Okay, so you run for fitness and fun. You enjoy Jogging because it enables you to run along with others, unlike your normal practice which you do in solitary splendor. And you can measure you performance against that of your peers. The last is important. You should not expect to be able to keep up the professional runners or college athletes who will lead the race. As an amateur runner, it would be foolish to expect to be able to match their performance. Finishing the race on par with others of your sex, age, level of fitness and motivations is good enough. That means you are doing okay. But everyone would like to do better. And you can, without spending money on training, half a day doing roadwork or changing your lifestyle. There are a few simple tricks that you can fit into your training routine that will not perform miracles and keep you up with the pros, but at least keep you among the first of your equals.
· Don’t push to increase your 5K Running speed, but rather increase your distance. Keep to the pace you are comfortable with but gradually work the distance up to 6k. If you are wanting to feel better at the end of your race, then you need to work up to these distances and work outs at least 3 times per week.
· Pick you your speed for short bursts. Try for a 10% increase in your pace over a few hundred meters at some point in your training. Once you are comfortable, do this 3 or 4 times. Once again, do not try to increase you pace for the full 5k. The idea is to enable you to have the speed to overtake with ease when you need to.
· Try and include and incline or slope in your run. Sometimes running uphill can be great for your stamina. If you do this for only 1K out of the 5 you should be better as long as its no more than 1K.
· Practice increasing your 5K Running stride for the last 200 meters of your practice and slowly increase this distance to about 0.5k. Once again, increase your stride and not your pace. The idea here is to cover more distance with each stride, not to increase the number of strides. This will enable you to maximize your performance as you approach the finish line.
You may wonder at the repeated warning about not trying to run faster. That's because since you are not a professional runner, it is taken for granted that you are running at a pace that you are comfortable with and which is appropriate for your age and sex. Pushing yourself to run faster can affect your long term health and take the fun out of running. Following these tips will not put too much additional strain on your body or increase the amount and type to training you do (remember, running is fun, not a chore or an end in itself). They will however, improve your performance as a runner and enable you to run 5k races with more confidence, stamina and do better without straining yourself.
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