A 5 km run is one of the most popular distances for running races, as it is relatively short, which makes it very accessible for those who do not run regularly. With that said, there are a few things you should know before setting out on the course.
Whether you want to run your first 5K or get faster in the 5K distance, we’ve got everything you need to run harder than ever. A 5K goes 3.1 miles in distance and is generally considered a good goal for beginners, as well as a quick, brisk run for more advanced runners.
Here’s everything you need to know about running a 5K.
How long will it take to run a 5K?
The average 5K arrival time is 39 minutes, according to a runrepeat and IAAF study. For men the average is faster at 35 minutes and for women the average is slower at 41 minutes. The 5K world record is 12: 35.36 for men, set by Joshua Cheptegei, and 14: 06.62 for women, set by Letesenbet Gidey.
How to find the best 5K workout plan for you
Whether you are just trying to get around the course or have a time goal in mind, the best way to reach your goal is to follow a training plan. There are a number of free training plans on the market, but if you have a newer Garmin running watch, you will be able to download a number of training plans directly to your watch from the Garmin Connect app.
Some of the others best running apps in the market also have training plans that you can download directly to your phone. Applications like Strava, the Nike Run Club app, and Map my Run (for subscribing users) all have training plans that you can follow from the app. There are also a number of extremely popular Couch-to-5K apps out there, which will get you out of the way at all to bypass your first 5K in as little as nine weeks.
The right training plan for you will depend on both your current running level and your goal. If you are a complete beginner, going for a 5K plan under 20 minutes can be a bit difficult, but for more experienced runners the Couch to 5K training plan can be a bit basic. Most training plans will gradually increase your mileage each week as race day approaches and last for about six to nine weeks. A good training plan will give you a mix of faster runs to build your speed and longer runs to build your strength.
What to wear to run a 5K
If you’re running your first 5K, getting the right gear for race day can make all the difference. Of course, there are endless gadgets and gadgets you can buy, but in our eyes the essentials are a watch, a pair of running shoes, and a sports bra for female runners.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have need a running watch, but using one for your training can help you track your progress and more accurately record your pace, distance, and split times while running. We believe the best running watch for beginner runners is the Garmin Forerunner 55, which has a bright screen that is easy to see while running, built-in GPS and the ability to download coaching plans to the watch. If it’s out of your price range, or if you’re looking for something a little more high-tech, browse the best racing watches here.
In terms of running shoes, the best running shoes on the market right now in our opinion are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. These are brilliant beginner running shoes, but will also be suitable for faster runners. It’s a fantastic all-rounder, it’s well built and durable. If they are not for you, we have gathered all of them best running shoes in the market here.
If you’re a runner, another must-have before going out is a good sports bra. The best high impact sports bra for running is the Lululemon Enlite Bra. The support it offers is second to none and it comes in a range of cup sizes – from an A to an E. We would go for the traditional version rather than the front closure as we found that the front zipper caused irritation while sweating. workouts. If you’re looking for something more affordable, the Brooks Dare Crossback is also on our list of best sports bras.
How to run a 5K faster
If you are looking to accelerate a distance of 5 km, you will need to add speed training and strength training sessions to your routine. While running more miles will help you build endurance, it’s the speed work that will really help you go faster. For more information on how to add speedwork to your weekly running schedule, check out our how to run faster to guide. That said, if you’re following a workout plan, chances are you’ll have at least one speed session per week to help you improve.
Strength training is also an important part of running faster. If the goal is to go faster, focus on training a sprinter with plyometric movements, like jump squats or box jumps, that work on the explosive power of your muscles.
You also might not go faster because you’re constantly taking time out with a recurring injury. If so, it is worth working with a trainer to fix the problem and then following a careful training plan to make sure you don’t overload the body and overdo it, too soon.
What should you eat before running a 5K?
Unlike a half marathon or a marathon, you won’t need to top up on carbohydrates before a 5k. That said, proper nutrition before the race is important and will keep you from having stomach issues on the course. Experts recommend that you get well hydrated at the start line, but that means making sure you are hydrated in the days leading up to the race, rather than taking water on the morning of the race.
Chances are, you have enough energy in your muscles to eat nothing on the morning of the race, but if you prefer to eat, go for something light an hour or two before your 5K starts. Keep the meal low in fiber and fat as they can take a while to digest, and opt for something like porridge or peanut butter and toast. Make sure to experiment with what works best for you and your body before race day – the golden rule is nothing new!
On the course, you won’t have to worry about gels or candies to move around the course. Also be careful not to take too much water on the course. If you are well hydrated before the race, you shouldn’t need to take too much fluid during the race. As a general rule, drink water until thirsty; don’t stop at every drink station because other runners do.
If running a 5K interests you for running longer distances, be sure to check out our guides on how to train for a half marathon and how to train for a marathon.