The 5K is the pinnacle distance of road racing. It is a distance every runner has either raced or can relate to, plus it can be one of the more straightforward road distances to train for. If you’re doing the right workouts, training for the 5K can be rewarding, plus it can translate if you’re training for longer or shorter distances.
It’s a term you’ll hear coaches say a thousand times, but the key to lowering your 5K time (or improving your speed in general) is to practice getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
This hybrid track workout is designed to get your body and legs acquainted with your goal 5K pace on little rest. The short jog recovery will challenge your aerobic threshold and improve your ability to feel confident with unfamiliar paces come race day.
12 to 15 reps of 300m with 100m jog recovery
(We recommend a 10 to 15-minute warm-up jog with dynamic stretching before you start, followed by a similar duration cool down after finishing).
This workout should be done on a 400m or 200m athletics track. If you do not have access to a track, you can modify this workout by doing 90 seconds at your 5K pace with 45 seconds jog recovery. Aim for the same amount of reps.
Hitting paces in this workout is ever so important. Do not go out too fast in the first five reps. It will certainly come back to haunt you later on. For example, if you are training to break 20 minutes in the 5K, aim to hit each 300m rep in around 70 seconds. If you reach rep seven or eight and are feeling comfortable with the pace and rest, try speeding each rep up to three to five seconds faster.
If you’re having trouble hitting your goal paces on short rest, turn your 100m recovery jog into a 100m walk.
This workout will be around 5K in distance, and should give a rough idea of where you’re at and where you need to improve to crush your personal best on race day.