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Training your way to your best 5k race


A 5km race is the perfect challenge for beginner runners or for those who want to get back into running, and prepare for bigger and better challenges down the road. If you do a quick search on the web, you’ll no doubt find several 5k events being held across the country which you can take part in. 

To help you get ready to smash your 5k, here are our top tips when it comes to training for your race.

Give yourself enough time to train

UK Run Events Inflatable 5k

While a 5k event is a fraction of the distance of a half marathon and full marathon, it’s doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier. A 5k is just as much of a workout as a marathon but in a different way. You’ll be working on your speed as well as endurance for this distance. Make sure you provide yourself with enough time to train to get ready for the event. If you’re a complete beginner, we suggest giving yourself 6 weeks to prepare. Ultimately, what you put in is what you get out, so take time to consider what you want to get out of by doing this race, and how much time will be required to get you there, ready for the event.

Don’t just stick with running 5k – include other distances to work your aerobic capacity

While running the same distance you’ll be running on race day is a good to practice and get your body used to so you know which pace to run at. If you want to improve your running time, you should set up a fixed weekly training routine which includes running different distances at different speeds. Fast running will help you to build muscular strength, increase your efficiency and improve your running mechanics whilst longer runs will help to build your cardiovascular endurance and stamina. A good plan usually covers a mixture of different tempos, intervals, and distances to work on both the speed and endurance aspect which is crucial in a 5k.

Add some weight training in

Woman deadlifting

If you're targeting for a specific time to achieve, then it's worth including strength training into your training. Studies have shown that strength training can help to improve your running performance, and also reduce risk of injury. Focus on performing lower body compound movements like the squat and lunges with added weight or resistance to power up your legs. 

Make sure to rest

Giving your body adequate rest is just as important as doing your training. When you exert your body to physical stress, your muscle fibres tear, and rest is what allows you to grow and get stronger. Over-training can lead to injury and exhaustion which will affect your performance in your next training sessions and potential make you prone to injury further down the line. Between each running day, include a rest day or lower the intensity of your physical activity to allow your body to recover.

Hone your pre-run ritual

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Do whatever it is that you need to get and feel ready before you run on race day into your training. Often athletes have certain rituals they like to follow before a big game, or event. You may want to consider this, and include it if you think it will help you mentally prepare or boost your confidence when it comes to day of the event.

It can be anything from saying a  positive manta in your head like "I can do this", working up a particular warm up routine, visualisating yourself running well on the day - anything that will make you feel prepared and focused on your run. Adding small habits like this in your training leading up to your 5k can help to manage the nerves on the day which will ultimately allow you to feel prepared and comfortable so you can nail the event.

Enjoy the race but don’t forget to also enjoy your training up to it too! Good luck!

For more training tips, check out our Fitness section.

Take part in the Inflatable 5k

If you're looking for a fun 5k event to enjoy with your friends, UK Run Events are holding Inflatable 5K across the country over the next few months. Click here to check out when and where these are being held.


In partnership with UK Run Events

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