5 ways to run 5k faster

DragonCon Saturday
Fancy Dress Won’t Speed You Up.

If you want to run faster this coming weekend (Saturday) then training will not really help you so here’s what you should do.

1. Train as normal until Tuesday. Optionally, on Wednesday, do 5-10 short sprints of say 100m somewhere around the speed you want to race at on Saturday. On Thursday and Friday do not train.

2. Set a realistic goal and determine a tactic to achieve it. Eg get a better runner to pace you or use your GPS watch to race against a ‘course’ or against a fixed speed. Or use that watch to run at a constant pace, I use a Garmin 910XT.

3. Look up what a dynamic warm up is and use one on Saturday morning allowing plenty of time to do it, finishing your warm up 10 minutes before you start the race.

4. Eat lightly and normally on Friday. Stay FULLY hydrated ALL DAY Friday. On Saturday drink and eat as little as you can without feeling ill or risking throwing up or feeling thirsty. If you feel thirsty drink 500ml water. Absolutely do **NOT** “carb load”.

5. Your attitude and determination and aversion to pain will make at least 2% difference to your time, I reckon. So you have to adopt whatever mental strategy that works best for you to overcome that. Personally I know it’s going to hurt and I prepare myself to live with that and visualise the glory at the end (maybe!)

A more detailed look at this subject is discussed <here> where I look at 40-odd ways to run 5k faster!  and there are various plans and other tips all over this blog.

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8 thoughts on “5 ways to run 5k faster

  1. Dear the5krunner,

    Question : would it make sense that a very slow 3km warmup run an hour and a half before a 2km race would make a big improvement in 2km race time? Would it make sense to do the same thing or something similar before a 5km race? 


    Sent from Samsung Mobilethe5krunner wrote:

  2. Great site! Really enjoy and value the specific advice. I think “Aversion to pain” is key when going for a PR. I always second guess myself after a race and ask why I didn’t try to close on that guy up ahead, or why I did’nt push harder. Maybe it was the pain I was in at the time. Maybe that’s all I had, but after every race I always ask myself why I didn’t push harder? Ran a 19:44, 5k last Sunday, I am 50. Been stuck in the 19’s for a year, I think a lot of it is mental.

    1. yes I agree a lot is in the mind. you can still get another minute off though if you try I reckon. you’re not past it yet! (whatever ‘it’ might be)…I really think there are tricks that get get you a one off 30 seconds worth of improvement if not already done, though you sound like you know what you are doing.

  3. Yes, another minute or so would be nice! I have set a goal at an even 6:00 pace, which would bring me in at about 18:40 or so. Been increasing the speed work which I think is key. Am 510, 170 now, from what I’ve read dropping to 160 alone could shave a minute off.

    1. https://the5krunner.com/2012/09/19/5k-training-racing-hr-zones-what-is-a-tempo-run-or-a-lsr-long-slow-run/ has a daniel’s tables spreadsheet link to it. that will tell you how much faster you will go OTHER THINGS BEING EQAUAL by losing weight. Certainly with cycling it is difficult to lose weight properly as you tend to lose muscle mass and hence power. So cycling coaches recommend trying to increase power and NOT to try to lose weight (for good athletes) … so bear that in mind and keep up the protein intake.

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