Want to get quicker? Focus on the low hanging fruit.
The world of sport has become so complicated. Now there are so many different things that we are told to focus on and they all seem to be getting more complicated. It might seem hypocritical as a sports nutrition to discuss this as we are first and foremost selling something that will make you get better but today we are going to focus on the things you should probably look at first when pursuing a faster 5 km run. They don't require adding hours and hours of training, best of all they are free!
1.) Warm up - for longer than 30 seconds. Nobody enjoys warming up. It's not much fun it's a bit boring and without any structure you may not feel a real benefit. Even for a 5km run your warm up should be considerably longer than 30 seconds. You should be looking at running for about 10 minutes! This should be a low intensity run for about 80% of the time but enough to get that heart rate up, your muscles warm and your head in the game. Throw in a few sprints to really get the blood pumping. This warm up is not designed to leave you huffing and puffing but pumped up and ready to go on the start line. It leads us very nicely into point 2.
2.) Get MENTALLY comfortable running at high intensity. A 5km run is a tough race to pace right. Go out too hot and you'll burn out quickly but go out to slow and you don't have the distance to make up the time. Hopefully you followed point 1 and are REALLY warm as you set off. You should be getting up to race pace and holding that within the first 20-30 seconds now. By getting into this rhythm earlier you don't run the risk of going out too hard jacking your heart rate too quick and running out of gas. You should be hitting a challenging pace and holding on to it. This is a short distance race and that should be your mindset, get comfortable with how uncomfortable it is and you should see those times start too shrink.
3.) Get the right food in before hand. Running with a bad stomach sucks. It effects more people than you think and our advice around stomach issues and running is find out what works for you. The two most common causes of a bad stomach are poor choice of pre race fuel or inadequate hydration. Play around with what works for you, personally I avoid too much wheat and dairy before a run but that's just me. Be sure to have a decent amount to drink but don't gulp it down and then feel like you are running with a water balloon strapped to your stomach.
So before you head out and purchase your new carbon plate running shoes and compression boots, consider the low hanging fruits. You could implement these tips today and start seeing improvement immediately, running doesn't have to be too complicated.