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  • How to train for a fast 5k

How to train for a fast 5k

This guide is brought to you in collaboration with SAYSKY athlete Paul Navesey, who's on the British national team and a very fast runner on all distances from the 5k to the full marathon. Paul is also a personal trainer and running coach, so who better to ask about how to gun for a faster 5k time.

Interview with Paul Navesey

What should people be aware of when training for a 5k?

A 5k is a brilliant distance for all runners to focus on, whether new to running or an athlete looking to test themselves. New runners can use it as a distance target to aim for, then be able to measure their progress.

For athletes looking to improve times, I think it is important to train at or very close to target race pace to prepare physically and also mentally for racing at that pace. 

What is your best advice for a fast 5k?

Know your target pace, train at or close to it and know what you are capable of when you get to the race. Commit to that pace early, have confidence and enjoy it!

If you are able to research suitably fast races that you will have plenty of company, checking previous results can give a good indication.

What is your personal experience with running the shorter distances? Does this “event” take more time to train for?

Although I have a love for marathon running, I find the shorter races very exciting & spend the summer competing at them. 

Much like any distance, consistent specific training yields the best results. However, with the event being shorter and requiring less recovery means there is more opportunity to race. Use that and don’t necessarily put everything into once specific event. Race more regularly than you would longer events, gain experience and you’ll be rewarded! 

Should people consider more speed work when training for a 5k?

Not necessarily more, but current sessions should be adapted to focus on the 5k distance. The best way to improve at a specific distance is to consistently train at relevant paces. So a good focus on training sessions targeted at improving speed appropriate to 5k race will help. 

Recovery is as important to allow those hard training sessions to be effective. Ensure adequate recovery between sessions and prior to an after races. This will allow training to be consistent over a period of time. 

At the race, what should people be aware of? Any do’s & dont’s?

The benefit of a shorter race is that you are able to race and recover more frequently than longer distances. So, do race and gain the experience of that. For the big targets do the appropriate research to ensure you are at a race that will allow your best performance!

Do not get forget the training and get carried away. Be confident, stick to the pace you know you are capable of and enjoy running the race well… and a celebratory pastry for that PB!

Speaking of PB's, these are Paul's stats:

  • 5000m: 14:07
  • 10k: 29:33
  • Half Marathon: 64:56
  • Marathon: 2:23

Keep up with Paul here: Instagram and Strava

SAYSKY Athlete Paul Navesey