5 Kilometers in Miles | Tips to Run a 5K PR

5 kilometers in miles is 3.1 to be exact. Of course, that is the quick answer. That being said, how can you cover that distance on foot in the fastest possible manner. My goal with this post is to help provide some tips that can help you set a new personal record. I have run 14:18 for the distance.

So, do have some background in this event. Welcome to rundreamachieve.com. I am glad you have made it here. No, the 5 kilometer distance is not a fun race. It is a highly anaerobic race. Yes, you do need to work on your speed development in order to run well.

One of the biggest mistakes I see runners making is running too many of their miles too slow. In addition, running too fast on their harder, anaerobic workouts. I discuss tips to improve your running times on the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel each week. I definitely recommend subscribing if you are searching for ways to run faster over 5,000 meters. 3.1 miles is 5 kilometers or 5,000 meters. Also, it is 12 and half laps around the track.

What Distance is 5 KM in Miles?

As mentioned above, 5,000 meters or 5 kilometers comes out to 3.1 miles. So, you do have to work on your speed in order to run fast over 5km. My recommendation is to spend about 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage first. The reason for this is to strengthen the muscles, ligaments and joints of the body.

Once you have done that you can start working on preparing for 5km race-specific training. Race specific meaning you are training at, near or far below your goal 5k race pace.

You can also do strides in the early stages of your build up. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter sprints that you can use to work on your acceleration and form. Strides are great in that they don’t build up any significant lactic acid. So, you can do these types of short workouts on top of your weekly speed workouts, tempo runs and long runs. I recommend doing 5 to 6, 100 meter repetitions during your easy days, twice per week.

Does 5 KM Equal 8 Miles?

No, 5 kilometers in miles equals 3.1 miles. 8 kilometers equals 12.7 kilometers and 8 kilometers is equal to 5 miles. There are a lot of collegiate cross country races that are 8 kilometers in length. In addition, USA Track and Field usually has women run 8 kilometers for their races and men run 10 kilometers at the USA national cross country championships.

The vast majority of road races and cross country races for high schoolers are run over 5 kilometers. As mentioned above, always focus on building your foundational mileage first.

The focus in doing that is to ensure that your body is fully prepared to handle the harder, anaerobic training you will undergoing. Remember, patience is essential for success over 5,000 meters.

Again, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for your body to adapt to any stress load that you are placing on it. So, you cannot rush your fitness. One way to get faster over 5 kilometers is to work on improving your lactate tolerance.

What is a Good Time for a 5K?

A good 5k time can range anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes for most runners. Of course, there are runners out there who can run under 20 minutes or faster for the 5k distance. That being said, the term “good” is going to have different meaning for different people.

For example, someone who has run 30:15 for 5km may think a 24 minute 5K is good. The athlete who has run 17:30 may think a time of 16 minutes or faster is good. The key tactic to use to run faster is to spend more of your weekly mileage training at or below your goal 5k race pace.

The best middle to long distance runners spend around 40 percent of their weekly mileage at these intensities.

No, you don’t run that fast that often immediately. You have to pre-plan properly. I have running courses, training plans and monthly coaching for this reason. It is much better to know exactly what workouts the athlete needs to do on a daily, weekly and month basis. More importantly, knowing why that athlete is doing the workouts he or she has been prescribed to do.

How Many Calories Will I Burn Running 5km?

You will burn between 100 to 110 calories per mile that you run or walk. So, around 300 to 340 calories during a 3.1 mile, 5,000m or 5km road or track race. Remember, you are going to burn the same amount of calories whether you walk or run. The only difference is the pace at which you burn those calories will differ depending on the speed. So, you’ll just burn them faster or slower depending on which way you choose to cover the distance.

I recommend to my athletes that hire me as their performance coach to do 1, vo2 max workout per week. Training at your vo2 max is preparing at speeds that far exceed the pace you are aiming at run at in the race. Again, the key tactic here is to improve your body’s lactate tolerance.

So, the more efficient you can become at clearing lactic acid faster than it is building up in your muscles the better. You want to be able to sustain pace over 5km more effectively than your competition. Running easy is also very important. The reason being is that you can only push the body so hard so many times. You will start to get a diminished return on your time investment. So, you definitely want to train smarter rather than harder.

How Hard is it to Run 5K in 20 Minutes?

