Increase 5k Speed While Decreasing Overall Run Time

You’ve finally finished your first 5k race, or you might be bored of getting the same total time on your 5k runs. The question occurs, “What is the easiest way to increase 5k speed and decrease my overall finish time?” I have come to the conclusion that there are two simple answers. Most people won’t like either answer, while some might like one or both answers.

Solution 1 – perform interval runs during your training cycle

Interval running, or speed work is running at a higher than average pace for a certain length of time or a measured distance. For example, if you have a 6-week 5k training cycle and you want to increase your speed during a 5k race, you need to dedicate at least one day a week to interval training. The easiest way I found to add this to your training cycle is to substitute one of your runs with interval training each week.

Interval training example:

Week 1 – warm up easy jog for 1 mile. Perform 2 x 400 meter ( 1/4 mile) followed by 2 x 400 meter ( 1/4 mile ) easy jog or brisk walk pace. Also, It’s important to remember not to stop during your interval cycle unless you are injured. The complete training cycle would look like this:

1-mile easy jog warm-up
1 x 400-meter fast running
1 x 400-meter easy jog or brisk walk
1 x 400-meter fast running
1 x 400-meter easy jog or brisk walk
1-mile walking cooldown
In this example, you would have trained a total of 3 miles

The remaining training weeks would like this:
Week 2: 3 x 400-meter followed by 3 x 400-meter walking (3.5 miles)
Week 3: 4 x 400-meter followed by 4 x 400-meter walking (4 miles)
Week 4: 5 x 400-meter followed by 5 x 400-meter walking (4.5 miles)
Week 5: 6 x 400-meter followed by 6 x 400-meter walking (5 miles)
Week 6: Continue your training but don’t interval train race week

Note: Each 400-meter running interval should become more difficult to complete than the last.

Solution 2 – lose weight

I know what you’re thinking right now, and believe me I fought this one myself, but it’s true. The easiest way to speed up your 5k is to drop lbs. If you don’t believe me test this simple theory. Buy a hydration pack and load it up with water. The weight of the filled hydration pack will be anywhere from 4-6 lbs. Run 4 miles with the filled hydration pack on and 4 miles without the hydration pack. I can almost guarantee you that you will tire much faster with a filled hydration pack. I found two simple ways that allowed me to lose all of my unnecessary weight. First, I limited my alcohol consumption to only one day a week. Most importantly, If I didn’t know a food’s caloric intake I wouldn’t eat it. I know it sounds boring, but it works.

If you’re still struggling with completing a 5k, check out my book,  5K Fury: 10 Proven Steps to Get You to the Finish Line in 9 weeks or less! (Beginner To Finisher Book 2).   If you’re already running 5ks maybe it’s time to push yourself to the next level. Why don’t you check out my book on Amazon, Beginner’s Guide to Half Marathons – Walk or Run to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks.

Coach Scott

12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan based on your current fitness level!