“What are serious training tactics for a 5k?” was a recent question.
The answer depends on your 5k strength / weakness. IE are you better at speed or endurance?
If endurance is your weak point then you know what to do…mileage. I would however turn any long “plod” into a more serious exercise where you run at the limit of your aerobic threshold for the entire duration (ie you can just about still talk). Then cap it off with a 1k at target race pace.
You’ll probably also want to do that sort of run if you want to build up your speed as well. But to build up speed you will need to do interval training. The harder the better. I spent months focusing on fast one/two minute intervals with one minute jog recovery. It worked in the sense that I got faster but I think I was going too easy on myself and wasted quite a bit of time.
What you need to do (and what I do) is 1k intervals or even 1 mile intervals. Do at least 3 of these intervals at target race pace or ideally faster with as little recovery as possible (but at least 1 minute, if you can manage that). You can jog recover to make it harder or just stop!