Time for a fast 5K - The break-30:00 plan

Summer is 5K season! A favourite with new runners and experienced racers alike, a 3.1-mile race is a great way to focus your training and target a time goal. Use the following workouts and tips to nail your new PB.



STRETCH YOURSELF Add speedwork to hit your sub-30:00 goal

Setting out to break 30 minutes in a 5K is a challenging yet achievable target for relatively new runners, those returning from an injury layoff, or seasoned recreational runners. Sign up for a race five weeks out, and stick with a plan (see below). ‘Training consistently and doing speed workouts will help make you faster,’ says Rea. Goal pace and tempo runs will get you feeling comfortable with holding a speedier pace.

Practise fast pace

Run 4x1000m (two and a half times around a track) at slightly faster than race pace, with a two-minute jog between repeats. Don’t worry if you’re not close to a track though – this can be done on any flat and reasonably obstruction-free route. Measure the distance using a GPS watch, smartphone running app or online route planner. ‘If you can nail this workout, you’ll run close to that pace for a 5K,’ says Rea. Do it two weeks into training and again 10 days before race day.

Make time to tempo

A tempo run is a workout at a ‘comfortably hard’ intensity, where you can speak just a few words at a time. Warm up for 10 minutes, then take five minutes to work up to a 10-20-minute tempo at just slower than your 10K pace (if you’ve not got a race time to base your tempo pace on, aim for 8 on a 1-10 scale of effort), advises Thomas Morgan, an assistant track coach at the University of Kentucky, US. Add a couple minutes each week until you’re up to 30 minutes.

Keep moving

Rest fully on one day but spend one rest day cross-training, says Norman. Mix up cross- training days with the following workouts:

Power plyo Do 10-30 seconds each of star jumps, high-knee marches and skips, squat jumps (from a squat, explode upward), split squat jumps (from a lunge position explode upward and switch legs before landing), and single-leg hops.

Flex training Do 10-15 minutes of dynamic yoga: a knee hug, low lunge, downward dog and plank.

Active recovery A maximum of 60 minutes of low-impact cardio.

This five-week schedule by coach Andrew Kastor is for runners who currently log 20 to 30 miles a week


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