Want to run a faster 5k? With a few changes to your training and a couple of months of consistent running, you could be setting a 5k PB and running faster than you imagined.
Plan your training to run a faster 5k
No, we don’t expect you to write your own training plan. We’ve got plenty of 5k training plans for you to choose the one that’s right for you. But you do need to plan how you’re going to fit your training into your life if you want to make it happen. The most important part of training is consistency; a plan that has sessions ticked off every week if obviously going to work better than one that’s very hit-and-miss and consistency starts with good planning.
Add in some interval training
To run faster on race day, add in some faster running into your training. Regular interval training is a great way to boost your speed, increase running efficiency and work on your form. If you’re new to interval training you could start by adding some strides at the end of one of your runs and after a few weeks replace one of your runs with an interval training session.
Train at goal pace to run a faster 5k
Once you’ve decided on your goal time, work out what pace you’ll need to hold during your race to run it. The next step is to practice this pace in your training so that you can nail your pacing on race day. This will help you get better at judging your pace so you’ll be less reliant on looking at your watch, and also help your body get better at running at that goal pace.
You don’t need to run a whole 5k at goal pace in training – that wouldn’t be a good idea as you want to save that kind of effort for race day. Instead, use your interval training as a way to practice this. A good session would be 3-5x 1k at goal pace with 90 seconds jog between efforts.
If your runs aren’t much further than 5k currently, you might want to think about running longer distances. This will not only help build your endurance, but will build mental stamina too.
Add 5 minutes to this run each week to extend it. Once you are regularly running 8k or more, running 5k doesn’t seem so daunting. Make sure you take these longer runs nice and easy and try the walk/run method if you need to.
Strength training can benefit runners of all levels, whatever distance they’re training for. Stronger muscles can deliver more power to your stride to help push you to the finish line. Strength training is also important for running form. Training your core muscles can help you maintain a good, upright posture when you’re feeling tired towards the end of a race, which will make your form more efficient.
Start by adding one session a week and make sure you’re getting a good mix of core and lower body exercises. You can add a second session each week after a month or so of regular training.
Along with all this training, it’s important not to overlook the role of recovery. We get fitter and stronger by overloading our muscles within a safe range and then giving them time to recover. It’s during that recovery that they adapt to become stronger. Try to structure your training so that you are doing your hardest sessions at times when you’re able to recover well after. Make sure you’re taking at lease one rest day each week, and try to get a good amount of sleep.