Running & Fitness • 03.03.2017

Four Essential Tips for Your Next 5K

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The 5K is one of the most popular race distances because most runners can prepare for it in just a few weeks. This makes it a great opportunity for people to get their first taste of racing. However, despite its relatively short distance, beginners as well as more experienced runners should not underestimate this race. Because of its short length, it is possible to run at very high levels of intensity. If you are shooting for a new PB (personal best), the five kilometers can really push your body to the limits. Today we have four tips for you on how to improve your 5K performance.

Young man running a 5k.

1. Make high-intensity interval training part of your preparation
The five kilometers go by pretty fast, but this is also why you can run at a very fast pace. You will definitely be running above your anaerobic threshold. This means that the oxygen you take in is no longer sufficient to metabolize the increasing lactate, which leads to a buildup of lactate in your body. Depending on how long you continue to run, this buildup inevitably leads to a drop in performance and perhaps even to complete exhaustion. High-intensity interval training can help you train your lactate threshold. This allows you to run at high speeds for a longer period of time.

Young woman stretching before her run.

2. A good warm-up routine makes you run faster
There is no time to ease into a 5K race pace. Your body has to be ready to perform at high intensity right from the gun. That is why a proper warm-up before the race is crucial for your performance. Warming up should get you optimally prepared both mentally and physically for the upcoming race. You can find further information on how warming up can boost your performance and what your warm-up routine should look like on the Runtastic Blog.

The shorter and more intense the race, the longer and more focused your warm-up needs to be. Click To Tweet

3. Don’t start out too fast
Many inexperienced runners tend to start off too fast when running a 5K. Tactically, you should run your race so that you complete the second half of the race faster than the first (this is known as a negative split). Trying to run intervals at your desired race pace during your preparation can help you find the right pace to actually run on race day.

Two friends running outside.

4. Eat your last meal well before the start of the race
You should eat your last meal two to four hours before the start of the race. Good choices are low-volume foods high in carbs, low in fiber, combined with plenty of fluids. Right before the race, you can drink small amounts of appropriate sports drinks. What you want to avoid at all costs is starting the race on a full stomach.

With these 4 tips, you should have no problem getting mentally and physically prepared for your next 5K. Give them a try and set your new PB.

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Herwig Natmessnig

As a former professional athlete (white-water slalom), Herwig lives and breathes health and fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a physical challenge. And with his enthusiasm, the sports scientist feels right at home at Runtastic.
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