This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
Want to get in your best shape ever? Run a 5K. Tailoring your training to this short and snappy distance will not only supersize your strength, it’ll also maximise your endurance and set your metabolism skyrocketing. But only if you prep right. That’s precisely why we recruited Richie Norton (@thestrengthtemple) – PT, speed specialist and New Balance ambassador – to reveal the simple tips you need to run a sub-20-minute race.
Don’t go the distance
Top of the ‘avoid’ column on your 5K training roster: running too far each session. “A lot of people think the best way to training is to run the full distance – but this actually does more damage than good as you’re not training your muscles for speed,” says Richie. The solution? “Dedicate two sessions a week to 10 sets of 200m runs – start at normal jogging pace and get faster each time. That way you’ll prime your muscle-fibres to unleash their top speed.”
Pull your own weight
There’s no need to let a queue at the treadmills stand between you and your goals – working against your own bodyweight can be a much more effective way to shrink your 5K time, says Norton. Performing exercises such as explosive jump squats, jumping lunges and pistol squats increase your cardio fitness and significantly boost your muscle mass faster than treadmill work alone, found studies in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
Keep the numbers high
So you know the moves, but how many should you do? “Lots and then more,” says Richie. “Performing 10 to 15 reps of each exercise is great, but if you’ve got the time then doing 50 is even better.” 50 squats in a row sound scary? Just think about the benefits it’ll bring; training your muscles to contract repeatedly is perfect prep for the impact of high speed running. “Training your legs with high reps before a race follows the three golden rules of 5K training: repetition, repetition, repetition.”
Give yourself a one leg up
To further sculpt two powerful pins, take one at a time, says Richie. Unilateral exercises like the single leg burpee and single leg glute bridge will ramp up your explosive strength with the added benefit of increasing your hip mobility and reducing spinal compression, compared to their two-legged equivalents. This means that come race day both your legs will be in prime condition to speed you to a new PB.
Mind your mindset
“It’s simple: the stronger your mindset coming into a race, the more power you’ll produce,” says Richie. Why? “The biggest challenge of any race is always yourself; you can be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Simply having faith that you’ve prepared properly using single leg exercises, high rep bodyweight moves, and short distance sprints will give you the confidence to focus on your own form rather than any competitors.” How’s that for fitspiration?
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/ToughestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.