Want to run a faster 5K come race day? Start by breaking it down to two main components: your training plan and your race-day tactics.
First, take a look at your training plan. Try to add in or tweak a few workouts so they are 5K-specific, incorporate hills on a regular basis and add strength workouts. These will ensure that you are physically prepared for a 5K.
To race faster, you must practice running faster. Start incorporating some faster running days (speed workouts) into your training plan. Speed workouts can range from short, fast surges of 20-30 seconds, to mile repeats, to 15-20 minute tempo runs.
- Hill Work
Hills are speedwork in disguise: They help strengthen your legs and build endurance that will come in handy as you are powering through your next race. A hill workout doesn't have to be fancy; it can be as simple as incorporating a hilly route in your everyday training runs. If you are looking to make it more formal, find a hill (anywhere from 200-400m in distance) with a 4 to 8 percent grade; sprint or run hard up the hill; and recover on the downhill (either walk or slowly jog). Repeat a few times, gradually building up the number of intervals over time.
- Strength work
Focusing on strength work a few times a week will not only make you stronger (which helps you run faster), but it can help prevent injuries by increasing the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the impact of running.