How to Run Your Best 5k

I’m on a mission to chip away at my 5k time this summer, and I’m excited that I’ve already knocked off 45 seconds in the last 6 weeks!

If you’re working on speed too, here are a few tips:

5k Specific Workouts

I love these 5 Interval Workouts for a Faster 5k

Elite runner Tina shared an additional 5 workouts specific to the 5k distance


Everyone wants to know how to pace a 5k and honestly, it’s hard! I think you just go out hard and hold on as long as possible.  It does take some practice to get to know your body and what pace is doable to hold onto vs. the pace that is going to cause you to crash and burn before you hit mile 2!

It’s very common for miles 1 and 3 to be the strongest.  We typically start out strong and mentally lose a little hope in mile two and start to hurt.  By mile 3, you should be able to will yourself to keep those legs turning and try to kick out a short sprint in the final half mile or so!


Include a mini-taper

If you’re hitting the track every Thursday and your race is Saturday morning, cut back the repeats to less than half of your typical volume or switch to an easy run with a few 30 second strides so your legs are fresh on race day.


Keep Trying

One race is never a great reflection of your fitness.  We all have off days.  And in the summer, you may deal with especially humid days which force your body to work harder than usual.  Schedule several 5ks to give yourself the opportunity to have an excellent run at one of them!

How to train for a 5k?

Do you do 5k specific workouts?

27 thoughts on “How to Run Your Best 5k

  1. Sometimes I think 5ks are harder then a marathon!! The workouts are grueling and it’s a very painful 19-25 minutes 🙂 I love that you’re working on this and sharing workouts as I will have a few of them over the summer. Yikes!
    Allie recently posted..I Have Michael Jackson’s DiseaseMy Profile

  2. Adding track workouts help me get faster and help me pace. Pacing though is the biggest factor. I see so many people go out at unrealistic paces and then pay for it halfway through.
    Michelle recently posted..The Push Up ProjectMy Profile

  3. Its funny because I actually shared a 5k workout on my blog today that I did yesterday, but generally I don’t really train for 5ks…usually I just run them as a speed workout while Im training for something else. I like that there are a lot of 5ks over the summer and there isn’t too much recovery time involved, so you can run them more often than longer distance races. Thanks for sharing those links- I will need to try out some different workouts before my next 5k!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted..5k Tune-Up WorkoutMy Profile

  4. I agree with all of what you say here, especially the part about running several to gauge where you are–courses vary, temperatures vary, life varies! And it’s so true that mile two can be the hardest in a 5k. I really need to get a couple in this summer!
    misszippy recently posted..Summer vegetable tartMy Profile

  5. I just signed up for my first 5k in a long time and my first one since a major ankle injury (out of running for over 8 weeks). I am super excited to get back to them, 5k’s are my favorite race distance. I’m realizing that the pace I was going at before my injury is just not the pace I can do right now. I am all sorts of sore from adding running back in, it’s so crazy how quickly the body loses and bounces back when we have to take breaks for whatever reason. I am really looking forward to giving some of those 5k workouts a try. I know to get back to my pace may be a little unreaslistic but hopefully I can get close. 🙂
    Rosi recently posted..And the Fun Gets Funner!My Profile

  6. Love this post! I really want to get faster in the 5K and I think it will help with strength for the marathon. I soo agree that mile 2 is the hardest – you feel like you are in no man’s land and will the race ever end?
    Looking forward to seeing you get faster at this distance!
    Natalie recently posted..Where I am right nowMy Profile

  7. I haven’t run a marathon, so maybe that’s the hardest, but the 5k is the hardest of the distances I’ve run! (half marathon, 10k, 5 mile, 2 mile). To go out that hard and hold it hurts sooooo badly. Of course I could just not push it as hard, but then what’s the point of racing? I do think a 5k is a great way to gauge fitness!
    jan recently posted..Running Buddies & American SniperMy Profile

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