Tips To Running A 5K Faster | How to Use Leverage and PR

Tips To Running A 5KAre you seeking tips to running a 5k faster? If so, welcome to rundreamachieve.

I want to cover a few tips to running a 5K faster. My hope is that you can take a few ideas from it to get you to your next race motivated.

If you don’t set the bar high you’ll never truly challenge yourself.

I had a personal best of 15.46 for 5K that I ran during my senior year in high school upon arriving to Malone University in 1995. I would eventually run 14:18 for the distance on the roads as a professional.

That being said, I don’t consider myself to be an outlier.


Are there things, looking back, that I could have done differently?

Of course. That being said, I haven’t let up since and that is key. You have to keep hustling for what you want.

My 15.19 collegiate 5000m time did not equate to a 2.19.35 marathon I would later run. Also, the 1.07.06 half-marathon I ran later in my career.

In fact, according to the Mcmillan running chart, a 15.19 5K time is equivalent to a 1.10.55 half-marathon. Also, a 2.29.15 marathon, respectfully.

Have you ever noticed how strong Japanese runners are at the marathon? That being said, their 5K and 10K bests are not world-class. So, some runners are just better suited for longer or shorter distances, respectfully.

Delayed Gratification

One of the most common mistakes is most people quit too early. So, they never realizing their full potential.

Let’s face it.

This sport isn’t easy.

You have to have an enormous interest to succeed and you have to be willing to endure.

You have to find a purpose for what you are doing.

How many days have you asked yourself. Why am I doing this or how after all these years why am I still getting up before the sun comes up?

You have to maintain your enthusiasm and that isn’t easy to do over years and decades as I am sure you know.

Always remember if you are slower in one event than continue to work and test your body in other distances.

It doesn’t mean you can’t still improve at the shorter distances but you do have to be tenacious and not lose in your joy for what you are doing.

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Find a Fast Course

I have never bought the ‘fast course’ idea.

What makes a course fast is if you have done your homework in training to race fast.

For example, I ran one of my worst marathons on one of the fastest courses in the United States. That being said, my personal best came on a course that has rolling hills.

Racing is about maintaining pace, not on just racing on a fast course. Of course, you may be the type of runner who prefers rolling courses. So, seek out a course that works best for you.

Perhaps you are more of a downhill runner and want to test out your ability on a net downhill course.

I have known runners over the years who were fantastic hill runners. Also, that ran times that I couldn’t run on a flat course over hilly terrain.

Seek out a Mentor

Find out what runners faster than you have done in their own training to run a faster 5K.

This is among the best tips to running a 5K faster that I can share.

I have been running for over 30 years and still seek out mentors who have run faster than I.

I read everything I can on racing strategies, nutrition, mindset.

Remember, never stop learning.

Your competition is seeking what you might not have taken the time to learn.

Change up your training strategy.

Be Coachable

long distance runningPart of growing in this sport as a person and athlete is seeking out help.

Of course, none of us have all of the answers.

It is so important to not be selfish. Also, to seek to elevate someone else who may need the knowledge that you can share with them.

Train Hard

Remember, the more you adapt yourself to paces that exceed what you envision yourself racing at, the more in control you will race.

Wait, I thought this was about how to train for running a 5K?

Keep in mind, being impatient will sap the mental and physical strength out of you.

We are far too hard on ourselves. Also, I continually see athletes who fail at one workout or race feel as though it is the end of the world.

It is crucial that you keep it simple.

Training adaptation takes time and races results don’t come overnight.

Your goal may be just to have a good time with friends or finish the race.

We all can learn something from you.

If you are interested in these tips on running a 5K then you will not take yourself too seriously.

Focus on What You Can Control Yourself

I had  the opportunity to train with some of the world’s fastest middle to long distance runners. That being said, one of the greatest characteristics I see out of a lot of them is they keep it fun.

They find other things in life that brings them joy. Once the workout is done, it is done.

So, they don’t beat themselves up if it didn’t go so hot.

They simply allow themselves time to relax, regroup and do it again the next day.

Always remember a bad workout or race isn’t the end of the world.

Learn from it and keep pushing. Never take your eyes off the process.

You do that and you will reach the event (your goal) successfully.

Attack with 2.1 Miles to Go

This was one of the greatest tips to running a 5K faster that I ever received.

I never broke 16 minutes for 5K in a high school cross-country race.

I started running cross-country during my junior year in high school.

My best time was 16.16.

What was I doing wrong?

What I was doing wrong back then was running way too fast in the first mile. In addition, not having done the anaerobic work to maintain that effort long enough.

I was the first student in Indian Creek High School’s history to qualify for the Ohio Division I High School State Cross-Country Championships.

What actually happened is I went out the first mile in 4.49 and was running 3rd place. I ended up running 16.59 to finish in 31st place.

Two weeks later I ran a 15.46 on the roads while still in high school. The reason?

I had a coach who told me to hold back the first mile and then attack the last 2.1 miles and I did.

My first mile was 5.07. Always remember, you can’t win a 5K in the first mile. A patient athlete is a dangerous athlete.

Stay Relaxed

Remember, you are always in control of your physiology when you race.

So, if you feel your arms or shoulders riding high the first mile consciously tell yourself to relax.

Remember, you don’t need to overly critique yourself when racing. So, keep your face relaxed and monitor tension in your body.

Say something humorous to yourself if need be.

Keep attacking the pace but stay in control.

Running Farther than the Race Distance 

How strong you will be if you want to race a 5K and 15 mile long runs?

What is a 3.1 mile race then?

Long runs build up capillary beds and mitochondria assisting your body’s oxygen delivery to your working muscles.

The longer you run the more you teach the body to burn fat as it’s main fuel source. In addition, conserve carbohydrate. This is a vital training secret that will make you like iron over time as an athlete.

Closing Thoughts

Learning to use fat stores and conserving carbohydrates will ensure you slow down less in the race.

Optimally, the magic number seems to be 80 minutes or more in elite circles but immense strength can be gained from even doubling the distance you are aiming to race.

Don’t rush the process.

If the farthest you have went in training is 8 miles, don’t try going out for a 22 miler the following week. Be patient and follow your plan.

Take it one step at a time and before you know it you will be doing 10-20 mile long runs that will yield incredible strength back to you come race day.

Make sure to visit and subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos there each week to help runners like yourself get better results. I hope this post on tips to running a 5k has been helpful to you.


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