You're not alone; running 3.1 miles without stopping is an impressive feat. The good news is that barring certain musculoskeletal injuries, with proper training, you can absolutely do it. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, and no matter what size and shape you are, a 5K is totally doable.
Running a 5K is a great achievement and a worthwhile fun goal, but it's only one way of thousands to “get in shape.”
Very advanced runners may be able to complete a 5K in less than 20 minutes. For professional runners, the 2020 world records for running an outdoor 5K are currently 12 minutes (mins) and 51 seconds (secs) for males and 14 mins 44 secs for females.
What percentage of the population can run a 5k? If you can run 5km, you are in the top 10% of people on the planet, as the majority can not even walk 5km. To be above average, you need to be able to run 5km in under 35mins. To be in the top 10% of runners however, you need to be faster than 23:58mins.
If you're a seasoned runner and are finding that running suddenly feels hard, it might be a sign that your body is working hard to recover from a slight illness, infection, stress or exhaustion. If you're a new runner and find that things continue to feel challenging, stay consistent and cut yourself some slack.
Average time and pace
Everyday runners can aim to complete a mile in about 9 to 12 minutes. This means you'll finish a 5K in about 28 to 37 minutes. Walkers can expect to complete a mile in about 15 to 20 minutes. Walking at a brisk pace should enable you to finish a 5K at around the hour mark.
Average for intermediate runners
For intermediate runners (generally those who run 10 – 20 miles per week) an average time would be around 20-25 minutes, which is an average speed of around 7-9mph over the course.
But there's good news, middle-of-the-pack runners, because we may have the last laugh: New research shows that while elite runners peak at age 35, the rest of us may not peak until we're 50.
Running about 15 to 20 miles a week provides optimal health benefits, O'Keefe said. Or walking can provide benefits, from 2 miles a day to as much as 40 miles a week.
On average a 5K run will burn between 300 and 400 calories (around 100 calories per mile), but if you are looking to work out the rate that you personally burn calories when running a 5K, you will need to take a few factors into consideration.
So, how hard is it to run a sub 20 5k? Regardless of fitness level, experience, gender, age, or any other factor, to run the 3.1 miles under 20 minutes, you'll need to be able to run under target race of 6:25 minutes per mile for the whole distance—or roughly 4 minutes per kilometer.
Yes, running is good for building muscle in your legs. During you running training you will put most stress on the muscles from your hips down, including your glutes, thighs, calf muscles and so on. After each exercise session, the strain you've put on them will trigger your body to build more muscle.
Trust that running will get a little easier, over time.
Like anything else, the more you do a certain activity, the more your body gets accustomed to it. Running consistently means that at some point you'll probably start to know what to expect, at least in a physical sense.
“Training for and racing a fast 5K is hard work, and can be very rewarding. If you're shooting for a fast time, include short intervals in your training. A class speed workout is 12 x 400m repeats at 5K race pace with a 200m recovery jog.”
The time of less than 20 minutes could be the minimum standard for high school and collegiate Track & Field runners that requires much time and effort. The time of less than 18 minutes, the median of a competitive cross-country running race, could enables you to call yourself an 'athlete'.
It's a common assumption among new runners that they need to run at least 3.1 miles in training before the real race in order to ensure they can finish the race. However, you don't have to have run the full 5K distance ahead of time to be adequately trained and “in shape” to complete the distance on race day.
“If you're keeping in shape and staying injury-free, you're not slowing down at all before you're 35,” said Fair. “You don't see any real fitness declines until age 40.” So basically, before runners turn 40, the race is up for grabs.
French researchers have found that athletes' peak performance actually follows a rigid physiological law. Generally, most enter their athletic prime somewhere between 20 and 30, before undergoing an "irreversible" decline.
The best way to breathe while running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined. Breathing through both the mouth and the nose will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. It also allows you to expel carbon dioxide quickly.
Generally speaking, a 5K does not mandate much recovery time, given adequate training; however, the general rule of thumb for post-race recovery is one day of rest for each mile raced.
Running is one of the best things you can do for your body, and running 5k every day is enough for most of the general physical and mental benefits of running without some of the potential downsides of overtraining or over doing things.