Run a 5K (3.1 Miles): Our 5K Training Resources

Last Updated on

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

Mark Spitz

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 PaceFinish Time

5K Pace Chart (KM)

KM PaceFinish Time

Current Records

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:

Weekly 5K Plan

Best 5K Workouts: 5K Weekly Training Plans For Every Skill Level

A 5K is one of the most popular running distances to participate in and is ideal for any fitness level. From in-person races to virtual events, there are plenty of … Read more
Start line of a frosty UK Parkrun

Parkrun For Beginners: A Guide to the UK’s Weekly 5K Meetup

If you are a UK runner, one of the events that you have surely heard about is Parkrun. It’s arguably the most famous running event in the country, and one … Read more
Can I run a 10K if I've completed a 5K?

5K to 10K: Can I Run a 10K If I’ve Completed a 5K?

Congratulations! A little bird told us that you have finished a 5K. That’s an achievement on its own. We are excited along with you and look forward to your next … Read more
Couch to 5K plan for runners

Couch to 5K Training Plan (C25K): How Does It Work?

So you want to start running and you’ve targeted the 5K. Great place to start! But it can seem like a massive undertaking if you’ve never done it before. Running … Read more
What is a good time for a 5K?

What Is A Good 5K Time? [Average 5K Times by Age, Gender & Skill]

Want to improve your 5k time? Or see how your pace compares to the wider population? A 5K time is one of the benchmarks for many runners. Knowing the average … Read more
How to run a 5K in under 20 minutes

How To Run A 5K In Under 20 Minutes

Running a 5K in under 20 minutes places you in the certified fast runners club. If you’re aiming to run the 5K under this elusive mark, you’ll need a lot … Read more

How To Pace A 5K Run

The 5K is one of the most popular race distances in the running world. It’s also one of the most challenging to pace. There are generally three strategies for achieving … Read more

How To Prepare For 5K Race Day

Your 5K race is coming up soon. You’ve sweated it out while doing the bulk of your training; now use the final days and hours to get yourself race-ready and … Read more

How Long Does It Take To Improve a 5K Time?

As the popularity of running continues to see exponential growth, a certain little question has begun to find its way into our general conversations: What is your 5k PB? For … Read more

Joshua Cheptegei after breaking the 5K world record

“I’ve learned that anything is possible if you have the right mindset and believe.

Joshua Cheptegei, moments after breaking the 5000m world record
Fast 5K: 25 Crucial Keys and 4 Training Plans

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.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/29/2024 05:39 am GMT

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:


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: