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How to run a 25 minute 5k


The 5k is one of the world’s most popular running distances.

Being able to run a 25 minute 5k is a goal for many runners who are wanting to achieve their next 5k PB or simply improve their 5k race time.

But don’t be fooled, there’s a fair amount of training that goes into running a 5k at the pace required for a 25 minute 5k.

In fact, many elite runners put their success down to being able to run the humble 5k.

Kenyan long distance runner Eliud Kipchoge specialised in the 5,000 metre distance years before he became a marathon world record holder.

The bottom line? Running a 25 minute 5k should not be underestimated.

In this guide I’ll share some some tips and strategies so you can run a 5k in under 25 minutes.

We’ll explore:

  • How long is a 5k?
  • How long does it take to run a 5k?
  • What is the average time to run a 5k?
  • Are you ready to run a 25 minute 5k?
  • How to calculate your 5k race pace
  • What should be included in a 25 minute 5k training plan?
  • 7 tips to run a 5k in under 25 minutes
  • Sample 5k training plan


Let’s go!

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

How long is a 5k?

A 5k in miles is 3.1 miles.

This is exactly half the distance of a 10k which is 6.2 miles.

3.1 miles is seen as an achievable distance for many beginner runners.

Training plans like Couch to 5k are designed to get you running a 5k by the end of the training plan using the walk/run method.

There are also beginner 5k training plans and intermediate 5k training plans that help you run a 5k in a shorter amount of time.

Related: How many miles is a 5k? Average 5k times + 6 race day tips

How long does it take to run a 5k?

How long it takes you to run a 5k will depend on various factors.

These include everything from your age and gender to your fitness levels and running experience.

Even the weather and terrain can impact your race time!

If you’re a beginner or novice runner, you will likely run a 5k in between 27 to 40 minutes.

If you’re a more seasoned runner and have been running for a few years, you will likely be able to run a 5k in between 23 to 29 minutes.

Here are some average 5k run times based on running experience:

Running experienceEstimated 5k race time
Beginner runner32 to 40 minutes
Novice runner27 to 33 minutes
Intermediate runner23 to 29 minutes
Advanced runner20 to 25 minutes
Elite runner18 to 22 minutes

Related: The ultimate advanced 5k training plan

What is the average time to run a 5k?

The average time to run a 5k across all ages and genders is 23:58.

For men, the average time to run a 5k is 22:31.

For women, the average time to run a 5k is 26:07.

Related: What is a good 5k time? Average 5k time by age and gender

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

Are you ready to run a 25 minute 5k?

When it comes to running a faster 5k, you will need to take into consideration your current 5k pace.

This will give you an indication whether you are ready to run a 25 minute 5k.

Your pace is how quickly you need to run in order to achieve your goal race time.

In order to run a 5k in under 25 minutes, this means you need to be running at a pace of 8:03 minutes per mile / 5 minutes per kilometre.

If a pace of 8:03 minutes per mile sounds unachievable to you right now, then you might want to consider completing the Couch to 5k training plan or a beginner 5k training plan.

These plans will build up your endurance, stamina and speed.

The average pace per mile for beginner runners is around 10:40 minutes per mile / 6:37 minutes per kilometre.

If you’re close to running at a pace of 9:00 minutes per mile, then a 8:03 mile pace will be a realistic goal for you.

Related: How to run a 5k in under 20 minutes

How to calculate your 5k race pace

If you’ve already run a 5k, you can calculate how much faster you’ll need to go in order to hit the 25 minute mark.

All you need to know is your current 5k race time and current 5k race pace.

Let’s use the example below to illustrate this:

  • Current 5k race time: 30 minutes
  • Current 5k race pace: 9:39 minutes per mile / 6 minutes per kilometre
  • Desired 5k race time: 25 minutes
  • Desired 5k race pace: 8:03 minutes per mile / 5 minutes per kilometre

This means you need to shave off roughly 1 minute 40 seconds off your race pace (if you use miles), and 1 minute off of your race pace (if you use kilometres).

This equates to roughly a 15% improvement in terms of time.

If you’re not sure what your 5k pace is, you can use the methods below to help you estimate this.

#1 Complete a time trial

A good way to estimate your 5k time is to do a time trial:

  1. Warm up.
  2. Run a mile as fast as you can.
  3. Cool down.
  4. Multiply that by 3.1 to estimate your 5k time.

The aim of a time trial is not to exhaust yourself.

You won’t be able to sustain your fastest mile three times over, let alone during a 5k race.

The time trial will give you an idea of what you need to work towards.

#2 Use a running pace calculator

You can also easily work out what your 5k pace should be by using a running pace calculator.

A pace calculator works by determining your pace per mile or kilometre for a given distance.

Simply enter any two variables into the calculator (e.g. pace, time or distance) and it will determine the race pace that you need to work towards.

It’s important to note that your pace on an easy run won’t be the same as your pace during a speed training session such as intervals or a tempo run.

Your pace during an easy run is designed to be just that – easy!

So don’t make the mistake of using your 5k race pace as a baseline for your easy runs as you will quickly burnout.

