How Long Does It Take To Run a 5k? Average 5k Times By Age And Sex

See how your time compares the rest of your demographic

How long does it take to run a 5k? Whether you’re mapping out your training plan to prepare for your first race, or you’re wondering if your 5k race time matches up with the average 5k time of other runners, we’ve got all the information you need right here. 

In this post we’re going run through . . .

By the way, five kilometers is 3.11 miles – it’s often the case that 5k and 3 miles are used interchangeably since the distance between them is so close!


Let’s jump in!

The legs of some runners, on a road, with the text 'How Long Does It Take To Run a 5k?  Here are Average 5k Times' and 'Marathon Handbook'.

Average 5k Time By Age Group and Gender

Age plays a big part in your athletic abilities and therefore has a big influence on average 5k time. The table here shows the average time to run a 5k by age for both men and women:

Age GroupMenWomen
0 to 1534:4337:55
16 to 1929:3937:39
20 to 2429:2736:22
25 to 2931:0936:16
30 to 3431:2738:41
35 to 3933:4437:21
40 to 4432:2638:26
45 to 4933:1339:19
50 to 5434:3041:20
55 to 5937:3345:18
60 to 6440:3345:49
65 to 9942:5950:13

Of course, these running times represent the average 5k time for each age group, so advanced runners are likely to be considerably quicker, and complete beginner is likely to be slower.

How Long Does it Take to Run a 5k?

Just like no thumbprint in the world is alike, no runners are exactly alike either. Your 5k run time depends on a few factors:

  • Do you have much running experience or are you a new runner?
  • Will you be running the whole thing or walking for part of it?
  • What is your physical condition?

Some other factors include:

  • Your age group
  • Your height
  • Your weight
  • How you’re feeling on race day (level of tiredness, preparedness)
  • Your running shoes
  • The weather during your run (runners in hot weather tend to move more slowly than in cooler weather)

Now that you know about all the little things that can affect your running speed during a 5k, we’ll answer all your questions about running a 5k. 

Related: Here’s our complete Couch To 5k guide and training plan!

Man running on road

How long is a 5k in miles?

5k is short for 5 kilometers. One mile is the same as 1.6 kilometers. So a 5k run is 3.1 miles. 

That’s good news for you as a beginner runner, since 3 seems much more achievable than 5!

How long does it take to run 3 miles?

Here’s the answer to the big question of the day. First, I’ll show you some different times that different levels of runners have finished their 5k. 

Fastest 5k time: Berihu Aregawi (ETH) is the current world champion for the fastest 5000m run. He finished at 12:49 in Barcelona, 31 December 20211 5K run world record progression. (2023, May 2). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5K_run_world_record_progression

Keep in mind that this is the fastest 5k speed, so unless you’re a very advanced runner, elite runners are an unrealistic comparison point. Let’s take a look at the average running pace for running just one mile. 

Average Mile speed: The average runner’s mile speed is somewhere around 8.7 – 13 minutes per mile2 https://www.healthline.com/health/average-mile-time. 

Average 5k time: Based on the average runner’s mile speed, we can calculate that the average 5k – or 3 mile – time is in the range of 26 – 36 minutes. 

However, average pace, and therefore average 5k time, is highly dependent on both age and sex: scroll down for our table of average 5k times broken down by age groups and gender.

5k run times broken down: If 26 – 36 minutes is the average 5k time for a person who has been training, let’s break that down to see what it looks like on smaller levels. 

For a runner who jogs steadily at a 10 minute mile pace, a 5k takes 30 minutes to finish. 

If you are walking the 5k, it will take about 45 minutes. 

If you run off and on during your 5k, it will take 35-40 minutes. 

Related: What’s A Good 5k Time? Average Times To Run A 5k By Age + Sex

Small group running on a road looking happy

What is a good 5k time for a beginner?

If you’ve been training steadily on a couch to 5k running plan, aim for a finishing time of 30 minutes. 

If you’re thinking, I just don’t see how I could run without stopping for 30 minutes, I have good news: you don’t have to! 

The best way to get started is by following a Couch To 5k Training Plan.

