Smart Strategies To Run a Fast 5K

Warm up

Super simple yet overlooked. If you don’t warm up properly then you won’t run a fast time.

Your muscles, joints and your aerobic system need to be ready. A simple 20 minute warm up would be enough, this would look something like this;

  • 5-10 slow minute run
  • 4-5 lower body Dynamic stretches
  • 4-5 Running drills
  • A few fast strides


Do you think about your breathing when you run?

A lot of runner take small and shallow breaths into their chest when running and this adds to the of shortness of breath feeling.

Next time you run try and focus on taking deep breaths into the belly with a 2:2 ratio, 2 seconds in, 2 seconds out. Having a good posture will also help as leaning forwards too much or hunching over can effect the depth of your breath.

By doing this you are ensuring your body and muscle are getting sufficient oxygen and this will enable you to run faster.

Pacing Strategy

How often have you started a race, the adrenaline starts pumping and you end up running the first 1k too fast?

Or you want to pace yourself and go slow…. ending up leaving too much to do at the end?

Everybody is different but pacing comes from practice and good training leading upto a race. By race day you should know roughly what sort or time you can do, so you need to plan your 5k accordingly.

Say you want to run 25 mins, that’s 5 min/km pace the whole way through. In an ideal world you would run negative splits so start out just below 5 min/km pace and then finish the race with everything you have left.

Hydration and fuel

Not often thought about for a 5k race as its so short but you still need adequate levels of hydration and fuel to run fast.

1-2 hours before the run make sure you drink at least pint of water, this gives you enough time to digest it and go to the toilet of needed. Ideally have it with some electrolytes. A home made electrolyte drink you can have is water with a slice lemon squeezed in and a hint of salt.

In terms of food everybody is different. Some people can run on empty stomach first thing in the morning and that’s great if you are one of them.

If you are running in the morning I would recommend a small meal such as porridge 1-2 hours before or a snack such as a banana.

If running in the day time just be conscious not to eat anything too heavy like saturated fats or drink alcohol. Also make sure you don’t eat 1-2 hours before you run or you might need a trip to the toilet/bushes half way round.

Have FUN!

The end of the day, running should be fun. Unless you are competing for world championship medals, there’s no need to put pressure on yourself.

Set yourself achievable goals and have just focus on improving every day.

Find a supportive group or running group that will help push and encourage you every week.

If you are looking for one in the reading area, consider joining my run club , its a fun and supportive group that meet 1-2 times a week and go to event with each other.

Thanks for reading this article. If you are looking for more help on your 5k or running, consider looking at some of our fitness programs. these include:

  • 5k plans
  • gym plans
  • marathon plans
  • 1-1 online coaching

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