25 Minute 5K: The Complete Guide + Easy Training Plan

“If I continue to set goals and accomplish those goals, that means I’m doing something right.” — Kevin Hart

You may have just finished your 30-minute 5k goal and are looking for the next one, or you may have laid your eyes on the 25-minute 5k as your first goal to test your running potential.

Either way, you’re looking for that satisfaction that comes when you finally reach that hard-earned goal.

We’re here to set you on track to reach that goal. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you everything you should know to run 5 kilometers in less than 25 minutes.

25 minute 5k:Outdoor cross-country running

Who Should Aim for a 25 Minute 5K?

Running a 25 minute 5k or less is a feat that can be attempted by any runner. The only difference between runners is how long would it take each of them to reach that goal.

If you’ve been running regularly 2 or 3 times a week for the past year, you’re a great candidate for the 25-minute 5k.

Additionally, if you’ve managed to run 5 kilometers in 30 minutes or less, you could set the 25-minute 5k as a reasonable next goal.

Also, If you can run a kilometer in less than 6 minutes and maintain that pace for more than a couple of kilometers, the 25-minute 5k mark is not that far ahead.

Age and gender don’t matter much as long as you can run fair distances without having serious physical complications.

What we’re saying is, if you want to run a 25 minute 5k, there’s no reason for you to not attempt that.

Why Should You Attempt a 25 Minute 5K?

For experienced runners, running 5 kilometers in 25-minutes is a great fitness benchmark. It’s also one of the first real targets for beginners and it’s as popular as the 7-minute mile.

Add to that, races usually have various distances and a 5k race is one of the most popular. It’s never too difficult to find a 5k race around you.

The 25-minute 5k is also a great transitional step for you before you attempt to go for the 20-minute 5k.

It won’t only have you better prepared physically, but also mentally since you’ve achieved a goal that not everyone can say they have.

The 25 Minute 5k Pace

Using simple math, we can tell that you need to finish each kilometer in under 5 minutes to run 5 kilometers in under 25-minutes.

As a runner, if you can run that kilometer in under 5 minutes, you may think that you can go for 5 kilometers with no problems.

Well, you can, just not as quickly as you think.

The first kilometer is usually the fastest and easiest one. You have a lot of energy and motivation, and your muscles have a good amount of strength in them.

Soon after you go into the second kilometer then the third, your body starts to get tired and your pace starts to slow down.

To know whether you can truly run the 5k in 25-minutes or less, you need to know what your “baseline speed” is.

To know that, you need to attempt the 5k for the first time.

Calculate your time during that 5k run. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve run in the first or last kilometer, what matters is your average pace or baseline speed.

Divide your time by 5 and you should know what your pace is.

The pace you should be aiming for is 5 minutes/1km or less. If your pace isn’t too far from that, you have a good chance of running the 25-minute 5k soon.

Factors Affecting Your Training

smiling couple with earphones running outdoors

The training plan we provide won’t be an instant success for everyone. Everyone will succeed in time but these factors will affect how fast the training plan works for you.

1. Age

Age is probably the first thing that comes to mind whenever someone wants to start something new, especially if it demands physical strength like running.

The physical strength of the human body keeps going up until we reach our early 30s. As we reach our late 30s, our physical strength starts to go down gradually.

If your age is 30 or below, the training will be more effective for you. Does that mean you should refrain from training if you’ve above 30 years old? Absolutely not.

The age might just slow you down a bit but it shouldn’t stop you from achieving the 25-minute 5k goal.

2. Weight

Weight is another important factor that you should keep in mind, especially when you decide to run for longer distances.

Extra weight will decrease your performance and your oxygen intake. It will also consume more energy from you as you run further.

The extra weight could come from water bottles or heavy accessories which you can get rid of instantly.

The difficult weight to get rid of is body fat. Luckily, running is one of the best sports for burning fat out there.

Formulating a good diet plan also goes a long way in losing body fat. The less body fat you have, the healthier you are, and the more energy you could exert while running.

3. The Current Ability

Your current ability is a massive determiner of how fast you can reach the 25-minute 5k goal.

