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How To Run A Faster 5k

by Nick Baines July 23, 2021

Running A Faster 5k - Here’s How…


Pushing for that new PB on your 5k doesn’t have to be an elusive, lofty goal. With a few key practices in place you can be sailing towards it in a matter of days. Whether you’re holed up in a snow-packed resort, or locked-down in Streatham, the methods listed below are tried and tested by some of the best runners in the world and will improve fitness, stamina and state of mind.

Bring In Speed Training

This is a great way to break down your 5k and get used to running at a quicker pace. You will splice the 5k into a series of ascending and descending distances, separated by a two to three minute rest in between. For example, you might choose to break your five kilometre run into the following:

1x 500m, 1x 1000m, 1x 2000m, 1x 1000m, 1x 500m.

The idea here is to set your goal pace and try to stick to it in these shorter distances. If you need to extend the rest periods or break the distances down further that’s fine, as long as the sum total of the distances is at least 5k. 

Hill Repeats 

Hill repeats help you to develop and maintain enormous bursts of energy. The idea behind this practice is finding a hill with a challenging gradient. You are going to sprint up this hill, then walk back down before running straight back up. The descent gives you time to catch your breath and rest, while the explosion of energy unleashed to climb the hill will start to improve your endurance and speed. 

The Long Run

One of the best things you can do to improve your 5k running time is to start incorporating longer runs into your week. Sail way past that five kilometre mark and embrace a seven, ten or even a 15km run once a week, but don’t give maximum effort.

On these long runs, we aim to build stamina, pushing on through for endurance and stacking them miles under the belt. Come your 5k game day, the distance is going to feel much easier, and you’ll be able to manage your energy and output more efficiently. 

Fartlek

This is the official Swedish term for what is effectively the run, jog method of training. You pick set distances, such as lamp posts, and alternate between sprinting one section, then jogging the next. This is a wildly popular training protocol that is used by seasoned road runners and professional athletes alike. 

Never Overlook The Warm-up

As a guide, the shorter the run, the longer the warm-up. With 5k considered a relatively short distance, and with the intention of setting a new PB, you should think about a few easy laps round a football pitch or playground, enough to loosen up and iron out the kinks, setting you up perfectly to hit that goal.




Nick Baines
Nick Baines

Author

With an insatiable thirst for travel, Nick Baines is a journalist based on the UK’s south coast. With more than 20 years experience in snow sports, he’s contributed features to publications all over the world.



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