The Couch To 5k method is specifically designed for non-runners, and uses a run/walk strategy to get you used to running – very effective.

(we’ve developed 8-week and 4-week couch to 5k training plans, free to download!).

Many C25k runners end up completing the 5k’s in very good times – you can still finish at 30 minutes (or even less) by running and walking through the race. 

Sometimes running straight through the race can exhaust your body.

When you walk, the purpose is to give your body a rest so it can recover. By following the training methods in the article just mentioned, you can optimize that recovery period to help you run even faster during your running periods. 

Here’s Our Guide: How To Run 5k In 30 Minutes

Too Easy?

How To Run 5k In 25 Minutes

A large running race

4 Benefits of Running a 5k

Running a 5K is a huge milestone in your running adventure. It represents the first of many runs to come. 

Finishing a 5K means you conquered your obstacles to running a mile, then running 2 miles, then running in an actual group race. 

Crossing that finish line means achieving a dream that you worked for. But that’s the keyword: work.

Getting to a 5K requires dedication to your goal and the persistence to make it happen. 

Here are some other benefits of running a 5k:

#1: Running is one of the most convenient forms of exercise. 

Sure, as you advance to running longer and upping your speed, you’ll want to gather more gear and more tips and tricks.

But when you’re just starting out, all you need is a good pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and you’re good to go. 

#2: Running is inexpensive. 

There is no need for a gym membership or any fancy, expensive equipment.

Most runners like to have a good pair of earbuds that won’t fall out of their ears while running.

You’ll want some clothes that don’t absorb too much sweat while you run (a cheap, $10 pair of shorts will do the job).

#3: Your training will inspire you to eat healthier. 

When you’re putting the work into training for a 5k, it will be much easier to say no to a quick candy bar or fast food burger.

You’ve been working hard – why throw it all away for a brief pleasure?

3 runners on a trail with a mountain in the background

#4: Running has a multitude of health benefits as well: 

  • It’s good for your heart health
  • It lowers your resting heart rate
  • It can lower the risk of cancer
  • It can help you lose weight fast
  • It’s a great boost to your mental health and has been proven to lower the effects of depression and anxiety
  • It becomes an amazing hobby once you get over the “beginner’s hump”

How to Run Your First 5k Race

Follow these 5k run tips to make the most of your first 5k and have a great time – during the training and the actual race day. 

Develop a Warmup Routine

Pencil in 10 minutes of warmup time before every run. With the goal of getting your blood pumping faster, move as much as you can in that time. 

5 runners in position at a startline

Here is an example of an effective warmup workout. 

  • High kicks: Perform these like you’re marching, but kick your legs up as high as they’ll go while you do it. 
  • Hip openers: Raise your leg like you’re about to do a high kick, then butterfly your knee away from your body so the upper leg makes a circle before going back down. 
  • Cycling: If your training track or park is near your house, consider cycling there, locking up your bike, and then doing your training. Cycling also has many benefits to runners as a form of cross-training. 
  • Jumping jacks: Get your whole body moving using big motions as you swing your arms and legs out, then back in again. 

A 5 Step Guide on How to Run a 5K

runner's feet in a race

Here are the 5 essential steps that need to happen to make your 5K schedule a success. 

Step 1: Sign Up for a Race

This is an absolute must. When you have a date, and a plan to run with other people, the idea becomes a reality. Once you sign up and pay for your spot, you know it’s time to start training. 

A typical couch to 5k plan lasts for 9 weeks. If you’re starting out at an intermediate level, you can plan for 4-8 weeks. 

Just don’t cut your training short. It’s better to have an extra week of wiggle room to make sure you’re ready. Your first 5K experience should be a positive one. That’s only possible if you’re prepared and fit to finish the race. 

Step 2: Download a Training Plan

Even if you’re the type of person who goes with the flow and wings it, I don’t recommend training for a race without a training schedule. 

Here are 3 reasons why. 

  • You might get going too slowly so that you’re not ready by the time race day arrives. 
  • You might start off too fast and get injured, causing you to drop out. 
  • Without a training program, you’re likely to skip more training runs, which negatively affects your progress and fitness level. 

