How Experienced Runners Can Improve 5K Time

It is quite common for experienced runners to come to a plateau in their 5K times.

This distance is a great way to get your fitness level up and keep you active if you only have short periods free.

How Experienced Runners Can Improve 5K Time

If you have hit a stagnant time when running your 5K, there are some things you can do to help you achieve a new PR. This may mean running a different way than normal or carrying out some new drills to challenge yourself further. 

Only you know how your body is reacting to your new training schedule, so try any of our suggestions out and see what works for you. Here are our top training tips to help you reach a new PR on your 5K run.

Run More

The first way that an experienced runner can improve their 5K performance is by running more. It seems like quite a simple thing to do but it does work. 

Most runners will aim to cover a minimum of 15 miles a week. This equates to just over 24K. To build on your running time, you will want to aim to cover this distance in fewer runs than usual. 

For example, you may split the 24K up into 4-5 runs a week. To build on your endurance, aim to run longer. Aim to cover 24K in 3-4 runs. See how that works for you and you will be surprised by the outcome. 

You could even try out a training schedule that gets you running 7-8 miles (11-12K) in 25-30 minutes for a longer run. This would increase your endurance majorly as you gradually build up the pace throughout the schedule. 

If you want to create your own running schedule, try upping your distance by 10% each week. Even this small change will majorly improve your performance to help you hit those PR’s.

Try a 5K Training Program

If you’re an experienced runner then you have probably worked your way up to run longer distances. Now, this is all well and good however there are some disadvantages. 

When you run a 5K as a long-distance runner, your training hasn’t set you up for this shorter route. In this instance, one of the best things that you can do is to follow a 5K specific program. 

These programs are designed to help you run faster and more efficiently at the 5K distance. These training schedules will help you out with your speedwork by breaking down the way you run. You will begin to see some great results after the first week.

Give Hill Sprints a Shot

If you’re looking to get a new PR at a 5K run, you can also start adding in hill sprints to your training. We advise that you add one hill sprint run a week to your schedule. This type of run will up your endurance and help you push yourself further.

To begin, add 5 to 6 hill runs into your hill sprint training run. As you get through each week, add another hill until you reach a maximum of 10 hill repeats. This will majorly improve your performance. 

When it comes to run day, start with a 10 to 15 minutes warm-up. Run at your usual pace during this segment. Then find an appropriate hill at around 100 to 200m in length. You will want to push yourself up this hill. 

Now, this will be difficult at first. That is a good thing. You want to push yourself to your maximum effort. Concentrate on your breathing and once you reach the top, turn around and lightly jog back down the hill. 

Try Finishing Strong

A good way to improve your 5K pace is to finish strong. 5K may feel like a comfortable pace for you if you’re an experienced runner. Challenge yourself towards the end of your run by going for it!

Increase your pace at the end of your run. Aim to run faster for 20 to 30 seconds. Over time, this will have a huge impact on your 5K pace. Many runners practice a strong finish as it helps to aid any discomfort you may feel towards the finish line of your race.

If you’re feeling tired, giving yourself that extra push will focus your mind on the push rather than the fatigue. Meaning that you will improve your running time instantly. 

Work on Your Speedwork

The last way that we are going to touch on today is to work on your speedwork. To get the best results, you will want to incorporate at least one of these running sessions a week. 

The top three running workouts that we swear by are mile repeats, 800m repeats, and 5K pace intervals. Each of these will push your body to up your pace whilst maintaining your energy as best as it can. 

What is great about these running workouts is that they can either be carried out on the treadmill or the street. It’s a great idea to rotate these workouts throughout your training schedule so that you are constantly pushing your body and mind in a new way. It will keep the 5K runs interesting. 

You may have a target in mind that you’d like to hit for your 5K. If you don’t have this target figured out yet, then don’t sweat it! Complete the running workouts as explained below and try to push yourself further during the second completion. 

1. Mile Repeats

To note before starting this workout, the 10-minute warmup should be a comfortable run.

Push yourself when it comes to the 1-mile intervals and then slow it back down during the easy recovery intervals. 

Finish the workout with a cool run or jog. 

  • 10 minutes warm-up
  • 1 mile @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 1 mile @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 1 mile @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 5-minute cool-down

2. 800m Repeats

For this workout, follow the same structure as above. A comfortable pace to warm up, push yourself during the 800m interval and then go back to a lighter pace.

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • 800m @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 800m @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 800m @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 800m @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 800m @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 5-minute cool-down

3. 5K Pace Intervals

When you try out this workout, it is best to use a timer so you know when you have to start and stop.

You can either set this up on your smartphone or set up interval training on your smartwatch or fitness tracker.

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • 5 minutes @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 5 minutes @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 5 minutes @ 5K race pace
  • 1-minute easy recovery
  • 5 minutes cool-down
Suzie
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