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5k race running training guide

How Far Do You Need to Run When Training For A 5K?

Ever wonder how far you need to run before race day when training for a 5K / Half/ Full Marathon? Here are 4 exercises you should incorporate in your race training.

Proper 5K training includes 4 distinct aspects of running fitness: speed, race-specific fitness, strength training and endurance. Runners need to find the right balance between all 4, as emphasising on any aspect can lead to suboptimal results. For instance, if you only focus on endurance, you might lack the speed to push through your personal best. If you ignore strength training, you might find yourself sustaining an injury.

5K runners should progressively increase their running distance, with the goal of running farther than target distance during training. Understandably, this sounds quite daunting. But, with proper guidance and training using Auro’s 5K race plan, it needn’t be.

Here are the 4 things you should focus on when training for your 5K. These principles hold true also when you’re running longer distances such as 13.1 miles (Half Marathon) or 26.2 miles (Marathon).

#1 Speed Training Drills:

Firstly, there are strides, which is where you up your pace considerably for around 100m. You start at an easy jog, to about 95% of your max speed and then slow to a complete stop. A stride should take about 20-30 seconds. Strides are effective when done 2-3 days/week after an easy run.

Hill sprints is another drill that is typically used by more advanced runners, i.e. 8-12 seconds of running at maximum effort up a steep hill with a full walking recovery in between. Hill sprints help you build injury resistance, improve your neuromuscular control and develop the ability to run at top speed.

#2 Endurance Training:

Here you should focus on consistency and progression. These are some guidelines on how far you should run in your training.

Start with 3 runs/week and 1 additional long run to help build endurance. The 3 runs will vary depending on your level: 1.5 miles for a beginner runner, and 3 miles each for more intermediate or advanced runners. The long runs should be around 5 miles. Advanced runners might also want to incorporate some speed training here.

Additionally, a great way to significantly improve your endurance is to add 20% to your weekly mileage. Some extra miles on your weekly schedule might not seem very difficult, and you should see a noticeable impact on your endurance over time.

#3 Strength training:

Strength training is a vital aspect of running performance and is often overlooked. A  lot of runners particularly beginners will sustain injuries due to a lack of strength. It is always recommended to complete at least 1 strength session per week that focusses on your lower body, legs & core like these 5 effective glute exercises. This will increase the strength and resilience of your legs for long runs, and add some diversity to your training plan.

#4 Race specific training:

If your 5K target time is 25 minutes (8.33 minutes/mile), then you need to train yourself to be able to hold that pace over 3.1 miles. A recommended run for this would be to complete intervals of 800m where you are running at your 5K target pace, with a 400m recovery.

Depending on your ability and fitness level, you can modify the number of repetitions, total distance, and recovery running to make this easier or harder. You will see these runs as part of our race plans on the app.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or completing your 100th 5Ks — these universal principles are useful in training for a 5K and setting new personal bests.

Start your free fitness assessment and check out our race training plans across different distances today.


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