6 Speed Workouts to Run a Faster 5K

5K Speed Workouts to Include in Your Training

Workouts should be general early in your training cycle (months before your goal 5K race). As you build your fitness, the workouts gradually become more challenging and specific.

Start with easy runs and incorporate some short speedwork like strides. Strides are simply accelerations done after your run where you build to about 95 percent of your maximum speed, hold this pace for a few seconds, and then coast to a stop. Strides are fast, but they're also very short.

More: Run Fast With Strides

For early workouts, use unstructured fartleks and tempo runs that get slightly faster and longer as you progress.

Here are a few examples:

Note: For each workout, make sure to warm up and cooldown with an easy jog.

  • 15 minute tempo run
  • 5 x two minutes at your 10K race pace (jog for two minutes to recover between intervals)
  • 8 x 30 seconds at 20 seconds per mile faster than your goal 5K pace

As you get closer to your race, the workouts gradually become more difficult and specific to the 5K.

  • 5 x two minutes at goal 5K pace (jog for 90 seconds to recover between intervals)
  • 6 x 800 meters on the track at goal 5K pace (jog 400 meters for recovery)
  • 3 x 1-mile run on the track at goal 5K pace (jog one minute to recover between sets)

These workouts get progressively harder; the length of time you spend running at your goal 5K pace increases while recovery time decreases. Soon, your workouts will be almost as hard as the race itself.

Remember that 5K-specific workouts are much more challenging than general workouts used to build overall fitness. If you don't have at least six months of running experience under your belt, you should continue with general workouts. They're still great to get in shape and improve as a runner.

As you advance as a runner, completing specific workouts will give you the confidence you need to practice your race pace and be a stronger, faster distance runner.

More: 3 Hill Workouts for a Faster 5K

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