The 5K is a short but challenging distance that places significant demands on your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Many recreational runners can easily complete a 5K, but to improve your speed over this distance and achieve a fast time, there are workouts that can help. Warm up thoroughly before completing any of these workouts.
Running 1K intervals will improve your basic running speed and aerobic fitness. Either using a track, treadmill or measured stretch of road, run the 1K at a faster pace than your normal running speed. On completion, rest for three minutes before repeating three to five times. As you get fitter, try to run faster and reduce the length of rest between runs as well as adding extra runs.
5K Descending Pyramid
This workout will improve your speed, your running endurance, and your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Perform these intervals either on a track or treadmill, resting for the prescribed periods between efforts -- run for 2,000 meters then walk slowly for 3 minutes; run for 1,500 meters then walk slowly for 2 minutes; run for 1,000 meters then walk slowly for 1 minute; finish with a sprint for 500 meters. Increase your pace as you progress through each run.
The 100-meter turnarounds provide a tough workout designed to improve your top-end aerobic fitness. Place two marker cones 100 meters apart on a track or a flat field. Perform 10 shuttle runs between the cones to total 1,000 meters. Pace yourself so that your speed is constant for each 100-meter stretch. Rest by slowly walking 100 meters for recovery before repeating three to five cycles.
This workout will improve your basic speed and also your anaerobic fitness. Run 400 meters -- one lap of a standard athletic track -- at a fast pace. On completion, rest for 90 to 120 seconds before repeating. Try to pace yourself so that you run each lap at a constant speed and all laps in about the same time. Perform six to ten repetitions of this workout, decreasing the amount of rest between efforts as you get fitter.
Hill running will improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, depending on the length and incline that you run up. Long, slight inclines will improve your aerobic fitness, and shorter, steeper inclines will improve your anaerobic fitness. Whichever type of hill training you perform, run up your chosen hill as fast as you can and then walk or jog back to the beginning and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- The Competitive Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Guide to Running 5Ks through Marathons; Shelly-Lynn Florence Glover and Bob Glover
- Daniels' Running Formula, Second Edition; Jack Daniels