6 Running Experts on How to Train for a 5K

5K Training Tip No.4: Train for a New Time Goal
Lindsey Emery

"You're guaranteed a PR if you're running your first race. But for everyone else, the 5K is an opportunity to nail a good-for-now time.

"If your ultimate goal is a PR in a longer distance, use the 5K to gauge how your speed is progressing.

"In pursuing a fast-for-now time, plot your races strategically to allow for sufficient recovery and buildup. After an event, run easy for a few days, then begin another three-to four-week training block before your next 5K, using your most recent race time as a baseline."

More: 5K Training Tips From Lindsey Emery

5K Training Tip No.5: Embrace Intervals
Jack Daniels, Ph.D.

If you are new to interval training, try this workout twice a week in place of your regular run for four weeks. After four weeks you can increase the interval length to two minutes. Always remember to warm up and cool down adequately.

  • Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy jog.
  • Run at interval pace (a step up from your usual pace) for one minute.
  • Jog for a two-minute recovery interval.
  • Repeat four times.
  • Cool down for five minutes and stretch.

If you are a more experienced runner with a higher mileage base, your intervals can be easily adjusted for your fitness level. Remembering the 8 percent cap on interval mileage, interval pace can be about your 5K pace, faster for shorter intervals, slower for longer intervals ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes. (As a rule of thumb, your recovery interval should take about as much time as your working interval.)

More: 5K Training Tips From Jack Daniels, Ph.D.

5K Training Tip No.6: Don't Ignore Aches and Pains
Matt Fitzgerald

"No numerical rule can predict how your body will respond to your training. While in the long run using the 10-percent rule will certainly keep you healthier than you would be if you included abrupt mileage spikes in your training, it still doesn't make any sense to continue increasing your running mileage at a rate of 10 percent per week if you've developed a sore spot that gets a little worse every time you run.

"You must never ignore pain. When you develop a sore spot, reduce your running just enough to make the pain go away and then begin increasing your mileage cautiously.

"Sometimes it's necessary to stop running completely for a few days, but that is more than worth it when you consider that the possible consequences of ignoring the pain and continuing to run might be many weeks off with a far more serious injury later."

More: 5K Training Tips from Matt Fitzgerald

Active logo Sign up for your next 5K.

About the Author

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM