Want to run a faster 5k? These seven techniques will help you get faster, smash your personal best, and run your fastest 5k ever.
Track your pace
Getting to know and be comfortable with your finish line pace is crucial if you want to duplicate it on the big day. The best way to do this (after a 1-mile warm-up jog) is to run 2 miles at your goal pace. Measure your speed using a GPS watch by checking your times at mile markers for bike paths or after each lap on a track. Finish with a one-mile chill-out jog.
Most runners never do track speed work. But if you want to be fast, it can make a big difference to sprinkle in a little faster races once or twice a week on everyday races. In the middle of some of your middle distance races, do five to ten one-minute intervals at a challenging but controlled pace. Separate surges with at least one minute of recovery jog. Or make a pyramid: waves in one, two, three, two, one minute (s).
Take it easy
Do not run hard the last three days before the race and nothing that can strain your legs during the previous 24 hours before a race, which is the only time it is beneficial to be the couch potato! Enjoy it.
Run on empty
Carbohydrate replenishment is unnecessary before a 5K. Do not eat or drink too much the night before, and eat little or nothing in the morning. No more than half a banana and a glass of water at least an hour before the gun fires will do the trick. Do not worry; you will not starve.
Walk, jog, run, run
A thorough warm-up will prepare the mind and body for a better run. In the last half hour before the race begins, walk a few minutes, jog a few minutes, and then do some ascent runs (accelerations at race pace).
Be ready to run steadily
A steady, steady running pace gives the best results, which requires you to resist two temptations. First, do not place yourself too far back from the starting banner. Otherwise, you will waste time teaming up with slower runners in the first mile. Second, do not place yourself too close to the starting banner. Otherwise, you will give in to jumping off too fast with faster runners in the first mile – which inevitably leads to a crash-and-burn scenario later. Not good.
Take a deep breath
You may breathe the most through your nose on light runs, but the need for oxygen by running faster requires that you first and foremost breathe through your mouth at a brisk pace. Practice this during training at a running speed, so it is automatic on race day. And exhale powerfully through the open mouth when you sprint to the finish.