If you already have some physical fitness, you’ll reach your mark a lot faster than a complete beginner.

In fact, a beginner shouldn’t even be aiming for a 25-minute 5k from the start. A 30-minute 5k should be a better goal for a runner who’s just starting.

This is to avoid failing the goal multiple times and losing motivation.

4. The Available Training Time

All the fitness and health in the world won’t do you much if you don’t have the time to train.

With hard training, your body will reach its peak performance. However, reaching that performance is easy, it’s maintaining it that poses a problem.

Your fitness will fade faster than you could think if you don’t regularly train. For runners, regular training is at least three runs a week.

How to Train for 25 Minute 5K

woman stretching on yoga mat

A good training plan to help you run a 25 minute 5k should include the following sessions every week:

  • One or two easy runs to keep your body in shape while allowing it to recover
  • A strength training session to improve the power of your muscles
  • A speed training session that improves your overall pace
  • A long run that improves your endurance

We’ll understand what to do in each of them and then formalize an 8-week plan using them.

1. Strength Training

Strength training exercises aim to improve the strength of your muscles which will later help you as you run.

A stronger muscle will require less effort to carry weight than a weaker muscle. This in turn will help you run longer distances with less energy consumption.

Most of the strength training exercises you’d do should target your legs and core muscles.

We’ll give you two routines that we’ll incorporate later on in our plan.

Strength routine 1

Our first strength routine will have 3 levels.

Level 1
  • Squats (3 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Lunges (3 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Mountain climbers (3 sets of 20 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute Bridges (3 sets of 10 rep with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (3 sets of 60 seconds with 2 minutes rest in between)
Level 2
  • Squats (5 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Lunges (5 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Mountain climbers (5 sets of 20 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute Bridges (5 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (5 sets of 60 seconds with 2 minutes rest in between)
Level 3
  • Squats (5 sets of 30 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Lunges (5 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Mountain climbers (5 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute Bridges (5 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (5 sets of 60 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)

Strength routine 2

Strength routine 2 will also have 3 levels.

Level 1
  • Squats (3 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute bridges (3 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (3 sets of 60 seconds with 2 minutes rest in between)
  • Bicycle kicks (3 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Superman pull (3 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
Level 2
  • Squats (5 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute bridges (5 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (5 sets of 60 seconds with 2 minutes rest in between)
  • Bicycle kicks (5 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Superman pull (4 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
Level 3
  • Squats (5 sets of 30 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Glute Bridges (5 sets of 20 reps with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Plank (5 sets of 60 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Bicycle kicks (5 sets of 40 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)
  • Superman pull (5 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between)

2. Speed Training

Speed training uses a group of running exercises to increase both your top speed and your average running speed.

These running exercises are interval runs, tempo runs, and strides.

Interval and tempo runs usually have their own dedicated day. Strides, on the other hand, are often done after you’ve finished your exercise and before you cool down.

Interval Runs

To do an interval run, you need to run short distances at the desired pace, then recover using jogging for a couple of minutes.

The pace you need to run 5 kilometers in 25-minutes is 5 minutes per kilometer.

That means you need to run at that pace for a short distance (usually 400 meters) and then spend the following 2 minutes jogging, then another 400 meters at your 5k pace.

The number of short distances isn’t unlimited. You shouldn’t keep running until you can no longer run.

Instead, you should have a specific number of intervals that increases gradually as you reach your 8-week mark. We’ll show you more about that in the training plan.

Tempo Runs

Tempo or threshold runs aim to get you out of your comfort zone but without making you lose breath.

Constantly applying bearable pressure to your body improves both your speed and endurance.

To do a tempo run correctly, you must run just short of your target pace. In our case, our target pace is 5 minutes per kilometer.

The tempo run pace should be 5:30 minutes per kilometer.

Your tempo run length could be one of two options. If you have a day dedicated solely to the tempo run, then you should run for 30 – 40 minutes.

The other option is incorporating the tempo run in the last 15 minutes of your easy run.