Athletes seeking to run 5 kilometers under 20 minutes will need to sustain 4 minutes per kilometer. In addition, around 6:25 per mile for the 3.1 mile distance. Yes, a sub 20 minute 5K is a very competitive time. I have built a training plan for athletes seeking to run 5km this fast.

Remember, 5 kilometers in miles comes out to 3.1 miles. So, to cover that distance as fast as possible without slowing down means you have to work smart. Do the hardest workout athletes always get the results?

No, athletes that are using leverage do. Leverage means you are doing more with less. So, higher mileage by itself will not guarantee you a faster 5km race. You have to work on your overall leg speed to get that goal race pace you are aiming for to feel more like a controlled effort. It should not feel like an all out sprint from this first couple kilometers into the race.

Yes, it will hurt in that last 1.6 kilometers or 1 mile of the race. That being said, if you train at a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate each week your chances of success increases. Again, this is a highly anaerobic (without oxygen) race. So, it involves more speed workout than an event like the marathon which is far more aerobic (with oxygen) in nature.

How Fast Should I Run a 5K for My Age?

Below is a graph that shows average 5k time for athletes by age and gender. Again, always focus on what time you are going for and spend more time each week training at these paces. The hurdle to overcome is how to sustain race pace longer than your competition.

Yes, running easy burns fat but you also have to learn to conserve what we as athletes have far less of, glycogen or carbohydrate storage. The faster we run the more oxygen we need to maintain race pace.

So, if you run too many of your weekly miles or kilometers too slow you won’t be preparing adequately enough. Below are the types of times you want to be aiming at by age group for men. The second graph covers the times for women by age group starting at 15 year of age going to 60 years of age.

5km in miles
Note: new world record for men on the roads has been lowered down to 12:49
Note: world record now for women on the roads for the 25-30 age group is now 14:29

What is the Fastest 5K Ever Ran?

The fastest 5k ever run by a male is 12 minutes and 35 seconds set by Ugandan, Geoffrey Cheptegei. He average 4:03 per mile for 3.1 miles or around 2:31 per kilometer. The world record for females was set by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia who can an outstanding 14:06 or 4:32 per mile for the 3.1 mile distance. Also, she held around 2:49 per kilometer over the 5 kilometer distance.

These are the fastest 5km race ever ran by a human to date. So, times at this distance will vary from athlete to athlete. The fastest 5k road race I ran as a high school senior was 15:53 on the roads and 16:19 for cross country. I ended up running 15:19 for 5,000m (5K) on the track as a collegiate athlete.

Lastly, ran 14:18 for 5km on the roads as a professional athlete in Denver, Colorado at 5,300ft elevation in 2010. So, it can take several years to get to your end goal. I knew I was more of a long distance runner but I wanted to get my 5km time down as low as I could get it. The faster you can run over the shorter distances the more it will help you when it comes time to compete in the longer races.

5 Kilometers to Meters

As mentioned above, 5 kilometers in meters is 5,000 meters. Again, that comes out to 12 and half laps on the track. Pace sustainment is the key when it comes to running any race distance. You will teach the body to handle lactic acid build up more efficiently than your competition.

5 kilometers in miles

You also have to be able to pace yourself more strategically than those you race as well. Yes, you can go out fast but you also have to be able to know that you can sustain it if you do.

A major mistake runners make is running far too aggressive too soon in a 5k. The result is they start to slow down and run slower than their goal time. So, if you are conservative early you can plan your attack when you are 1 mile or 1.6 kilometers into a 5,000 meter (5km) race. It is much more fun to be passing people in the last mile of a 5km race than being passed. So, in order to do this you have to train at paces that are much faster than your goal 5k race time.

Tempo Runs

You also want to spend more time each week training at your anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point when lactic acid starts to accumulate in your muscles. A big reason why runners are not able to sustain 5km race pace is they have run too many of their miles too slow in training. Again, the best middle to long distance runners run around 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below goal 5k race pace.

So, how much are you practicing your goal race pace? Is it 5 percent each week? 15 percent? If it is this low then we know how we can make some improvements. Also, you need to focus on aiming to do longer tempo runs. Imagine how confident you will be if you end up doing 6 mile tempo runs in training? Why? Well, you are running double the distance of your race.

