first ever sub-30 5K. I’m about to start this plan for a second time after taking a year out to injury and losing some fitness. Would definitely recommend!

  11. Kefas says:

    Hi Matt,

    Any chance you could tell where should I start to test my PB after 3 week training?or we could always try it in the “30 mins easy” session? thanks

  12. Louise says:

    What is the best way to track the breakthrough sessions e.g. to maintain the target pace?

  13. Monttez Shackelford says:

    Is it safe to flip days around to better fit my training schedule? As in, I will complete all 4 training days, they will just not be in the exact order as prescribed. Is that okay?

    • Lizzie says:

      Yes!Im not an expert but from experience you should be okay doing so .As long as you pick a sensible days to put them in your own order e.g don’t do your Long run before the 800s etc

  14. Anup says:

    Hi Matt, love your site. I finished the NHS couch to 5k programme and luckily found your site in time to work out what to do next.

    I want to ask, how do you fit in a “time trial” run to see if you have made the target time of sub 30 min for example? It would not be considered an easy run, at least not for me!

    Thanks, Anup

  15. Aron says:

    Sorry I don’t know if I’m stupid for asking this, but could you please explain the plan a little more detailed? What does ‘[email protected]:00 per km’ mean? Am I supposed to run 1 km in 6 minutes and repeat that 3 times? Also, what is ’30 mins easy’ – is it just run what you can in 30 min? And how far is a ‘long run’?

    • Jeffrey Gahagan says:

      Aron, yes, the 1K should be done in 6 minutes. (Repeat 3 times). The 30 minutes slow run for myself is around 2 1/2 miles. The long run for myself is a 10k. I haven’t been running but a couple of months, it’s taking me about an hour and fifteen minutes at the moment.

  16. K says:

    The couch to 5k link isn’t working anymore.

    Can you look into it? Thanks.

  17. Ian says:

    If you could only do 3 sessions in week 1, rather than 4, which one would you drop?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Ian,
      The speed interval session are the key ones, so if any sessions have to be dropped then I would drop the easy run/long runs. That’s not to say that these are not important, but rather to achieve that target time and get faster it’s the speed intervals sessions that really make the difference. Good luck.

  18. Hannes says:

    (sorry, just read the answer of question2 in “frequently asked questions”)
    A little hint for other:
    An energy drink just before PB attempt will let you run like crazy, but don’t use it during training, as the body adapts to the coffein if you use it too often.

  19. Hannes says:

    Hi Matt, I’m at week 3 now and already ran a sub25 during training(week2, did 5x800m+200m instead of 4x).
    I love your plans but I have 2 questions:
    -Is week4 always supposed to be a recovery week at every cycle and every 2/3 month some additional recovery?
    Which day would you use for “race day”? Before recovery week, after recovery week, middle of recovery week and can I just go on with the next training after I hit my target time?

    Thx Hannes

  20. Monttez Shackelford says:

    Would it be okay if this plan is done on a treadmill?

  21. Monttez says:

    Would it be okay if this was done on the treadmill?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Monttez, you can but I’d be a little weary of doing so much running on the treadmill. If possible try to do the speed intervals sessions on the treadmill and the steady runs outside if you can.

  22. Monttez says:

    My best mile time is 9:17. I ran that time about two weeks ago. Would you recommend me starting this plan? My goal is to get my 3 mile time to 27 minutes. With my current mile time, do you believe I have the capability of doing this program?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi, yes I would recommend you make a start on the plan. You might be a little off the pace for the interval sessions to begin with, therefore it might take a few cycles of the plan, but stick with it and you’ll get there.

  23. Lex says:

    Hi, thanks for the detailed trying plans. I’m looking at the sub 30min 5k after years of plodding put 10ksslowly! You say to commit 4 hours in addition to cross training. The running time on week one is only about 3.20mins I I include 10 mins warm up and down on speed session days, and an hour less when there is no long run in the week – am I missing something? Thank you

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Lex, you’re not missing anything; I just can’t add up :-). I’ve updated the page, week 1 is longer but overall it’s roughly 2 hours per week of running to give a realistic expectation. Thanks for letting me know and good luck with the plan.

  24. Andy says:

    This plan really helped with my training. Just wanted to say thanks!

  25. Ji says:

    I used this plan for one month before my 5k yesterday. My time from the last 5k (July 2015) was about 35 minutes without any training. Yesterday my 5k time was 27 minutes thanks to following this plan!! (I did circuit training for many of the cross train/rest days). Thank you!!

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Ji, well done! That’s a great effort and excellent improvement in your PB. Pleased you found the training plan useful.

  26. Joe says:

    I found this blog by looking for specific sub-22 5K training plans. Nice work. Are the 4-week plans assuming you have the race at the end of these four weeks? Or do you just repeat them until you think you’re ready to go?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks for your comments, hope you find the site useful for your training. The training plans are cyclical so you can just repeat the plans or tweak them as requried until you are ready to go.

  27. Traci says:

    The paces listed for these workouts are inconsistent and confusing. 8:20 doesn’t seem like the right 1k pace for a sub 30 min 5k

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Traci, apologies for the inconsistencies in the times for the training plan you were looking at. I have corrected the typo and hopefully now the times are consistent. Many thanks for letting me know and hope the training is going well.