How To Run 5K In 20 Minutes: What Pace Do I Need for Sub 20 5K?

How To Run A 5K In 20 Minutes What Pace Do I Need

No matter what your skill level is, running 5k within 20 minutes can be done with some practice and PERSEVERANCE. 5k is equivalent to 3.107 miles, which isn’t that far to run within the 20-minute timeframe.

Many people are put off by the 20-minute deadline! They talk themselves out of running that fast. They are worried about taking breaks, being too slow, or embarrassing themselves.

  • 5 km = 3.107 miles
  • 5K in 20 minutes is an ACHIEVABLE goal with proper training
  • Pace needs to be 4 minutes per km, or 6.26 minutes per mile
  • The term “sub 20 5K” refers to 5K that takes less than 20 minutes.

But, MANY people in the same situation have pushed themselves enough. They have completed the 5K run in 20 minutes – so why can’t you?

Today we’re looking at how you can train to meet this challenge.

What’s The Correct Pace For 5k In 20 Minutes?

If you want to be able to complete your Sub 20 5K challenge, you are going to need to get your running speed up to 4 minutes per km, or 6.26 minutes per mile (see also how pace is calculated).

  • This pace sounds quite daunting when you consider that the average, non-competitive running speed is 9 minutes per mile.
  • Beginners might only have a pace of 12-15 minutes per mile. Elite runners will be able to run a mile in just 4 or 5 minutes.
  • So, for the 5k in 20 minutes challenge, you’ll need to work your way up to an almost elite level.

But how can you improve your pace this much? Let’s find out below.

Five Tricks To Running 5k In 20 Minutes

For Comparison:

  • The current world record for 5000 meters for men is 12:35.36, and for women, 14:06.62.
  • For a 5K road race, records are 12:49 and 14:19.
  • A 5K in under 30 minutes is good for most recreational runners.
  • Joining the Sub 20 5K club is an accomplishment that needs a lot of training. And because of that, fewer runners will ever be able to run a 5K in under 20 minutes.

5 Tricks To Running Sub 20 5K

Here are five tips on how to train for your 20-minute goal. Depending on your fitness level, it may take more or less time. However, keeping with these tips will push you closer to your goal.

1. Practice Interval Training

There are many types of running workouts. One of the best ways to improve your pace is to ensure that you never stray too far from the target pace. Considering that this is 4 minutes per km, you’ll need to be able to sustain this pace throughout the entire race.

To do this, interval training can help.

  • If you have access to a local running track, use the 400m ring to run a 3k pace. Your pace for this practice run should be 3.5 minutes per km, or 92 seconds per 400 meters.
  • Use intervals of 90 seconds between 12 repetitions of the 400m run. Once you find that you are holding a steady pace for 400m, you can increase it to 600m or 800m to hold your pace for longer.

Once you have mastered this, you’ll need to increase the pace for 1500m to 88 seconds per 400m. This is 3.4 minutes per km or 5.52 minutes per mile. Repeat this 10 times with a 90-second recovery interval.

If you find that this is too difficult for you, drop down to the 200m at the same pace and work your way up to the 400m, then 600m.

2. Run Hills

A series of hill runs can be as effective as speed training, so look for a 100m hill with a moderate incline to assist you. Run from the bottom to the top, always being aware of your form and technique.

Begin with 6 repetitions of hill run, working your way to 10 repetitions and giving yourself recovery time in between.

You could also find a steeper hill and practice power running by running for 15 seconds up it, walking down, recovering, and running again. Repeat this three times to improve your endurance.

3. Utilize Tempo Runs

One of the best ways to determine whether you’re going to achieve the 5k in 20 minutes is to consider your lactate threshold.

This is the speed at which you are able to run BEFORE the lactic acid in your body begins to pool in your bloodstream.

By using tempo runs you can improve your lactate threshold and therefore give yourself a better chance at completing the 5k within the timeframe.

Tempo runs will teach your body how to continue running for longer and quicker without getting tired and slowing down.

Your tempo pace is the pace for a 10-mile race and 20 seconds per km. It should be 30 seconds slower than your 5k race pace that you want to get to, so 4.2 minutes per km or 6.56 minutes per mile.

Begin your training with two 10-minute runs with a 3-minute recovery between them. Build this up to 1 effort for 20 minutes.

Bear in mind that this might take some time to perfect, so don’t worry if you cannot do it quickly. You’re teaching your body to run more efficiently.

4. Run Long Distances

Long runs are great for improving endurance and will allow your body to learn how to recover from more difficult training sessions within the week.

Choose between a 60 or 90-minute run and consider your stride speed as you run.

Practicing your stride distance can improve your pace without even knowing it. After your long run, you might even be surprised at how well you were able to keep a steady pace.

5. Get Ready For The Race!

You’re going to want to practice all of the techniques that we’ve listed above consistently for around 6 weeks before your race is due to start.

This allows your body to get used to the ideal pace that you need to complete the 5k in 20 minutes.

Fueling your body with the right types of food before a 5K run is crucial to having good race times.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when you’re racing to finish within 20 minutes.

If you cannot achieve the pace that you were hoping for, then you can always try again another time! It is not worth injuring yourself to push yourself too much.

The Bottom Line

And there we have it – how to run 5k in 20 minutes. You’re going to need to build up to an impressive pace of 4 minutes per km, or 6.26 minutes per mile to complete this challenge! Sounds difficult, and it is – but it’s not impossible.

Giving yourself plenty of time to train can help you to get to your goal of 5k in 20 minutes.

And when you achieve that 20-minute 5K, you are ready for the next challenge: 5K in under 20 minutes. To achieve a Sub 20 5K you will need to just run under the original target pace of 4 minutes per km / or 6.26 minutes per mile.

Make sure you use our training tips to give yourself the best headstart possible!

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