How to Cut Time in a 5K


Few thrills compare to that of running a personal best in a 5K race. The time spent training and hard workouts are rewarded with a huge accomplishment. Focusing your training on a target race time is a great way to stay motivated and improve your running fitness. Follow these training tips to take your running and 5K racing abilities to the next level.

Things You'll Need

  • Running shoes
  • Measured running track
  • Stopwatch


  • Run hill repeats once a week. They can improve leg strength and increase overall speed. Find a hill that takes you one minute to run up. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, then run four to six hill repeats on the hill you've selected. Run up the hill at a moderate to hard effort, and slowly jog down to recover. Cool down for 10 minutes.

  • Run intervals to boost leg turnover and increase your ability to run at race pace. On a measured track, start by warming up for 10 to 15 minutes. Then run six to eight 800 meter repeats, running each 800 at your anticipated race pace, using your stopwatch to time each repeat. Jog 400 meters between each repeat. Cool down with a 10-minute jog.

  • Incorporate tempo runs into your training program. Start your tempo workout by running at a comfortable pace. After 10 minutes, increase your running speed so that you're running at or slightly slower than your anticipated race pace. Maintain this pace for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish your workout by jogging for five to 10 minutes.

  • Research the run course before your race and mimic it in training. If the course has steep hills, grassy sections, or other elements which might slow you down during your race, practice running through these in the month leading up to the race.

  • Cross train to improve overall fitness and core strength. Strength train twice a week, focusing on your arms and the leg muscles utilized in running. Perform core workouts up to five times a week to build your core muscles, which help stabilize you while running.

Tips & Warnings

  • Build up to running your race pace slowly by increasing the speed of your efforts each week.
  • Work with a professional trainer when starting a strength training program to learn proper form.
  • If you experience abnormal aches or pains, consult your physician before continuing training.
  • Consult your physician before beginning a new fitness program.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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