How To Run 5k In 17 Minutes: Guide + Training Plan

The 5k is one of the most popular race distances, common in road races, trail races, track races, cross country races, and parkruns alike.

Many runners spend some time improving their 5k time when they first start running but then may dabble with longer distances, potentially sticking more with 10ks, half-marathons, and marathons. Or, they may return once again to the beloved 5k to work on speed.

If you’re a competitive runner, there’s a good chance you’re chasing a time goal and 5k PR, one of which may be running 5k in 17 minutes.

According to Run Repeat, males who can run 5k in 17 minutes are faster than 99.30% of other male runners at this distance, while females who can run 5k in 17 minutes are faster than 99.90% of female runners. In other words, running 5k in 17 minutes places you in the uppermost echelon of runners these days.

You are fast, but we have you covered. In this guide, we will discuss how to run 5k in 17 minutes and provide you with a training plan to run 5k in 17 minutes.

We will look at:

  • 5k in 17 Minutes Running Speed
  • How to Run 5k in 17 Minutes
  • Elements of Training to Run 5k in 17 Minutes
  • 5km In 17 Minutes Training Plan

Let’s get started!

How Far Is 5k?

Before we get into the training plan for running 5k in 17 minutes, let’s cover the basics. The “k” component of the 5k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 5k is 5000 metres.

For runners in the United States who are more acccustomed to miles, this converts to slightly longer than 3.1 miles.

5k In 17 Minutes Pace

To run 5k in 17 minutes, you will need to run 5:28 per mile or 3:24 per kilometer. This means a 17-minute 5k pace is 5:28 per mile (5 minutes, 28 seconds) or 3:24 per kilometer (3 minutes, 24 seconds).

However, since most people looking to run 5k in 17 minutes want to break 17 minutes as a barrier (running 16:59 or faster), you’ll want to shave a second or two over the course of the race.

If you are running on a track, 5k in 17 minutes works out to 1:22 per 400 meters (82 seconds) and 2:44 for 800 meters.

People running a road race.

5k in 17 Minutes Running Speed

If you are training to run 5k in 17 minutes on the treadmill, your race pace workouts will be run at a treadmill speed of 11 mph (slightly slower than 5:27 pace) or 17.6 km/hr.

5k in 17 Minutes Splits

To run 5k in 17 minutes with even splits, you’ll be aiming for 5:28 at mile 1, 2 miles in 10:56, hitting 3 miles in 16:24, and closing in just under 17 minutes. For kilometers, aim for 3:24 at 1k, 6:48 at 2k, 10:12 at 3k, 13:36 at 4k, and 17:00 at 5k.

How to Run 5k in 17 Minutes

Running 5k in 17 minutes is an impressive goal for advanced male runners and elite female runners. A 5k in 17 minutes is an appropriate goal if you’ve run 5k in 18 minutes or faster. If you have yet to run fairly close to this time, you might want to start with running 5k in 20 minutes.

You should also be able to run one mile in 5:28 minutes—if not faster—as this will be your race pace for 5k in 17 minutes.

A close-up of the feet of people running a 5k.

Elements of Training to Run 5k in 17 Minutes

Our 17-minute 5k training plan involves running 4-5 days per week and resting at least one. You should be able to run 5 miles comfortably without stopping and have about 6-12 hours per week to train.

To run a 5k in 17 minutes, you need to follow a well-rounded training program with interval workouts, hills, distance runs, cross-training, and strength training.

Easy Runs

Easy runs help build your aerobic base without taxing your body in the way that speed workouts do. Pace isn’t important here. You should run your easy runs at a comfortable, conversational pace, at an effort of 5-6 on an RPE scale of 1-10, where 10 is the max effort.

Long Runs

You’ll have a long run just about every week. It serves as your primary endurance-building workout that gets progressively longer to help your body to improve your aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, and mental strength.

Long runs increase your mitochondrial density so that your muscles get more efficient at burning fat and producing energy aerobically. They strengthen your muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues, along with your heart and lungs.

A person running on a track.

