The 5k is a tough distance that might not always go the way you want. Whether you’re planning for a race in the future, or you’ve entered our Virtual 5k, you need to take the distance seriously.
The 5k challenge
Understanding that a 5k isn’t as straightforward as it might seem and will require specialist training, is definitely one of the first steps to success.
To run a fast 5k you have to train specifically for the distance and improve your speed and anaerobic capacity.
To run a fast 5k you have to train specifically for the distance and improve your speed and anaerobic capacity. To achieve that requires a training plan which should always include endurance, tempo and speed workouts.
Speed work and tempo runs
You definitely need to be running intervals at your 5k race pace, or even some experts suggest, faster than race pace.
The theory behind running faster than your usual pace is simple. If you want a PB/PR you need to get used to running at a pace that you just aren’t used to. The 5k is an event that is hard and will hurt, but if you train properly, you will run it so quickly, you won’t notice the pain…
A study at the University of New Hampshire found that runners who ran a faster first mile (1.6km) than their usual pace, were much more likely to record a PB/PR than those who ran at their usual consistent pace throughout. It is something that is worth experimenting with in training to see how it affects you. Unlike longer distances like the half and full marathon which is all about aerobic ability and a consistent pace, the 5k is a test of anaerobic capacity and speed, which is why it hurts so much and is so difficult to get right.