Spring is a popular time of the year for 5ks (and many other races), but not everyone has been training throughout the winter. There was a time when I was able to jump into a 5k race at any moment and come close to running a PR. That is no longer the case! Over the years my speed has declined (mostly due to inconsistent training because of injuries) and I don’t feel like I can keep up with the same level of training year round that I was once able to do.
For runners who are already comfortable running more than 3 miles, they may not need to “train’ for a 5k. Of course this depends on your goals and if you are using the race as a training run or as your goal race. Here are some workouts that you can include in the weeks leading up to a race to help you prepare for your next 5k.
5 Workouts To Help You Prepare For Your Next 5k
This workout will get your legs moving at your goal pace without completely wearing them out. I’ve used this workout a week before a 5k to help me remember what race pace feels like.
This workout has you running faster with each set, so you are practicing how to run a fast finish at the end of a short race. It’s a challenging workout but great for anyone like me who tends to slow down at the end of a 5k.
3. Hill Workouts
It’s been said that hills are speed work in disguise. They can be a great way to build strength without having the same impact on your body as running really fast. I’ve been using this Lazy Runner’s Short and Sweet Treadmill Hill Workout to get in some hill training on the treadmill. Running hills in training is especially important if you have hills in your race. Running up a hill at 5k pace can be extremely challenging!
4. Fartlek Runs
If you’re not sure of your 5k pace and just want to get in some faster runs to prepare for your race, fartleks are a great place to start. You can adjust the pace and just focus on running “hard” and “easy” versus trying to run a specific pace. You can try this 45 minute Fartlek Workout or this Time Based Pyramid Workout.
5. Tempo Runs
A tempo run should focus on maintaining a challenging pace that you can hold for a few miles. When preparing for a 5k, you can focus on shorter tempo runs and include breaks as necessary. For example, you cold run 3 x 1.5 miles at tempo pace with a half-mile recovery, and work up to longer intervals. Tempo runs should be done at a pace that is slower than your 5k pace. Depending on the intensity of your tempo run and where your fitness is, aim for about 30 seconds per mile slower than 5k pace.
Completing some specific workouts and adjusting your schedule may be all you need if you are just looking to challenge yourself by running a 5k. Remember that these are challenging workouts and you should already have a solid base and be able to run more than 3 miles comfortably before adding these into your routine. Also keep in mind that 1-2 hard workouts a week is enough to prepare you for a race, and it’s ideal to take at least 1 easy day or rest day between hard workouts.
You may also like: 5 Workouts for Speedy Spring Running
Do you follow a training plan for a 5k or adjust your workouts leading up to the race?
Which do you prefer: speed work, hills, or tempo runs?