These tips are for runners who have already run a 5k and are ‘race ready’. If you are a beginner looking to run your first 5k, then your focus should be on building endurance and completion BEFORE you take on speed. Some of these tips can be applied to your situation (e.g. strength training, etc) but more advanced workouts like track workouts should be skipped early on until your body adapts to handle the increased workload.
One of the best ways to maximize your level of fitness is to add volume. For shorter distance races, your longest run of the week should be above and beyond the distance we want to race at. This works great for shorter distance races like 5k’s and 10k’s, maybe even half marathons, but starts to negatively impact us when we race at longer distances like marathons due to wear and tear on the body. For an experienced runner wanting to improve your 5k time, getting to a point where your long runs are around 8-10 miles will do wonders for maximizing your overall cardio fitness level as well as building confidence on race day.
Add strength training exercises as you can fit them in during the week. Do variations of single leg balance drills, hops, jumps, as well as core body exercises. You can do 5-15 minutes or so each morning when you get up, or in the afternoon when you come home from work, or before bed, or while watching TV. They don’t need to be scheduled, just work to fit them in your schedule.
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