Increasing My Running Pace - Want to Do a Faster 5k

by Margaret
(Asheville, NC)

Hi. I've run 8 5ks this year (to keep me motivated) and have lost 20 lbs (200-180).

I am still only at a 13 min pace (training runs - no walking) and 12 min on most 5ks (usually walk about 2 - 3 min total).

I was at a 15 min mile a year and a half ago.

I usually run at least 4 and sometimes 5 days a week. I try to do 5 or 6 fast bits on my Tu/Thu runs (2 miles).

There are hills on my 3.25 MWF runs. I always run MWF. I absolutely love it, but would like to see some improvement in speed.

Am I being impatient?

I don't want to hurt myself, either, of course, and have been careful and lucky so far.

running tips, improve running pace
Answer by Dominique:

Hi Margaret,
Thanks for your question about increasing your running pace and improving your 5k runs.

I think you have done really well so far.

You have run lots of races.

You have lost weight.

You have improved your running times.

And you have built up to running 4-5 times per week, doing about 11-13 miles in total.

That's all really good stuff.

I also like that you are doing some faster stuff and incorporating hills in your MWF runs.

To now improve further, I would recommend going a bit further than the 3.25 mi, at first on only one of the runs.

Your training has got you pretty much set on this 13 minute pace for 3.25 miles. In races you try to go faster than that, with the result you have to do a little bit of walking.

Now, imagine that you can run 5-6 miles. How much easier would it be to cover that 3.25 miles? A lot, I can tell you.

Building up your mileage will help increase your stamina. Once you have got more stamina, you will be able to use that faster race pace for longer.

This principle is called base building and it is an important part of long distance running. Check out the base running drills page.

Of course, you can't just start doing 5-6 miles in all your MWF runs. The idea is to build up slowly over time. So, make one of those next runs maybe a 3.75 mi run. Or 4 miles.

Then next week make it 4.5 miles, etc., etc. Before you realize it you will be running a lot more miles. Learn more about this on the increasing mileage safely page.

Best of luck.
Hope this helps (I am convinced it will!).
Kind regards,

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