Likewise, your pace during a 5k run won’t be the same as your pace during a 10k run or half marathon.

It’s crucial you identify the right paces across different types of runs.

Use a race equivalency calculator like the one from Luke Humphrey as a tool to work out the different paces.

Related: How to pace your run

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

What should be included in a 25 minute 5k training plan?

In order to run a 25 minute 5k, you should include the following runs and workouts in your training plan.

Any well-rounded 5k training plan will include these:

  • 1-3 easy runs
  • 1 long run
  • 1 speed training session – either an interval training or tempo running session
  • 1 strength training or cross training session
  • 1-2 rest days

Let’s look at each of these areas in more detail:

#1 Easy runs

The easy runs should be run at a comfortable pace so you are able to hold a conversation without getting out of breath.

Each easy run will be anything between 1-2 miles / 1.5-3.2 km, normally done mid-week.

Easy runs are included in the plan to help you recover from the harder sessions like long runs and speed training.

They should make up 70-80% of your training plan.

#2 Long run

The long run is the mainstay of any 25 minute 5k training plan.

Your long run in a 5k training plan should be between 3 and 7 miles (5-11km).

Normally done on a Saturday or Sunday, start with a low distance at the start of the training plan and then gradually increase by 5-10% each week.

The pace in your long run should be slower than your goal 5k race pace.

A pace of about 10:30 minutes per mile / 6:31 minutes per km should be suitable if you’re aiming to run a 5k in under 25 minutes.

#3 Speed training

The speed training session is where you will push yourself out of your comfort zone and increase your pace.

Speed training sessions like interval training or tempo running should feel ‘comfortably hard’.

They are designed to get your body and muscles used to running at faster speeds so you can gradually increase your lactate threshold.

You may already be familiar with the burning sensation that builds up in your legs when you run too fast.

Your lactate threshold is the point at which lactate builds up in the blood stream at a level that is higher than resting values, causing this all-too-familiar burning sensation.

Despite this, it is still one of the best ways to predict what pace can be maintained over a prolonged period of time without fatigue.

Let’s look at interval training and tempo running in more detail:

Interval training:

Interval training consists of short bursts of running with rest and recovery periods in between.

They are a great workout to increase your speed, endurance and stamina.

A typical interval workout is 4 x 400m of running with recovery jogs in between.

You should aim to run each 400m interval at your 5k pace (so whatever you clocked for your fastest mile in the time trial).

And remember to schedule enough recovery time between each interval – one or two minutes should be sufficient.

As your training plan progresses, you may want to increase the amount of intervals.

For example:

  • Week 1 – 3 x 400m
  • Week 2 – 4 x 400m
  • Week 3 – 4 x 400m
  • Week 4 – 5 x 400m
  • Week 5 – 6 x 400m
  • Week 6 – 7 x 400m
  • Week 7 – 8 x 400m
  • Week 8 – 6 x 400m

You can also base your intervals on time instead of distance using the example below.

Run at your 5k pace for 1 minute, then complete a 2 minute recovery walk or jog in between each interval.

  • Week 1 – 3 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 2 – 4 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 3 – 4 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 4 – 5 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 5 – 5 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 6 – 6 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 7 – 6 x 1 minute intervals
  • Week 8 – 4 x 1 minute intervals

Related: 6 interval training benefits for runners

Tempo running:

Also known as threshold runs, tempo runs are extended efforts of running that should be about 30 seconds slower than your 5k race pace.

As I explained earlier, increasing your lactate threshold is key to get your body used to running at faster speeds for prolonged periods of time.

A good way to include tempo runs in your training routine is to book-end them during your easy run.

So your easy run could look like this:

  • Warm up
  • 15-20 minutes of tempo running (your 5k race pace + 30 seconds per mile)
  • 35-45 minute easy run
  • 15-20 minutes of tempo running (your 5k race pace + 30 seconds per mile)
  • Cool down

The important thing to remember with tempo runs is that you stick to your planned tempo race pace throughout the run.

Consistency is key!

This way your body gets used to running at a faster pace for sustained efforts.

Related: What is a tempo run?

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

#3 Strength training

Strength training (also known as resistance training) is recommended for any runner looking to become stronger, faster and more efficient.

Strength training can take the form of:

  • Bodyweight exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, push-ups, hip bridges, planks).
  • Weighted exercises (e.g. deadlifts, kettlebell swings, weighted lunges, weighted squats, weighted hip bridges).
  • Plyometrics (e.g. skipping, jumping, jump lunges, box jumps, jump squats).

If you’re new to strength training, start with bodyweight exercises first and then gradually build up into a weight exercise programme, then plyometrics.

Here are a few sample strength workouts to get you started.

Focus on doing 8-12 repetitions of each exercise with 1 minute rest in between, and repeat these 3 times.

Strength workout routine #1

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push-up
  • Hip bridge
  • Mountain climbers
  • Plank – hold for 30 seconds

Strength workout routine #2

  • Plank – hold for 30 seconds
  • Side plank – hold for 30 seconds
  • V-up
  • Superman pull
  • Bicycle kicks
  • Glute bridge

#4 Cross training

Cross training can be seen as ‘active recovery’.

