Need Help with 3k Run

by Victoria
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

need help with 3k run

How can I run 3k in less than ten minutes? I just can't do it! It takes me 11 to 12 at least!

Please tell me any strategies you know for stamina and racing because I have a race in six days!

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Victoria,

Thanks for your question about your 3k run. Improving your running times from 11-12 minutes to 10 minutes can take a lot of time. Weeks if you are lucky, talented and relatively untrained. Often months. For some, it could take years. In other words, way more than six days.

I'll still provide you with some guidance on how to get there and what to do in your race:

1. Building up your stamina
2. Speed work for a 3k race
3. 3k race strategy

Building up Your Stamina

need help with 3k run
Running fast for 10-12 minutes is tough. You need speed in your legs. That's for sure. But more than that, you need stamina. You need a super endurance. Only then will you be able to run fast for long enough. Without endurance you might be able to run the first 1k pretty fast. But with endurance you can keep that pace going right till the end.

Stamina can be built up by doing easy runs. Check out my page about easy running. A lot of your training should be at easy pace. Ideally your easy runs take you well beyond the 3km mark. That will make you stronger and stronger and build your engine.

Not sure how often you are running currently and how many miles per week you are covering. But generally, when it comes to mileage: more is better.

Also check out the Increasing Mileage Safely page to learn more about how to increase your mileage without getting injuries.

Speed Work for a 3k Race

need help with 3k run
An important ingredient for a fast 3k run, like a 3k in under 10 minutes, is to train using quality workouts. This is faster running, such as intervals, fartleks or tempo runs.

What is particularly helpful in the weeks ahead of an important race is to practice intervals at goal pace as well. This gets you used to running the right pace and helps to avoid you going out way too fast. A goal pace workout for a fast 3k run could be something like 15 x 200m at goal pace. If that is an impossible workout, doing it for 3k uninterrupted is going to be a problem... So it serves as a bit of a reality check as well.

3k Race Strategy

need help with 3k run
Let's now talk race tactics, which is probably most useful for your race that is only six days away. What is critically important in these middle distance runs is that you run fast, but not so fast that you burn out after 2k. If you can, try to stop yourself from going all-out from the start. Try to run your first 1k as fast as the last 1k. Try to run at an even pace.

This is hard and comes with practice. But if you normally go all-out without enough restraint, you will run your first 1k fast, your 2nd 1k okay and then run your last 1k a lot slower.

Trying to run as evenly as possible with giving it a real kick in the final 1k is likely to help make you quite a bit faster.

You would not be able to shave off 1-2 minutes, but you would possibly be able to save 10-30 seconds... which is a very good improvement on a relatively short distance.

Also check out this related question, which I have answered previously. 3k and 3200m are very close together, so you can use the same race strategy as what I have described here --> 3200m Race Strategy.

Whatever happens I hope you'll have some fun on race day. And all the best with the training in the weeks and months afterwards which should help you improve your 3k time more and more.

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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