How to Run a Faster 5k

by Dan

Hey, I have been running for a while on and off. I have started to run again slowly, and I am a few weeks into it. I started running at 6 or more mins per km hill training, and I am now down to 5 minutes or less per km.

I have a consistent pattern where I start off strong, in the middle I slow down a bit, and finish strong near the end.

I want to be able to keep a consistent pace for the whole run. I used to run over 10km a day and I am at 5km now.

Should I increase the distance? Will running 5k a day still be effective? Thanks

Answer by Dom:

how to run a faster 5k
Hi there,
Thanks for your running training questions. It's a bit unclear what your goal is; I guess you named your question "how to run a faster 5k" so, that's what I'll focus on mostly.

My thoughts on this are:

1. Are you running or racing?
2. Increasing the distance vs staying at the same mileage level
3. How to run a faster 5k

Are You Running or Racing?

It sounds like you are running your training runs way, way too fast. Most my runs are slower than yours. I generally run between 5 and 6 minute kilometres, depending on the hills involved. Downhill I'd be able to keep up with you... :)

Most my runs are easy runs. Gentle jogs in which you are able to have a chat to people (if you were to be running with them).

I think you are racing every training run. The way you describe your runs (starting strong, fading, strong finish) sounds like how I feel pretty much every race I have ever run!

So, next time you go for a run, slow down. You'll find that you'll be way more consistent, you will not have the ups and downs during the run and... your running will be a way more pleasant experience!

Increasing the Distance vs Staying at the Same Mileage Level

Take two runners of same ability. Have them train exactly the same way. Then have one of them do more miles. 100% of the time, provided nobody gets injured, my money will be on the person doing the extra mileage. Put simply: more mileage means better endurance means faster times. So, yes, move on to longer runs, please. Do it in a gradual way. Check out the Increasing Mileage Safely page for more info.

How to Run a Faster 5k

how to run a faster 5k
Slowing down and increasing your mileage will be important steppingstones to improving your time on the 5k (or any distance really).
In addition to that I'd recommend doing one quality workout per week. Maybe two if you are doing a whole lot of running.

I know I just told you to slow down. That's because slower running needs to be the absolute cornerstone of your running.

However, in addition to the slower running, you need to do a bit of faster running as the 5k is a fast race. I'll provide you with some links to explore further:

Tempo Running

Interval Running

Goal Pace Workouts

Hope this helps.
Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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