How To Run 5k In 27 Minutes: Complete Guide + Training Plan

Most runners decide to tackle the 5k for their first race. It’s an approachable distance, even for beginners, yet also a huge milestone for new runners.

For your first 5k, just finishing the race can be a fantastic goal because it takes the pressure off running a certain pace and allows you to be present and really enjoy the experience of the race itself. 

However, after finishing your first 5k race, setting a 5k time goal is a good way to get faster, provide direction to your training, and keep yourself motivated by the allure of setting a PR

If you’ve been able to break 30 minutes in the 5k, you might want to set your sights on how to run 5k in 27 minutes. In this guide, we will cover how to run 5k in 27 minutes and provide a complete training plan to run a 5k in 27 minutes. 

We will look at: 

  • How Far Is 5k?
  • 5k in 27 Minutes Pace
  • 5k in 27 Minutes Running Speed
  • How to Run 5k in 27 Minutes
  • Elements of Training to Run 5k in 27 Minutes
  • 5k in 27 Minutes Training Plan

Let’s get started!

People running a 5k race.

How Far Is 5k?

Before we get into the specifics of how to run 5k in 27 minutes, let’s cover the basics in case this will be your first race or you’re new to running.

The “k” component of the 5k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 5k is 5000 meters. For runners in the United States who are more accustomed to miles, this converts to slightly longer than 3.1 miles. 

5k In 27 Minutes Pace

To run 5k in 27 minutes, you will need to run 8:41 per mile or 5:24 per kilometer. This means a 27 minute 5k pace is 8:41 per mile (8 minutes and 41 seconds) or 5:24 per kilometer (5 minutes, 24 seconds).

However, since most people looking to run 5k in 27 minutes want to break 27 minutes as a barrier (running 26:59 or faster), aim to run the race at a 8:40 pace per mile or 5:23 per kilometer. This will give you a small buffer to finish the race in under 27 minutes.

If you are running on a track, 5k in 27 minutes works out to 2:10 per 400 meters and 4:20 for 800 meters.

People running a long run.

5k in 27 Minutes Running Speed

If you are training to run 5k in 27 minutes on the treadmill, your race pace workouts will be run at a treadmill speed of 6.9 mph (11.1 km/hr).

How to Run 5k in 27 Minutes

Running 5k in 27 minutes is an appropriate goal if you’ve run a 5k around 30 minutes or faster. If you have yet to run fairly close to this time, you might want to start with running 5k in 30 minutes.

You should also be able to run one mile in 8 minutes and 40 seconds, as this will essentially be your race pace for 5k in 27 minutes.

Elements of Training to Run 5k in 27 Minutes

Our 27-minute 5k training plan involves running 4-5 days per week, and resting at least one. You should be able to run 3-4 miles comfortably without stopping and have about 5-10 hours per week to train.

To run a 5k in 27 minutes, you should follow a well-rounded training program with interval workouts, hills, distance runs, cross-training, and strength training.

A person on a rowing machine.

Easy Runs

Easy runs help develop your aerobic base and get your legs and feet used to the mileage needed to train for your 5k. Easy runs should be “easy” in terms of pace.

Run at a comfortable, conversational pace, which is approximately an effort of 5-6 on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is max effort. 

Your exact pace during an easy run isn’t important, so you don’t even need to use a GPS watch if you don’t want to. 

Long Runs

Long runs build your stamina, and improve your aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, and mental strength. Long runs also increase the mitochondrial density in your muscles, so that your muscles get more efficient at burning fat and producing energy aerobically. 

Additionally, long runs strengthen your muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues, along with your heart and lungs. Even though a 5k is only 3.1 miles, you’ll want to work up to a long run of 7 miles or so.

A person running uphill on the coast.

Speed Workouts

Speed workouts are usually run on the track so that you can run specific distance intervals. With the goal of 5k in 27 minutes, you’ll have speed workouts that involve race pace work (2:10 per 400 meters) as well as faster paces. 

Speed workouts are challenging, but are a critical component of preparing your body to handle race pace and to improve your anaerobic capacity.

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats involve sprinting uphill, which builds power, speed, and strength and can help increase your cadence, or turnover. 

Because the goal of hill workouts is to build speed, run each hill repeat as fast as possible. Drive with your glutes and hips, bring your knees up, keep your stride short and powerful, engage your core, and use a powerful arm swing. 

People running at high velocity on the track.

