Good 5K Time | What Does it Take to PR?

What does it take to run a good 5K time? I am glad you have made it here to rundreamachieve. The fact that you are here already tells me you are seeking excellence. The 5,000m event is one of my favorites. I ended up running a personal best time of 14:18 on the roads in Denver, Colorado back in 2010. So, I understand what it takes to run fast in this event. Of course, it didn’t happen quickly. My best time for 5,000m in college was a 15:19 and ran 15:53 as a high school senior for 5K on the roads.

The trick to running a good 5K time is to work on developing your overall leg speed. The 5K is not an aerobic race like the marathon. It is a highly anaerobic event that involves speed. In addition, you still need to work on building your endurance, strength and stamina as well. Quick results do not occur in this sport. It took me from running from 1992 to 2007 to run 2:19:35 for the marathon.

So, you have to have a belief in delayed gratification in order to be successful at this sport. Of course, not everyone is seeking to run a good 5k time. Perhaps you just want to participate in your first 5k race. You can train to run in your first 5k in a matter of 4 to 8 weeks. That being said, running a 5k and racing one on not quite the same.

What is a Respectable 5K Time?

A respectable time for a beginner may be anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes for the distance. The biggest objective I try to convey to my athletes here is to think long-term. Few people believe in delayed gratification. Who doesn’t want quick results right? It is normal to want things fast. That being said, it doesn’t always work that way in the sport of track and field and road racing.

There are resources here that will help speed up your learning curve. I have created 5K training plans for athletes of all abilities. In addition, there are also running coursed for athletes training for the half-marathon and marathon race distances as well. Are you seeking a running coach? I work with athletes, month to month. Also, they can cancel their monthly subscription or re-join at anytime. So, there are some options available to you here. A common mistake I see runners make is running too much of their weekly mileage too slow.

Remember, this is the 5K. So, you need to focus on doing 1, vo2max workout per week. Your vo2max is your maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at such high intensities that you can’t clear the lactic acid faster than it is building up in your muscle tissue. So, we need to take a break between running those intervals. The key is to allow proper time to adapt to the stresses you are placing on the body.

Average 5k Time for Men

Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress you place on it. The first area you need to focus on is building a strong base of easy aerobic mileage first. The reason being is you want to strengthen your muscles, ligaments and joints before moving onto harder anaerobic training. First, start by doing 4 to 6, 100-meter strides 2 times per week during your easy days. Strides are short in duration usually between 50 to 100 meters in length. The great thing about doing strides is they don’t build up any significant lactic acid.

Remember, don’t go all out on your strides. It should be a gradual increase in speed where only the last 10 to 20 meters should be all out. Also, focus on staying as relaxed as you can and work on your form. Below are the average 5k times for men based on age groups.

Source: Running Level

Average 5k Time for Women

The training plans available here at are 16 weeks in length. 4 months is plenty of time to train properly for a 5K. Again, to run a good 5k time you need to not be in a rush. Your time is priceless. So, if you are going to spend time preparing for a 5 kilometer race you might as well spend it wisely right? Again, if the majority of your mileage is run too slow how well will you be prepared to sustain your goal 5k race pace? The athletes that seek me out for performance coaching want to work toward legitimate results.

Below are some of the top 5K times for women by age group that are currently being monitored. Again, these are top times run by females for each age group. Times will vary from athlete to athlete. Everyone will have their own opinion of what they think a good 5k time is. These are certainly not examples of an average 5k time for males and females but the very best times ever recorded.

Source: Running Level

How Long Does It Take To Run A 5k?

Athletes who are generally interested in just running a 5K can prepare in 4 to 8 weeks for the event. Of course, you can always just go out and jog and walk a 5K at anytime. We all come from different backgrounds. So, some of us are just starting in the sport and others are trying to run under a specific time. It takes work, patience and focus to run a good 5k time. As mentioned above, you need to first focus on building 3 to 4 weeks of each base mileage first. We then start focusing on training at or far below goal 5k race pace.

Again, rundreamachieve training plans are 16 weeks in length. So, pre-planning for success is key. Are you seeking to hire a fitness consultant? If so, joining the rundreamachieve private, running community may be of interest to you. I coach athletes from all over the world who are seeking to make it to the next level in their training and racing. I have others that invest in my running courses or training plans.

So, it just depends on how the athletes wants to move forward. I believe training for 16 weeks will help yield the highest return on your investment. Again, running a 5K and properly preparing to race in one are not the same. Racing a marathon involves minimizes the effects of lactic acid. The goal is slowing down less than our competition. Again, you want to attack after that first mile. So, don’t make your move in the race until you get to mile 1. Make it a 2.1 mile instead of a 3.1 mile race.

Closing Thoughts

There are far too many runners running too aggressively in the first mile of this race. You want to be passing people instead of being passed in the 5,000m event. So, you have to be strategic in how you race. Also, I recommend a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. of course, there are many runners who have done very well with a 21 day taper. I have found that I, and those that I coach, get stellar results by doing a 10-day taper. We continue to remind our legs what we are training them to do up until 10 days out from our main event.

4 days prior to a 5K race we may do a 2-mile run at goal race pace as one last reminder of what we are aiming to do. You also need to focus on mental training as well. The vast majority of runners get this wrong. They focus 100 percent of their efforts on physical training and neglect mental training.

Do you want to run a good 5k time or a great time? If so, spend 10 to 15 minutes mentally rehearsing and seeing yourself performing at the level you are dreaming about. Also, stay consistent with this over 16 weeks. You are training your subconscious mind to bring to you what you want.

Lastly, subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create weekly video content helping runners from all over the world get to the next level in their training and racing. I hope this post has been helpful to you and look forward to working closely with you.

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