How to run a sub 20 minute 5K – With advanced 5K training programs

May 02, 2016


A sub 20 minute 5K requires a mix of speed and endurance. You need to run all out and hold that time for the duration of the race.


There are specific training programs that focus on getting you to hit a sub 20 minute 5K. I analyzed multiple programs and found the following 3 items were common across most programs.

1) More Milage

More miles per week = improved running across all distances. I read again and again that some people that were training for a marathon or half did a 5k towards the end of training and were surprised at how much the mileage carried over. In some cases they hit PRs for 5Ks as a result of their marathon mileage.

2) Speed Work

Whether you call it interval training, tempo runs, test races or fartleks they all add the same variety to your workout program. Training your body to get used to running at a quicker speed.

“The single component that improves pace in races, according to my experience, is a weekly speed session.”
Jeff Galloway

3) Add Variety

When you work harder during training, race day will be much easier. Here are a couple of ways to do that through adding variety to your training:

Top 4 5K Programs

Losing weight

Losing ten pounds can result in a savings of 20 seconds per mile. For a 5k, this means one whole minute of time.  Losing weight also has the added benefit of making your existing training easier and less stressful on your body.

Staying Injury Free