What's a Good Finishing Time for a 5K?

Plus Training Schedules That Match Your Experience Level

Group starting a race
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5K race times for runners can be pretty subjective: What's a great time for one person may be a disappointment for another. Just look at the previous results for a particular 5K race (3.1 miles) on the website for the event. It will show the times of the age group winners, those who finished in the middle of the pack, and those who finished at the bottom.

What you'll probably discover is that finishing times for a 5K span a very wide range because there's usually a mix of experienced, fast runners and beginner runners and walkers. The winning male may finish the 5K course between 13 to 15 minutes and the winning female may finish in the 16-to-19-minute range.

And of course, folks who walk may take more than an hour to finish. But all in all, most people are satisfied if they finish a 5K in 20 to 25 minute, which translates to running at a 6:26/mile to 8:21/mile pace.

How Your 5K Time Compares

All that said it's important to take into consideration factors such as gender and age when comparing 5K race results. Generally speaking, men will finish more quickly than women, and younger people tend to run faster than older ones. Level of experience can make a big difference too. An experienced older runner actually may outpace a younger beginner, for example.

One way to put all 5K participants on a level playing field, regardless of age and gender, is by using a system called age-grading. Age-graded results allow you to compare your race times to those of other runners in the race, as well as to the standard for your age and gender. You can use this age-graded calculator to figure out your age-graded race time to get a comparison of how your finishing time compares with others.

Compete Against Yourself

If you're a novice runner, try not to get hung up on your finishing time when you run your first 5K. Focus instead on how you feel during the race and especially on the incredible excitement and sense of accomplishment you're bound to experience when you cross the finish line.

Once you gain more racing experience, absolutely focus on your performance, but try not to compare yourself to others. A great thing about running races is that you can compete against yourself. Many people like to run the same distance every year or every few months so they can try to beat their personal record (PR). It's a helpful way to compete against themselves and measure their own progress rather than worry about what other race participants are doing.

If you're really curious about what time you might be able to run in your 5K, here's how you can estimate your 5K race time.

5K Training Schedules

Making an effort to train for a 5K you're planning to run certainly can help you finish at your best possible time. If you're planning to run a 5K, here are some training schedules to choose from:

  • 5K Training Schedule for Beginners: This eight-week training schedule is designed for beginner runners who can run at least one mile and want to run continuously to the finish line of a 5K race.​
  • 5K Run/Walk Training Schedule: This eight-week training schedule is designed for those who can run for five minutes at a time and want to build up to finishing the entire 5K race.
  • Train for a 5K in a Month: This four-week training program is geared toward beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a 5K in a month.
  • 5K Training Schedule for Advanced Beginners: This eight-week schedule is geared toward runners who are a little beyond the beginner training schedules, can run 2 miles comfortably and can run 4 to 5 days per week.
  • 5K Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners: This eight-week schedule is good for runners who've already run some 5K races and are looking to achieve a personal record in the 5K.​
  • 5K Training Schedule for Advanced Runners: This eight-week 5K training program is for advanced level runners. You should be running at least 4-5 days a week and are able to run at least 5 miles.
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