With a good plan, you will progress gradually and consistently, minimizing the risk of injury whilst maximizing your running performance with the perfect mix of rest days to boot.

Step 3: Establish a run-walk method

Most training plans will outline a strategy for segments of running and walking, but if not – you need a strategy. 

Make a set time for yourself to run and a cool-down period to walk before you run again. To do that, jog at a comfortable pace for as long as you can. Set a timer while you do it. Then you’ll know a steady length of time to jog when you’re first starting out. 

Each week, increase that jogging time and decrease the walking time, speeding up your race pace as you go. 

a group of runners running in a line on a path next to water with a mountain behind

Step 4: Work on Your Diet

Eating right and running go hand in hand. Your regular food habits will directly affect the outcome of your 5K training. 

While there’s no diet regimen you must follow, take care to be conscious that you’re focusing on vegetables and lean protein. Eat carbohydrates before your runs to keep you energized, and stay away from drinking too much alcohol (especially the night before a run). 

Step 5: Plan a Weekly Strength Training Workout

While running is typically considered a cardio exercise, you activate plenty of muscles that propel your body forward. Therefore, strength training can help to improve your running performance. The main muscle groups used when running are your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. 

If you’re not a fan of the gym, there are plenty of bodyweight workouts you can do to build up the strength you need for running. 

Uphill running is effective too. Designating an uphill run once a week is a great way to become a stronger runner. 

If you have a reasonable level of fitness, interval training can also work to strengthen the muscles used in running, resulting in a faster pace and improved running performance.

Related: How To Run 5k in 18 Minutes

Make it Happen

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, it’s time to put it into action. Start with this guide on how to run a 5k in 30 minutes and start today!


  • 1
    5K run world record progression. (2023, May 2). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5K_run_world_record_progression
  • 2
Photo of author
Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon.

9 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Run a 5k? Average 5k Times By Age And Sex”

  1. This is a great site. Thanks for the great info. My daughter just finished running her first half marathon on 10/17/2021. She was in 200th place out of 1,500+ runners. It was called Best Damn Race Half Marathon. Her time was a 2:05 (ten minutes past her original goal.) She inspired me to get back into running. Forty years ago, I was a Division II cross country runner as a walk on. But believe it or not, it comes back if you keep your mind and body in shape. So far, my fastest 5k in training is 27:52 (a 8:58 pace) which is good for a 63 y/o who hasn’t run competitively since 1981. Robyn and I are running a 5k the AdventHealth Groveland Turkey Trot 5k on my 64 birthday which is also Thanksgiving Day. I have ran several sub 28 minute training runs and she is coming off a good half marathon so we are very excited to be running together. We should do well! Thanks again for your site.

  2. I mainly mountain bike, 49 yrs old, 5’9” and 180lbs and since it started raining, I’ve done three runs.

    12/15 2miles , 18:44
    12/22 3.26 miles, 33:24
    12/25 5.19 miles, 50:10, 5k time 28:54

    I didn’t realize I was doing a decent run until reading your article. 🙂 and my progress is probably helped by my mtb training

  3. Tom Easton
    I love reading the input from motivated runners and this got me running again at age 68. When I was 40 I could 5K in about 22 minutes but stopped running shortly afterwards. I started again in June 22 and have set a goal to run a 5K in 25 minutes. I have lost around 18 lbs in weight and have set down an ambitious training plan but initially didn’t include enough recovery time and ran into hamstring problems. My revised plan is much better advised thanks to reading the experience of other older runners. Love your site.

  4. Wow. I’m quite pleased with myself, now that I’ve read this article. I started running during lock down because my usual excersise was swimming twice a week. But as the pools closed, I needed to find something else. I’ve never really enjoyed running, too much pain, too much struggle, not enough reward. But I started the couch to 5K programme in August 2019. And I’ve been running between 3-5k everyother day since. My pace, I thought was slow, as there are a lot of hills where I live. But since reading your article, I’ve realised my pace is reasonable, 6.15 ish, especially for my age, 56 and being female!


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