Aerobic activities like walking, cycling, swimming, yoga and Pilates are all great cross training activities for runners.

Don’t be tempted to go all out on your cross training days though.

Cross training should be gentle, after all you’ll be doing it on your recovery days!

#5 Rest days

Rest days are incredibly important to allow your body to recover after each run and in between runs.

Don’t be tempted to run every day of your 5k training plan as you could risk burnout, overtraining and injury.

Related: The ultimate intermediate 5k training plan

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

Related: What is the 75 Soft Challenge? Benefits + how to do it

7 tips to run a 5k in under 25 minutes

Here are some training tips to help you run a 5k in under 25 minutes.

#1 Perfect your form

Believe it or not, proper running form can shave off valuable seconds off your running times.

By making small adjustments to your running form, you can help your body move with less effort and more efficiency.

Proper running form can also help to reduce the risk of common running injuries like IT band syndrome, runner’s knee and shin splints.

Whilst you can find a full breakdown of proper running form in my essential guide to proper running form, here are a few simple tips:

  • Try not to look at the ground when running – keep your gaze upright and forward.
  • Lift your chin and retract your shoulders back slightly.
  • Keep your arms by your sides (try not to let them cross your body) and keep them relaxed to avoid stiffness.
  • Don’t overstride – your foot should land under your hips or slightly in front of you.
  • Keep your knees soft and bent and let your heels float up behind you.

#2 Practice your race pace during training

As mentioned earlier, in order to run a sub-25 minute 5k, you need to be able to run at a pace of 8:03 minutes per mile / 5:00 minutes per kilometre.

The best way to enhance your chances of being able to do this on race day is to practice this pace throughout your training.

This ensures you get your body used to running at such a speed so it’s not a complete surprise on race day.

Try and maintain this pace on some of your runs so you get your body used to running at a faster pace.

The important thing with pacing is that you be consistent!

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

#3 Sign up for the right race

In order to increase your chances of running a sub-25 minute 5k, you’ll want a race course that is fairly flat.

This means avoiding any races that have too many twists, turns or uneven terrain.

It’s also a good idea to avoid any race that you know will be crowded on race day.

This makes it that much harder to get a personal best!

#4 Refuel and hydrate

Eat well and stay hydrated ahead of race day.

This is just as important as the running training plan itself.

Aim to eat a healthy diet that includes the right amounts of carbs, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

Check out our guide on what to eat before a run for more advice and tips.

#5 Don’t forget to warm up

A good warm up on race day is essential to prepare your mind and body for the run ahead.

Your warm up should include a light jog and a good range of dynamic stretches (e.g. leg swings, butt kicks, high knees).

These will work together to loosen your muscles and get your body ready for the run.

You may also want to include some running drills in your warm up.

Running drills are great for improving your running form and performance.

run a 5k in under 25 minutes

#6 Accelerate!

As soon as you start the race you’ll want to accelerate to your goal race pace as soon as possible to be in a chance of achieving your goal race time.

Consider lining up close to the front at the start line along with the faster runners.

If you don’t do this you risk getting stuck behind some slower runners.

Check your running watch to ensure you aren’t running too fast – you don’t want to burn out too soon.

Equally, check that you’re not running too slow.

Practice what you learnt during training and you’ll be off to a great start!

#7 Cool down

Don’t forget to cool down after your race.

Although sometimes neglected, a cool down will help with the recovery process and will help to reduce any muscle soreness after your run.

Focus on static stretches in the cool down.

These are stretches where you hold a stretch for between 30-45 seconds.

Related: How to run a 5k in 30 minutes or less

Sample 5k training plan

Ready to run a 25 minute 5k?

Here is a sample intermediate 5k training plan which is designed to get you running a faster 5k.

You can also check out my library of free training plans and free training resources to help you smash your goals!

My beginner, intermediate and advanced 5k training plans have helped hundreds of women to achieve their 5k PB.

intermediate 5k training plan 1 1
Caroline Geoghegan



Saturday 20th of May 2023

How can I train for run a 5km in 26 28 mins


Friday 21st of July 2023

@ferdi, mate this article literally tells you how??


Thursday 5th of August 2021

“ Your easy runs should be easy. I recommend a pace of about 10:30 per mile”

Oh no. My normal pace is about 12 and even then my heart can go up to 170s :(

Caroline Geoghegan

Friday 6th of August 2021

Hi Clair. In order to run a 5k in under 25 minutes then as part of your training plan you’d need to be running at around this pace on your easy runs. Note about 80% of your weekly training should be easy runs. If your pace is slower then you may need more time and training to run at this pace. You can work out your easy run pace by using your current 5k race pace. There are calculators online that allow you to do this.


Saturday 15th of May 2021

Hello Mam,

Need your view on controlling HR during run

As my Heart rate shoot up to 200 BPM while running Can you suggest how should i control it or any specific low HR training if you can suggest

Regards Harsh