Want to shave a few seconds or even minutes off your 5K time? Since the distance is already so short compared to a marathon or even a 10K, even shaving 30 seconds off your time can be a feat. But it turns out you can do it in just four weeks and without slogging away for miles and miles, according to a new study out this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In fact, all it takes is a few sprints a few times a week, researchers say.
Study subjects ran a 5K on a track to establish their baseline speed. Then, they performed a sprint interval workout three times a week. Their workout? 3-8 sprints at max intensity (by the 12th session, they were doing 8 sprints each time.) After four weeks, they returned to the track for a follow-up 5K run. The results: They improved their times by 4.5 percent. If your current PR is 30 minutes, that would be almost one and a half minutes off your time bringing you down to a 28.5-minute 5K. 22 minute 5K’ers would theoretically be able to run almost a whole minute faster (keep in mind that’s it’s a lot harder to shave off time the faster your time is to begin with.)
Steal the workout from the study or add some of these 5 track workouts for speed, power, and endurance to your weekly routine.