It’s no secret that you have to train fast to be fast. But training for a fast 5K time requires more than just speed work, it also requires some strategic workouts and nutrition habits. Here are three tips and training techniques you can incorporate to get that personal record you long for.
- Increase your cardiac output by adding variety to your speed workouts.
Cardiac output refers to the amount of blood your heart pumps in a minute. To a runner, a better cardiac output means your muscles fibers are going to be receiving more oxygen during the workout. By adding some of these speed workouts 2-3 times a week you can increase your cardiac output!
Interval Training: Running short repetitions with rest in-between.
(Example: Intervals of 30-90 seconds at a 3K pace)
Hill Repeats: Find a hill that is challenging but not so steep that you can’t maintain a good stride. (Example: short hill repeats (30-45 seconds), walk for 10-15 seconds, jog down)
Fartleks: Swedish for “speed play”, running alternate surges with easy running as recovery (Example: run 200 meters vigorously, and then 200 meters easy to recover (X4)).
Tempo Runs: Faster paced run that increases your lactate threshold—the burn you feel in your legs when you run fast (Example: Run 1 mile easy, then 2 miles at 5K pace, then 1 mile easy).
- Work on Strength/Resistance Training
Strength training as a runner gives you two advantages… Injury prevention and power! When running a 5K, you are recruiting some power muscles that will help you push that last mile. In addition, your body is recruiting your stability muscles to help you take on the impact of the pounding your body is taking. Adding strength exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts can help you become a faster runner. You will also need to incorporate upper body to aide in your running form and core exercises to aide in stability. Try adding strength training into your training 2-3 times a week.
- Fuel yourself for the workout/race
Nutrition is a very important piece of your 5K training and race, but it tends to get overlooked. Make sure to keep your diet consistent with training days and race day because you don’t want any surprises on race day.
Pre workout/race: Meals need to be nutritious and 3-4 hours prior to running to prevent sloshing and to give time for digestion. Snacks would include a simple sugar (banana, handful of crackers, juice, etc.) 30-60 minutes before running.
During workout/race: Hydrate with water as needed. You only need to refuel (sports drinks, etc.) if your workout is longer than 45 minutes.
After workout/race: After you run you will need to replenish your carbs, protein, electrolytes and fluids within 15-60 minutes. This will help with recovery, but be cautious and don’t overeat.
The last tip I have for runners is to remember the reason why you run. Whether it’s to live healthy lifestyle for your family or to handle the stress in your life, use that motivation to push you through your training and always give it your best.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”- Steve Prefontaine
Try this advanced training plan to run your fastest 5K in less than 8 weeks.