You’ve been running regularly for some time and have completed a few 5K races. Now what? A new running goal is always a good idea. If you’re still not ready to race your first 10K, you might want to take your racing to the next level, by focusing on increasing your personal record.
Here are some tips for running faster 5K races:
Follow a 5K training plan
To run faster and more efficiently, you might want to consider getting extra help. A friend who mastered several 5Ks, a personal trainer, a schedule, all these options are valid.
But if you’re used to running with your phone – that you use as a gps, music player or to take a few running selfies – Ease Into 5K might be the right training plan for you. Ease into 5K is a beginner’s running app that brings a new approach to training, more geared towards the needs of beginning runners and designed to provide lots of insights and motivation along the way.
By following a training schedule that’s specific for a 5K race, you’re more likely to see better results and improve your PR.
Add speed work
Speed workouts are essential for anyone who wants to run a faster 5K. If you’re aiming for a better PR, incorporate speed sessions into your training, including intervals where you sprint for short bursts of time.
Because sprinting can be hard on the body, make sure to start off with shorter sprints and gradually extend the length of time you feel comfortable running at an increased speed. For instance, you could start by adding sprints of 200m or 400m followed by an appropriate recovery period. As you get closer to race day, your body should be able to handle 800m or even 1km speed sessions.
Try some hill training
To build up speed and develop muscle power, there’s nothing better than some short sharp hills. Hill running is great to strengthen up your leg muscles, increase your aerobic capacity and optimize your overall running technique.
Find a hill with a moderate slope (about six to 10 percent incline) that’s about 100-200 meters long. While running up the hill, keep your effort consistent and don’t let your running form fall apart. Recover by easy jogging or walking downhill backwards to avoid pressure on the knees.
To avoid injuries, incorporate hill training gradually. Start with 5-6 repeats and add another one each week, with a maximum of ten repeats.
A stronger runner is a faster runner. To become more powerful and more efficient, you need to strengthen the muscles that make you move.
Therefore, don’t skip the squats, planks, lunges, step-ups, calf raises and bent over rows. These exercises will target your shins, calves, quads, glutes, and core in order to make them stronger and injury-free.
To beat your current personal time, you will need to develop your endurance. You can accomplish that goal by regularly increasing your mileage every week.
Escalating the length of your longest run will improve your cardiovascular fitness and make you feel good about just running 5k on race day. Just make sure you don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week and remember you are aiming to run at a slower pace on long runs than your race pace.