Speed ​​Workouts

Speed ​​workouts on the track involve running specific distances at race pace (1:22/400 meters for the goal of 5k in 17 minutes) or faster. These hard workouts build speed and get your body comfortable with your race pace.

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, so these workouts train your body to handle running faster before hitting anaerobic efforts.

For most runners, threshold pace is about 25-30 seconds per mile slower than 5k race pace. Therefore, If you are training to run 5K in 17 minutes, your threshold workouts should be run around a 5:55-5:58 per mile pace. This pace should be equivalent to an effort that’s about 83-88% of your VO2 max effort.

A silhouette of a person running uphill.

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats involve sprinting uphill, usually at near max effort. Hill sprints develop power, speed, and strength and can help increase your cadence or turnover.

Unless your 5k race is on a track or a very flat road course, you’ll likely encounter hills during the race. Hill workouts also help prepare you for handling hard efforts uphill.

Strides

Strides are typically anywhere from 50-200 meters or so and should be run at near-maximal speeds. Running at this pace trains your neuromuscular system to handle faster paces in a controlled and coordinated manner.

A cyclist in a read and black kit.

Cross-Training Workouts

Cross-training is a great way to get an aerobic workout while using different muscles and reducing the impact of your activity. Low-impact exercises like cycling, pool running, swimming, elliptical, and rowing can supplement your running and help prevent overuse injuries.

Rest Days

Rest days give your legs and feet time off to recover and rebound from training.

Strength Training

Make sure you are fitting in core work, mobility exercises, and strength training workouts 2-3 times per week. 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.

A person doing a forward lunge with dumbbells.

5km In 17 Minutes Training Plan

This 6-week 5k training plan will help you break 17 minutes in the 5k. Try to add 2-3 days of strength training per week.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
10 x 400 meters in 1:20-1:22 with 200-meter jog in between
Cooldown 1 mile
3 miles easy run Rest day Warm-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 miles Long run 5 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
5 x 1,000 meters in 3:22-3:24 with 200 meter jog in between
Cooldown 1 mile
3-4 miles easy run Rest day Warm-up 1 mile
2 x 8 minutes at 5:55-5:58 pace with 90 seconds in between
4 x 30 seconds at sprint/mile pace with 30 seconds rest
Cooldown 1 mile
4 miles easy run Long run 6 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
3 x 1 mile in 5:24-5:28 minutes with 200-meter jog in between
Cooldown 1 mile
3-5 miles easy run Rest day Warm-up 1 mile
3 x 8 minutes at 5:53-5:57 pace with 90 seconds in between
4 x 30 seconds at sprint/mile pace with 30 seconds rest
Cooldown 1 mile
4-5-mile easy run 4 x 50-75m strides Long run 7 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
1 x 2 miles in 10:48-10:56
200-meter jog
4 x 400 meters in 1:19-1:22 with 90 seconds recovery
Cooldown 1 mile
4-6 miles easy run Rest day Warm-up 2 miles
10-12 x 100 meter or 30-45 second hill sprints
1 mile cool down
5-mile easy run
4 x 50-75m strides
Long run 8 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
1 x 1 mile in 5:23-5:26
200-meter jog
4 x 1,000 meters in 3:22-3:24 with 60 seconds recovery
Cooldown 1 mile
4-6 miles easy run Rest day Warm-up 1 mile
25 minutes at threshold pace (5:50-5:55 min/mile)
1 mile cool down
4-5 miles easy run
4 x 50-75m strides
Long run 6 miles
Rest or 30-45 minutes of cross-training Warm-up 1 mile
6 x 800 meters in 2:44 with 200-meter jog in between
Cooldown 1 mile
4-mile easy run Rest day 20-minute easy jog + 4 strides 5k Race Shake out or active recovery walk

Let us know how your race goes! Once you break 17 minutes, set your sights on breaking 16 minutes. How cool would that be?

If you are looking to increase your distance, we can also help you with your 10k race goals:

10k Training Plans

A person running through a finish line with his arms raised.

Amber Sayer

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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