How Experienced Runners Can Run a Faster 5K

6 Tips to Learn to Run Faster to Get a PR on Your Next 5K

If you've run a bunch of 5Ks, you may have gotten to the point where you're just not seeing any improvement. It's natural for runners to reach a performance plateau, after seeing months or even years of steady progress. To take your racing to the next level and continue to achieve PRs, you may have to make some changes to your training. Here are some training tips for running faster 5K races.

1
Run More

Man and woman running together on pier
Jordan Siemens/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Some runners top out their 5K training at 15 miles a week and never go longer than 3-4 miles. But you will see a lot of improvement and get closer to your potential if you develop your endurance further.

Try following a 5K training schedule that gets you into the range of 7 - 8 miles for your long runs and 25 - 30 miles for your overall weekly mileage. If you're not following a specific schedule, make sure you don't increase your mileage by 10% each week. In addition to your long runs, you can make small increases to your other easy runs.

2
Follow a 5K Training Schedule

You may have fit in some 5K races while you were training for a long distance event, such as a marathon. Although half marathon and marathon training will obviously prepare you to go the distance of a 5K, you most likely weren’t doing 5K-specific speedwork. By following a training schedule that specific for a 5K race, you’re more likely to see better results.

3
Finish Strong on Your Training Runs

Picking up the pace for the last few miles of your long runs is good practice for race day conditions and it all improve your endurance. Try picking up your long run pace by about 20-30 seconds for the last few miles.

Also see: Tips for Finishing Stronger and Faster in Races

4
Try Some Hill Training

Running hills helps improve your running economy and efficiency, which will translate into faster running. Try to work a hill repeat session into your training once a week. Start with a 10-15 minute warm-up of easy running. Find a hill with a moderate slope that's about 100-200 meters long. Run up the hill at a hard effort -- you'll want to try to push yourself up the hill, but try to keep your effort consistent and don't let your running form fall apart. Turn around and recover by easy jogging or walking down the hill. Try to start with 5-6 repeats and add another one each week, with a maximum of ten repeats. You could also combine some hill repeats with a tempo run.

Also see: How to Properly Run Hills

5
Do Speed Work

To achieve the best results with speed work, it helps to run at the specific pace that you'll be running during the race. Try doing a 5K-specific speed workout once a week. Here are three workouts that you can rotate into your training. They can be done on a track or treadmill so you're able to accurately track the distance:

800m (half-mile) Repeats
10 minute warm-up
800m at 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
Repeat 800m @ 5K race pace/1 minute recovery 4 more times
5 minute cool-down

Mile Repeats
10 minute warm-up
1 mile at 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
Repeat 1 mile at 5K race pace/1 minute easy recovery 2 more times
5 minute cool-down

If you don't have access to a track or treadmill, here's another one to try (a running watch or another timing device is required):

10 minute warm-up
6 minutes at 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
Repeat 6 minutes at 5K race pace/1 minute easy recovery 2 more times
5 minute cool-down

6
Run With a Group

Running with a group will not only keep you motivated to train, but most people push themselves harder when they train with others. Look for a running group or running store that offers weekly speed training.

Want more tips on how to boost your race performance? Check out these articles:

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