The 5K is one of the most popular races in the world. At 3.1 miles, the race is a manageable distance for most runners. You’ll find 5K events popping up locally much more often than 10Ks — and they are typically social events (e.g UK Parkrun). Depending on whether you choose to go easy or go hard, the 5K can be an enjoyable cardio session… or it can be 20-30 minutes of absolute hell.
If you fail to prepare, you’ve prepared to fail
5K For Beginners
Couch to 5K Training Plan (C25K): How It Works
The Couch to 5K is one of the most famous training plans in the world. It typically lasts around 12 weeks, over which you will slowly build your fitness levels so that you can complete a 5K race.
If you are new to running, or looking for the perfect training plan to build up your base fitness levels, the famous C25K is a great starting point.
5K Pace Charts
Training for a 5K race and want to beat your personal best? Our 5K pace charts below show you the exact pace required to achieve your time. Don’t forget you can use our pace calculator to see a breakdown of the splits required to smash your goal!
5K Pace Chart (Miles)
|Mile Pace||Finish Time|
5K Pace Chart (KM)
|KM Pace||Finish Time|
How does your pace compare to the world’s fastest 5K runners?
Take a peek at the current fastest 5K times:
Men’s Fastest 5K
Joshua Cheptegei is the current world-record holder. The Ugandan set a time of 12:35.36 at the Monaco Run 5K in 2020.
Think you can keep up with Cheptegei? His 5K requires splits of 4:03 per mile, or 2:31 per km.
Women’s Fastest 5K
Letesenbet Gidey, of Ethiopia, is the current world-record holder for women. She set a time of 14:06.62 at the suitably named NN Valencia World Record Day in 2020.
Her time breaks down to 4:32 per mile, or 2:49 per KM.
Average 5K Times
You’re unlikely to spot Joshua Cheptegei or Letesenbet Gidey at your local 5K. So what is a more realistic time to benchmark against?
The average 5K time for men is between 31 to 36 minutes and the average 5K time for women is between 38 to 43 minutes.
Keep this in mind when setting your race targets!
5K Tips & FAQs
The 5K is the shortest of the so-called ‘long-distance’ races. At 3.1 miles, and with an average completion time of between 31-43 minutes, the 5K is an excellent first race for beginners. But don’t confuse short with easy! Ran at a threshold pace, the 5K will test every last ounce of your cardio fitness. See our best 5K training tips and guides below:
Best 5K Workouts: 5K Weekly Training Plans For Every Skill Level
Parkrun For Beginners: A Guide to the UK’s Weekly 5K Meetup
5K to 10K: Can I Run a 10K If I’ve Completed a 5K?
Couch to 5K Training Plan (C25K): How Does It Work?
What Is A Good 5K Time? [Average 5K Times by Age, Gender & Skill]
How To Run A 5K In Under 20 Minutes
How To Pace A 5K Run
How To Prepare For 5K Race Day
How Long Does It Take To Improve a 5K Time?
“I’ve learned that anything is possible if you have the right mindset and believe.— Joshua Cheptegei, moments after breaking the 5000m world record
In his fast-paced, ultimate guide to 5K running races, celebrated running coach Pete Magill reveals the 25 crucial keys to setting your next 5K PR. Magill shares hard-earned lessons he gained while leading 19 teams to USA national championships.
Running a 5K: The Facts and Figures
Master The Basics To Run A Fast 5K
Given enough time to cross the finish line, most people will be able to run a 5K. But a fast 5K? Different game altogether. While longer distances like the 10K and Half Marathon could be described as a grind, the 5K ran at full throttle is a burn. You need to cover the basics if you want to see your PB tumble: get in good shape, fuel your body well, and avoid injury. See our resources below:
GET IN SHAPE TO RUN FAST
The 5K requires both speed and endurance. Work hard to get in shape and your times will naturally tumble.
Nutrition for runners
You don’t need to fuel during a 5K, but your overall diet is critical to performance.
injury AND Recovery
A fast 5K is run at threshold pace. Tweaks and sprains are common. Here’s how to deal with them: