You have a goal to run an outstanding 5k, but do you know the pace you need to run to hit that goal? Using a 5k pace chart is the tool you need to succeed.
I’ve run more than a few dozen 5ks, and the reality is that you can’t top your goals without a vision. A 5k pace chart (also called a pace conversion chart) is the perfect way to visualize your running goal.
Whether you’re running your first 5k and want to know what pace you can expect from yourself or if you’re aiming to take first place in the upcoming 5k race, a pace chart can be invaluable.
Let’s dive into the specifics so you can get your running shoes on and head out the door for your training run.
What’s a Pace Chart?
A running pace chart will explain how fast you need to run to hit your target time.
Pace charts are commonly used for every race distance and to understand the pace when running on a treadmill. Of course, you can always use a running pace calculator to calculate the speed you need to achieve.
The benefit of a pace chart is that it allows you to see a vast number of paces and finish times to set your next racing goal accordingly.
With a 5k, a pace chart will explain how quickly you need to run each of the 3.1 miles (or each of the 5 kilometers) to achieve your desired race time. It’s a solid plan if you have real running goals to achieve.
5k Pace Chart in Miles (mi)
You’ll want to use this 5k pace chart if you’re an American runner like me. This chart explains how fast you need to run each of the 3.1 miles of the 5k.
Looking at this chart, you can determine your race finish time based on your current pace. For example, if you generally run a 10-minute and 30-second mile, you can finish a 5k in around 32 minutes and 33 seconds.
You can also determine if you want to run a 5k in 24 minutes, you’ll need to run slightly faster than 7 minutes and 45 seconds per mile of the race.
And, of course, you can see the fastest listed time on the chart – 15 minutes and 30 seconds for a 5k. This would require you to run an average of 5 minutes per mile.
5k Pace Chart in Kilometers (km)
This 5k pace chart functions like the above but is tailored to my non-American running buddies. 😄
Do you currently run 6 minutes 20 seconds per kilometer? You can expect to finish your 5k in around 31 minutes and 40 seconds.
Likewise, if you’re aiming to run a 25-minute 5k, you can see on the chart you’ll need to maintain a 5-minute and 10 seconds per kilometer pace.
What Should a 5k Pace Feel Like?
If you’ve never run a 5k before, you may not have a frame of reference for what the pace feels like running this distance.
A 5k is considered the shortest long-distance race, meaning that runners generally aim to maintain a quick pace, running at their maximum speed capability.
When I run 5ks, I push my pacing limits.
Aiming for a pace you can maintain the entire race is the goal at a 5k. You should also cross the finish line feeling that you have nothing left in you and wouldn’t have been able to run further.
Of course, everyone has different racing goals, and many 5ks are considered fun runs where families and friends enjoy walking together. This is entirely acceptable!
However, if you’re serious about running, you’ll want to consider the intensity you’ll need to pace yourself appropriately.
The distance of a 5k is equal to 3.1 miles.
What’s considered a good 5k pace differs from one runner to the next. With the average mile pace run time hovering around 10 minutes, a 30-minute 5k is often a first-time 5k goal.
However, elites can run a 5k in under 13 minutes or nearly a 4-minute-per-mile pace.
Running a 5k in under 25 minutes is excellent. This means you can maintain a pace of eight minutes and four seconds per mile.
To run a 5k in 17 minutes, you must maintain a pace of five minutes and 29 seconds per mile. While this is a very speedy pace, it is entirely achievable for runners committed to their training.
While runners will push their pace as hard as possible during the 5k, this race is technically considered a long-distance race. It is the shortest long-distance race at 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).
Final Thoughts: 5k Pace Chart
Using a 5k pace chart might be the single element that helps you earn a new PR at your upcoming race. Consider using the chart for your training to find what pace will work best for you on race day.
I wish you a speedy 5k! 🏃🏻♀️💨