Improving your 5k run time

How to Improve your 5k Time

Author Jamie Firth

For beginner & even long-term runners, the task of improving your 5k time can seem daunting. But with the right training and focus, it is 100% achievable! Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Build up a stronger running base:

The length of time this takes will depend on where your fitness level is starting from. When your endurance foundation is rock solid and you’re comfortable running for more than 3.2 miles then you can look to improving your 5k time.

2. Work lower body strength and core into your training:

Having increased muscle strength will give your legs more power and speed. This will be an important factor when trying to improve your 5k time.

3. Incorporate hill training and tempo work:

After you have a solid endurance base hill tempo work will strengthen both your legs and cardiovascular system. They also really help with technique. Hill reps can be great for improving your technique. These workouts are designed to help you run at a faster pace for longer periods of time.

4. Don’t neglect the arms:

When we think about running, we often focus on the legs. But it’s important to remember that the arms play a big role in our running form and efficiency. Think about keeping your arms relaxed and swinging them. This will provide more forward momentum and help you maintain your pace.

The PLAN To Improve Your 5K Time:

Plan to improve your 5k time

Warm up correctly. Too many people myself included are guilty of lacing up and just blasting straight into a 5k effort. Warm those legs up properly before putting them under that much duress. 10 – 15 minute warm-ups are perfect for this.

Pacing. It’s all too easy to blast out the first mile because you are feeling great. The wheels will come off very quickly if you do this. the trick to a strong 5k is to run the first mile a few seconds slower than the goal pace. Control your effort and your breathing, you should still be able to breathe comfortably at this point. Mile 2 you should aim to hit your goal pace. Things will start to get tougher here and this is where mental toughness kicks in. Dig deep and hold the pace strong until there is just under half a mile or so to go. Drop the hammer and give it all you got for the remainder. If you are in a race focus on catching the person in front of you. Your body will want to slow down but you must control it with your mind!

The Workouts which will help you improve your 5k time:

1: Hill reps – Kenyan hill reps are a great workout. it involves running up a hill for a period of time and using the same period of time to run back down. Example – 30 seconds of uphill followed by 30 seconds back down to the start point.

2: 1k efforts – 6 x 1k efforts at slightly above goal pace. Rest for 3 minutes between efforts.

3: Shorter and Longer runs: you shouldn’t be running 5k every time you run if you want to improve your time. You need to be doing shorter harder efforts and longer easier efforts. Get to love the 10k distance. Zone 2 steady 10k runs will help build your aerobic base.

4: Park Runs: Use these runs for a more social aspect of running. They’re great fun, free and you can track your progress online across any park run you go to. A park run is a good way to test your initial 5k time then visit the same place after your training to see how much you have improved. you can find your nearest park run here

By following these tips and putting in the extra work, you’ll be well on your way to shaving minutes off of your 5k time! Stay focused and don’t get discouraged- good things take time!