Tempo runs should be done at least once a week. If you don’t have a tempo run day in your current week’s plan, then include the tempo run in one of your easy run days.

Strides

A stride is a fantastic exercise that every runner should try. Strides improve speed, muscle strength, balance, and acceleration.

Doing a stride is simple. Accelerate to your top speed within the course of 5 seconds and keep running for around 15 – 20 seconds.

The distance you should cover should be around 100 meters.

Your break between each stride should be speed walking or jogging back to your starting point. Once you reach your starting point, accelerate again and do another stride.

Most runners don’t need more than 3 – 6 strides per session. This should be enough to push yourself that extra mile without adding unnecessary pressure to your muscles.

Strides are often done after you’ve finished your exercise and before your body cools down.

Because of how physically demanding they could be, it’s best not to introduce strides in the first week.

If you’re an experienced runner or if you feel that you have some spare energy after finishing your exercise, you could do strides in the first week.

3. Easy Runs

Easy runs will be your breath of fresh air every week. You get to do one or two of these every week. The number is up to you but ideally, there should be two of them.

In easy runs, the main goal is to let your body recover without letting your muscles relax too much.

An easy run should last anywhere between 25 and 45 minutes which averages around 1.5 – 3 km.

The pace you run with should be slightly faster than jogging, but still slow enough so you could hold a conversation while running without losing breath.

4. Long Runs

Long runs are the bread and butter of any training plan for a runner who wants to improve. You should have one long run every week of your training plan.

When you do a long run, your pace should be slower than 5 minutes per kilometer. We recommend a pace of 6 or 6:30 per kilometer.

That slower pace is to save your breath for the longer distance you’re going to run. Your long run should be anywhere between 5 and 11 km.

You should start your early weeks with shorter long runs and then keep increasing gradually as you approach the end of your training plan.

The Training Plan

Young people jogging and exercising in nature

Here’s a suggested 8-week training plan that will make your body able to run 5 kilometers in under 25-minutes.

This training plan is more of a reference than a personalized training schedule. Everyone’s body is different so feel free to tone the difficulty up or down as you see fit.

The one thing you should follow is how gradually the intensity of your training increases every week, how it peaks at week 7, and how it eases off a bit in week 8.

Week 1

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace)
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 1 + strides
Tuesday Long run 6 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 1 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (interval run) 3 intervals x 400m
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace)
Saturday Off Off

Week 2

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 1 + strides
Tuesday Long run 7 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 2 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (tempo run) (5:30/km pace) for 30 – 40 minutes
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 3

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 2 + strides
Tuesday Long run 8 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 1 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (interval run) 4 intervals x 400m
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 4

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 2 + strides
Tuesday Long run 8 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 2 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (tempo run) (5:30/km pace) for 30 – 40 minutes
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 5

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 3 + strides
Tuesday Long run 9 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 2 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (interval run) 6 intervals x 400m
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 6

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 2 + strides
Tuesday Long run 10 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 3 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (tempo run) (5:30/km pace) for 30 – 40 minutes
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 7

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 3 + strides
Tuesday Long run 11 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 3 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (interval run) 7 intervals x 500m
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Week 8

Sunday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Monday Strength training Routine 1 – level 2 + strides
Tuesday Long run 9 km (6 – 6:30/km pace)
Wednesday Off (optional) or strength training Routine 2 – level 2 + strides (Optional)
Thursday Speed training (tempo run) (5:30/km pace) for 20 – 30 minutes
Friday Easy run 1.5 – 3 km (easy pace) + strides
Saturday Off Off

Once you’re done with this training plan, you may attempt the 25-minute 5k challenge. We recommend doing it in a race to have the motivation of everyone around you running and cheering.

Don’t Give Up

If you don’t succeed in your first 25-minute 5k trial, you shouldn’t be discouraged. You may have missed some training days or you may have been through a hard phase of life.

You’ll feel disappointed and frustrated but don’t give up. Even if you haven’t reached your goal, you’ve come much closer to it than ever before.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s not the end of the world and in many ways, it’s the first step toward learning something better and getting better at it.” — Jon Hamm

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