Threshold Workouts

Threshold workouts are designed to improve your lactate threshold, or the point at which your body is no longer able to clear lactate from the muscles as quickly as it is being produced. 

Due to the fact that when you run faster than the pace at your lactate threshold, you will rapidly fatigue and your legs feel heavy and tired. Threshold intervals help condition your body to handle running faster before hitting these anaerobic efforts.

The lactate threshold occurs around 83-88% of your VO2 max, so your threshold run pace would be the pace you are running at 83-88% of your VO2 max according to your lab results or roughly the pace you could hold at max effort for an hour of running. 

For most runners, the threshold run pace is about 25-30 seconds per mile slower than 5k race pace.

Therefore, if you are training to run 5K in 27 minutes, your pace for threshold workouts should be around 9:05-9:10 per mile or 5:35-5:38 per kilometer.

A person running down the road smiling.

Strides

Strides are short accelerations or sprints anywhere from 50-200 meters or so.

Running at this speed trains your neuromuscular system to handle faster paces in a controlled and coordinated manner, increases running cadence, and can help you have a strong finishing kick in your 5k race.

Cross-Training Workouts

Running is a high-impact, repetitive activity, so the risk of injury is fairly high if you increase your volume too quickly

Low-impact cross-training exercises like cycling, pool running, swimming, elliptical, and rowing can supplement your running and help prevent overuse injuries by using different muscles and movements and putting less stress on the musculoskeletal system.

Rest Days

Rest days are important because they give your legs and feet time off to recover and rebound from training. You should take off at least one full day per week during this 5k training program.

A person doing a plank.

Strength Training

Total-body strength training workouts help prevent injuries by correcting strength imbalances and building functional stability so that your body can handle the miles of running.

Aim to do 2-3 total-body strength training workouts per week, focusing on the complex movements like squats, lunges, step-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, and core exercises.

5k In 27 Minutes Training Plan

This 6-week 5k training plan will help you run 5k in 27 minutes. Try to add 2-3 days of strength training per week to this schedule.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

10 x 400 meters in 2:08-2:10 with 200 meter jog in between

Cool down 1 mile
3 miles easy runRest dayWarm up 2 miles 

8-10 x 100 meter or 30-45 second hill sprints

1 mile cool down
30 minutes easy run or 3-4 milesLong run 4-5 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

5 x 1,000 meters in 5:20-5:24 with 200 meter jog in between

Cool down 1 mile
3-4 miles easy runRest dayWarm up 1 mile

2 x 8 minutes at 9:05-9:10 per mile or 5:35-5:38 per kilometer pace with 90 seconds in between

4 x 30 seconds at sprint/mile pace with 30 seconds rest

Cool down 1 mile
30 minutes easy run or 3-4 milesLong run 5-6 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

3 x 1 mile in 8:37-8:41 minutes with 200 meter jog in between

Cool down 1 mile
3-4 miles easy run Rest dayWarm up 1 mile

3 x 8 minutes at 9:05-9:10 per mile or 5:35-5:38 per kilometer pace with 90 seconds in between

4 x 30 seconds at sprint/mile pace with 30 seconds rest

Cool down 1 mile
30 minutes easy run or 3-4 miles with
4 x 50-75m strides
Long run 6-7 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

1 x 2 miles in 17:15-17:20
200 meter jog 

4 x 400 meters in 2:04-2:09 with 90 seconds recovery

Cool down 1 mile
4-5 miles easy runRest dayWarm up 2 miles 

10-12 x 100 meter or 30-45 second hill sprints

1 mile cool down
30 minutes easy run or 3-4 miles with
4 x 50-75m strides
Long run 7-8 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

1 x 1 mile in 8:35-8:40
200 meter jog

4 x 1,000 meters in 5:20-5:24 with 60 seconds recovery

Cool down 1 mile
4-5 miles easy runRest dayWarm up 1 mile

25 minutes at threshold pace (9:05-9:10 per mile or 5:35-5:38 per kilometer)

1 mile cool down
30 minutes easy run or 3-4 miles with
4 x 50-75m strides
Long run 6 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes cross-trainingWarm up 1 mile

6 x 800 meters in 4:20 with 200 meter jog in between

Cool down 1 mile
4 mile easy runRest day15-20 minute easy jog + 4 strides5k RaceShake out or active recovery walk

Let us know how your race goes! Once you break 27 minutes, set your sights on how to run 5k in 25 minutes. You’ve got this! 

People running a 5k race.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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