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How far is a 5k? Someone crouched on the ground tying up their shoe lace

How far is 5k? How far you need to run when training for a 5k

If you are new to a fitness journey, one of the many thoughts that may have ran through your mind is ‘just how far is 5k?’. In short, 5k means 5 kilometers, which is the same as 5000 meters and 3.1 miles. The distance is a fantastic choice for your first competitive running race or even your own personal fitness milestone.

How long should a 5k take me?

Now it’s all fair and well telling you the metrics for a 5k, but we understand that this may not mean a lot to you if you are a beginner. You may be thinking ‘okay, but how far is 5k in time? How long should it take me?’. There is no limit as to how long you may choose to walk, jog, run, or bunny hop a 5k. The average runner may complete a 5K in 30 to 40 minutes, (that’s about 11 of your favourite tunes long!). Whereas walking a 5K may take about 45 to 60 minutes. Don’t forget that we are all different and some days a 5k may feel much harder. This can be because of sore muscles, diet, hormones, sleep and much more!

Exactly how far is 5k?

If you are worried about how far 5k is, there is no need to fret. Something that we find really helpful to show you just how far it is, is by comparing it to other daily activities:

5k is as far as…

  • taking the dog for a walk
  • a supermarket food shop
  • sightseeing
  • a 5 minute drive down the motorway

If you need some more perspective: in comparison to a marathon (42km), 5k is about 11% of the distance.

How far in advance do I need to start training for a 5k?

If you are a beginner and are looking to train for a 5k, we advise to leave about 4 weeks for your body to build up to its optimum. You will need all this time to run, strength train and recover. Auro’s training plan ‘Run your best 5k’ allows you 3 weeks to train. However, if you have never ran this far before, perhaps start with our ‘Jog your first mile’ training plan and work your way up to the 5k training plan.

Proper 5K training includes 4 distinct aspects of running fitness: speed, race-specific fitness, strength training and endurance. Runners need to find the right balance between all 4, as emphasising on any aspect can lead to suboptimal results. For instance, if you only focus on endurance, you might lack the speed to push through your personal best. If you ignore strength training, you might find yourself sustaining an injury.

What should my pace be for a 5k?

An intermediate/advanced running pace for a 5k ranges from 5-6 minutes per KM. Therefore, if you are going for gold, you should aim to keep your average pace at around 5-6 km an hour if you want your finishing time to be below 30 minutes.

How far do I need to run when training for a 5k?

Ever wonder about how far you need to run before a race day when training for a 5K, half or full marathon? Well wonder no more; here are 4 exercises you can incorporate in your race training. 5K runners should progressively increase their running distance, with the goal of running farther than target distance during training. Understandably, this sounds quite daunting. But, with proper guidance and training using Auro’s 5K race plan, it needn’t be.

Here are the 4 things you should focus on when training for your 5K. These principles hold true also when you’re running longer distances such as 10 times the amount for a half marathon (13.1 miles) or a full marathon (26.2 miles).

Speed training drills

Firstly, there are strides, which is where you up your pace considerably for around 100m. You start at an easy jog, to about 95% of your max speed and then slow to a complete stop. A stride should take about 20-30 seconds. Strides are effective when done 2-3 days/week after an easy run.

Hill sprints is another drill that is typically used by more advanced runners, i.e. 8-12 seconds of running at maximum effort up a steep hill with a full walking recovery in between. Hill sprints help you build injury resistance, improve your neuromuscular control and develop the ability to run at top speed.

Endurance training

Here you should focus on consistency and progression. These are some guidelines on how far you should run in your training.

Start with 3 runs/week and 1 additional long run to help build endurance. The 3 runs will vary depending on your level: 1.5 miles for a beginner runner, and 3 miles each for more intermediate or advanced runners. The long runs should be around 5 miles. Advanced runners might also want to incorporate some speed training here.

Additionally, a great way to significantly improve your endurance is to add 20% to your weekly mileage. Some extra miles on your weekly schedule might not seem very difficult, and you should see a noticeable impact on your endurance over time.

Strength training

Strength training is a vital aspect of running performance and is often overlooked. A  lot of runners particularly beginners will sustain injuries due to a lack of strength. It is always recommended to complete at least 1 strength session per week that focusses on your lower body, legs & core like these 5 effective glute exercises. This will increase the strength and resilience of your legs for long runs, and add some diversity to your training plan.

Race specific training

If your 5K target time is 25 minutes (8.33 minutes/mile), then you need to train yourself to be able to hold that pace over 3.1 miles. A recommended run for this would be to complete intervals of 800m where you are running at your 5K target pace, with a 400m recovery.

Depending on your ability and fitness level, you can modify the number of repetitions, total distance, and recovery running to make this easier or harder. You will see these runs as part of our race plans on the app.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or completing your 100th 5Ks — these universal principles are useful in training for a 5K and setting new personal bests.


Auro offer a range of workout plans and classes aimed at anyone looking to walk, jog or run their best 5k. Start training for a 5k today, with the help of the Auro, the app made by real people, for real people.


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