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What Is a Good Time for a 5K?

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Updated April 04, 2014

Runners Legs in Race Werner Dieterich

Question: What Is a Good Time for a 5K?

"I'm planning on running my first 5K race in a few weeks. What is considered a good finishing time for a 5K?"

Answer: That's a tough question to answer because race times can be pretty subjective – what one person thinks is a good time for a 5K race (3.1 miles) may not be considered a good time by others. An easy way to see how fast people typically run in 5Ks is to look at the race's previous results, which are most likely listed on the race's website. You can see the times of the age group winners, those who finished in the middle of the pack, and those who finished in the back of the pack. The number of finishers and the range of finishing times are probably similar from year to year.

You'll see 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 run the 5K course somewhere between 12-15 minutes and the winning female may run it in the 16-19 minute range. Some walkers may take over an hour to finish. Most people feel good about finishing in the 20-25 minute range.

Of course, comparing men to women, and people in their 20s to people in their 50s isn't exactly fair. Your performance really depends on numerous factors, such as your level of experience, age, and gender.

One way to put all 5K participants on a level playing field, regardless of age and gender, is by age-grading. Age-graded results let you 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.

For your first 5K, try not to get too hung up on your finishing time. Focus on how you feel during the race, especially that feeling of excitement when you cross the finish line.

Once you gain some more racing experience, you can focus more 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 distances every year or every few months so they can try to beat their personal record (PR). They can compete against themselves and measure their own progress rather than worry about what other race participants are doing.

More About 5K Times
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:

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. It also has a corresponding email course to help keep you on track.

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 running for the entire 5K race. It also has a corresponding email course to help keep you on track.

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 (PR) 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.

4-Week Advanced 5K Training Schedule: This 4-week schedule is for experienced runners who are running at least 5 days a week and are able to run at least 6 miles.

More About 5K Racing and Training
5K Training and Racing Tips
Common Fears About Running Races
Race Day Tips for Your First 5K
Mental Tips for Your Race
How Beginner Runners Can Run a Faster 5K
How Experienced Runners Can Run a Faster 5K
What Should I Do the Day Before My 5K?
8 Commonly-Asked Questions About 5K Racing

Also see:

What's a Good Time for Running a Mile?
What's a Good Time for a 10K?
What's a Good Time for a Half Marathon?
What's a Good Time for a Marathon?

 

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