How to Run a Faster 5K

August 26, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

You’ve been running regularly for some time and have completed a few 5K fun runs. But now it’s time to step it up and take this distance seriously. Here are some tips to help you beat your personal record when running 3.1 miles.

During Training

  • Add speedwork: If you want to run a faster 5K, you have to practice running faster. Coach Andrew Kastor recommends adding 80-meter sprints into your training schedule, and here’s his plan for running a faster 5K in four weeks. Remember: sprinting can be hard on the body, so make sure to start off with shorter sprints and build up to the full 80 meters, especially if you’re new to speedwork.
  • Add short uphills: Hills require strength and endurance, so if you practice them during your training, you’ll develop speed and muscle power, and just as with plyometrics (jump exercises), hill sprints will increase flexibility in your muscles and tendons, which reduces your risk of injury. In your training, tackle shorter steep hills (about six to 10 percent incline). Sprint up for 10 seconds, then walk downhill backwards to avoid pressure on the knees. Repeat, eventually building up to eight 10-second sprints. It’s a surefire way to stronger, faster legs.
  • Incorporate strength training moves that target your shins, calves, quads, glutes, and core: Running alone won’t increase your speed. You need to strengthen the muscles that make you move so your actions will be more powerful and more efficient. Incorporate variations of squats, lunges, step-ups, calf raises, bent over rows, and these three booty moves from celebrity trainer David Kirsch.
  • Become familiar with the route: Obtain a map of the 5K course, and if the route is open (like in a neighborhood or wooded trail), practice running it to familiarize yourself with the hills, curves, and mile markers. Knowing the course in advance will give you confidence and an added advantage over runners who are running it for the first time.

Keep reading to find out what to do on race day to run a faster 5K.


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