Three Simple Ways to Run a Faster 5km

Colin and Anne describe three simple ways to run a faster 5km without changing your training.

As runners we all love to measure ourselves as we get fitter and faster. 5km is a great distance for measuring this progress. But how do you make sure you give yourself the best chance to run your fastest time? Here are three simple ways to run a faster 5km that don’t involve making big changes to your running week.

1. Make sure you are rested beforehand

The vast majority of runners train too fast and end up running races or events fatigued. You need to be fresh to perform at your best. Run at a superchatty (slower than chatty) pace for the few days before your 5km or have a complete rest and put your feet up. Don’t forget that you need to rest from other activities too. Hard gym sessions, spinning or kettle bell classes in the few days leading up to your 5km will make you tired and affect your performance.  Your aim is to be feeling fresh and raring to go on the morning of the 5k!

2. Do a full warm up first.

It’s amazing how many people turn up to Park Run on a Saturday and seem to walk straight from their car to the start line. If they start slowly and use the first couple of kilometres to warm up gradually all well and good. However, if you add a proper warm up, we have found that people can knock around twenty five seconds off their personal best times. You can discover the best way to warm up here.

3. Run the 5km at even pace

On the day of the 5km if you set off too fast it will be difficult to maintain the pace. Halfway through the event you will have to slow down as your legs tire and you run out of energy. It’s not a pleasant experience! It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, you need to run the first mile the same pace as the last.

How can you practice even paced running?

Every two weeks practice even paced running at your 5km race or event pace.

Warm up as if you are going to do a 5km. Then run 4km instead. The shorter distance at a 5km pace won’t make you so tired but is long enough to help you learn what pace you can maintain for 5km. The key challenge is to set off more gently than you think. This pace will feel hard enough by the last kilometre. At the end of the 4km, after a jog cool down, you can either use your watch and running app to see how consistent your pace was or judge your pace by how you felt.

A note about 5km pace

If you are a beginner who has just completed a walk to run programme, we recommend practising running at a consistent chatty pace for 5km. With increased fitness several months down the line, you will able to run 5km at a breathy pace. This will feel comfortable and we often call it cruise pace because it feels like you are cruising along.  If you are more experienced then you will know roughly how fast you can run for a distance of 5km and what that pace feels like.

Give yourself one month to prepare for your 5km time trial or race.

Remember to rest up, warm up and run at a consistent pace.

Let us know how you do by posting on our Facebook page or join our Facebook group. You can always leave a comment below too.

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