Is it really nearly December already?
If you haven’t already done so, then you should probably get your 5K result for November logged. Why? Because whatever time you log this month, you’ve still got a chance to win a brand new 7″ Android Tablet!
As well as earning valuable points for our end of year award, everyone who runs at least two 5Ks between October and December, including at least one medal race, will automatically be entered into our Autumn Challenge competition for the most improved 5K runner! You can find out more about the challenge by clicking here, but for now, here are our top 5 tips to help you run your best ever 5K by the end of the year!
1. Run Faster
Ok, so it goes without saying that if you want to run faster, you have to practise running faster. Easier said than done, right? Well, not really. One of the best ways to train your body to run faster over longer distances is to practise running faster over shorter distances. This can be achieved by running short repeats of 400m or 800m with rest breaks in between, longer ‘fartlek’ sessions with short bursts of speed, or even just running a shorter distance at your goal pace. But remember, short fast runs can take a lot out of you, so make sure you take a rest day afterwards and definitely don’t do them the day before the race!
2. Run Further
Another great way to improve your 5K time is to practice running further than 5K. Increasing your distance on long slow runs won’t train your body to move faster, but it will build your endurance and train your mind to keep going as you approach the final stages of your race. If you can run 6K, then 5K should be easy, right?
3. Eat Well and Hydrate
Like any fine tuned engine, your body needs fuel to keep going, so make sure you eat something about an hour before your race – nothing too heavy, but enough to keep you going. For 5K, you don’t need to worry about fuel during your run and, for most people, you won’t need to take a drink with you. However, it is important to hydrate properly before any run, so make sure you have a glass of water before you head out. Even in this colder weather, hydration is still important!
4. Take Walk Breaks
Yeah, we know. Walking is a cardinal sin to may runners. We all want to run and keep running until the end, but for slower runners sometimes taking walk breaks can actually help. By adopting a run-walk ratio for your race, you will find that you not only run faster during the running sections, but you won’t feel as tired by the end of the run and, for a lot of people, your final time can be much faster than if you had run the whole way. Don’t believe me? Then check out Jeff Galloway’s website. He has built a whole training program around this which has worked for thousands of runners!
5. Rest and Recovery
Improving your 5K time isn’t just about running faster and harder. It is just as important that you take the time to rest and let your body repair and recover from the damage that you have been inflicting on it. By taking a day off after speed sessions and long runs, and at least a couple of days off before your race, you will not only have given your body a chance to strengthen and repair itself, but you will also feel fresh, revitalised and ready to take on the race ahead!
So, if you haven’t already done so, make sure you log your 5K time before the end of the end of the month, and then go ahead and try some of these tips to see how much faster you can run by the end of the year. We’re not promising you’ll break any records, but you might just shave a few valuable seconds off your 5K time and set yourself a new PB.