10 kilometers in miles is 6.2 miles. Remember, 5 kilometers in miles comes out to 3.1 miles. So, if you are running double the distance of a 5K at your tempo effort how much easier will racing over 3 miles be for you? No, this will not happen quickly. First, focus on doing your tempo runs around 2(3.2 kilometers) to 3 miles (4.8 kilometers). You will to focus on this distance for around 4 weeks.

You can then start to extend the distance once your body has adapted to that distance and intensity. Again, always be thinking of how can I train smarter than my competition.

What Does 5 Kilometers Mean?

5 kilometers in miles comes out to 3.107 miles to be exact. The 5k race is more of an anaerobic event. So, it involves more speed development. In addition, there is less time to make a mistake in a 5k road or track race. It isn’t like the marathon where you can slow down, re-group and speed up in the middle miles to finish strongly. There are athletes that go out far too fast in the 5 km race distance and end up slowing significantly in the last few kilometers of the race.

So, you do want to focus on training at faster paces in preparing for the 5k race distance. In addition, conducting the types of workouts mentioned below to ensure you have the best chances of success. You don’t want to run high mileage too slow. Yes, running higher mileage will build your endurance. That being said, you need speed, strength and stamina over 5,000 meters.

Long Runs

I am a big believer in doing faster, varied pace long runs. In fact, the long run is the most difficult workout that I do. You don’t want to run long and slow every single weekend. Yes, running easier long runs are still vitally important to. You just don’t want to get into the habit of running easy every weekend. I recommend doing a faster long run one weekend followed the next by an easy, relaxed long run.

Below are some examples of faster, varied pace long runs I have my athletes do…

  • 2 mile warm-up, 8 kilometers (5 miles)@160 beats per minute (around 85% of maximum heart rate..this WILL vary by the age of the athlete though), 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile-warm-up, 2 miles@160BPM, 1 mile jog, 1 mile@15 seconds faster than goal race pace, 3 miles moderate@167BPM, 1 mile cool-down

Again, the following weeks’ long run needs to be easy and relaxed to ensure the athlete is recovering. The benefits of your hard work is going to come within the rest period. Remember, your body is 2 to 3 times as weak immediately following a hard, anaerobic workout. So, you want to ensure that you are jogging 24 to 48 hours after a hard workout like this.

Interval and Speed Training

Again, 5 kilometers in miles is 3.1 miles. So, to cover this distance as fast as possible you have to stress the energy systems of the body adequately. Too many miles or kilometers run too slow only makes the runner an outstanding, slow runner. It doesn’t take much to run slow for a couple miles or kilometers. That being said, it is an art form to run fast over 5km races on the track or roads.

You want to do 1, speed workout per week. You can do intervals like 10x200m or 16x400m on the track as an example. Also, you can focus on doing fartlek workouts as well. Fartlek, which means “speed play” is a a mixture of easy, moderate and fast running done all at once. For example, a fartlek workouts for an athlete training for a 5 kilometer race may look like this…

  • 1 mile warm-up, 20×1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy, 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile jog warm-up, 5x2minute hard followed by 30 seconds easy, 1 mile cool-down
  • 2 mile warm-up, 3×4 minutes hard followed by 2 minutes easy, 1 mile cool-down

Interval and fartlek speed workouts should be at speeds that are much faster than you are planning on racing at in your 5k race. Again, the focus is to get that goal race pace you have in mind to feel more in control and less aggressive.

Closing Thoughts

In closing, 5 kilometers in miles comes out to 3.1 miles or 5,000 meters. I have covered some key strategies that I have used in the past to help me lower my 5km personal best down to 14 minutes and 18 seconds. You can use the same tactics to help you improve your current personal record yourself.

How often do you focus on mental training? Did you know the very best runners mentally rehearse themselves running in the way they are dreaming about and often?

So, spend 10 to 15 minutes each day visualizing yourself running the race time you are dreaming about. In addition, see yourself getting across the finish line with your goal time on the clock.

It has to happen in the mind before it can ever become a reality. Yes, you will still need to prepare physically as well. That being said, most runners get it wrong as they only focus on physical training and neglect mental training

I hope this post has been helpful to you. Make sure to check out our resources that are available to you here by clicking on any of the green buttons you see on this post. I look forward to working with you and helping you get a new personal best over 5 kilometers.

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