Following a Strava 5k Training Plan – 6:15min/mile

A 6 week plan to TIme trial a 5k

This was the year of 1000 miles run. After a 16 week base building running routine, building to 30 miles per week, we began a Strava supplied 5k plan.   It was our first true training schedule in more than 18 years!

There are dozens of great training templates around the web to give structure to running. Strava includes plans by McMillan running in their Premium subscription. 

This is the story of how that plan helped us improve in the 5k from 22:00 down to 19 minutes. The plan should work for those looking for a 30 minute 5k plan or obtaining to hit 17. Customization comes in the form of target paces, which should be chosen before or as you start the plan. 

Training Paces for Sub 20 Min 5k

400m: 79-85 seconds

800m: 2:50-3:04 (x5)

1 Mile: 6:10-6:30 hard efforts
2 Mile: 12:19 hard effort 3 weeks out

Long: 7:20-8:00 (10+ miles)

Easy: 8:00-9:00/min mile


These paces were loosely are the actual paces run over the 6 weeks. The pace targets were predicted by the McMillan calculator depending on a target pace or race predictor. There is some difficulty and discipline required to not immediately want to trading at target results paces. Doing that will result in over training, although if your target is closer to your previous race pace then it may be possible. 

Training targets should be ranges. For intervals of a quarter mile or more there is going to be some variability in each rep. That is fine and knowing about it will help maintain focus throughout a workout.


weekly Mileage

Long term the goal is to establish a base of 50-60 miles weekly over a 2-3 year period. Workouts are a regular occurrence and most days have active rest at a lower heart rate on manageable terrain. Doing short fast intervals on easier runs  helps with understanding and improving form. It can be fun to set mini goals on specific segments as a way to keep intervals interesting. 

For this plan low mileage was 38 and a high of 52 miles. Since hills can change things, monitoring time on your feet helps- all weeks were 5-7hrs spent running. 

Race Day

Time trial day came up quickly. There is no reason to do anything too different from normal on the day of- but I tried to make all minor decisions align for a good effort. Small meal of oatmeal and fruit to get going, and some coffee. Give things time to digest (20-30min) then a short 15 min warmup with a few quick strides mixed in, then Go time!

Get a Custom 5k plan


For the most part I start the day with oatmeal mixed with peanut butter mix and protein mix and a fresh fruit rolled in (blueberry, strawberry, banana). My total intake is around 1g or protein per pound of weight (180 gram total) and targeting between 2200-3000 calories per day. This range allows for refueling during longer runs. 

The morning of hard efforts can include caffeine. There are

many ways to take caffeine, I prefer tea and coffee. 


Salomon shoes, handheld water bottle, Apple Watch, 


It is hard not to want to run everyday. And when it is done at the right speed and duration there

is no reason running can’t be a daily activity. 

Building the 5k Training Plan

Building the plan takes time. Even the best templates need to be customized to account for your schedule. Some tools make it much easier, and allow for variations in daily and weekly mileage with sample target paces for your goal race pace. 

Custom 5k plan