Fast 5km Tips with Michael "Chappo" Chapman
"Whether you are dusting off the cobwebs for the first 5km time trial back running or aiming for a personal best, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you are running your fastest.
Firstly, the steps you take in the lead up to a fast 5km will always outshine just putting 100% of effort into the run on the day. We’ve all been there where we bargain with ourselves saying “it’s only 5km in the pain cave, I’ll be sweet” and then want to line up again because we are capable of more. There is no substitute for good quality training in the lead up to a fast run. Here are two solid tips that will always prepare you well for a fast 5k.
- Consistency- understanding what sessions you want to complete in the week and make the effort to adhere to those when you have a 5km in mind down the track. Effort in these sessions will result in better efficiency on the day.
- Progressive overload- These are the necessary building blocks that allow our body to adapt to the new challenges we place them under. When you’ve found your consistency in your week, it’s time to slowly build every few weeks by modifying pace, distance, or intensity. This will slowly make goals more achievable, but they can’t be done overnight.
- Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)- understanding the line between feeling comfortable and uncomfortable. A good runner will sit on this line and then know the right time to push the pace. In a 5km you have the ability to push that line of uncomfortable knowing the finish line isn’t too far from reach. Make sure you’re not red lining in the first KM though otherwise you’re going to be in for a painful next 4. You see this nearly every race with a few runners. No one remembers how fast you did your first 1k unless it is only a 1k race!
- Running efficiency- wasting as little as possible of your resources (ventilation rate, heart rate, effort, energy) whilst still running quick. Watching the effortlessness of professional runners during a race is years of narrowing down their running efficiency. Taking a leaf from this book to understand how you’re feeling mid run will always be beneficial and give you more knowledge leading into the next race. Run tall, run light, and let your arms drive your cadence.
Running fast is all relative to where you are currently with your fitness. The more tools you have to compare YOUR fast running with what YOU’RE capable of, the better off you’ll be. This way you can understand the internal drive to run fast and enjoy the process rather than just comparing yourself to other's 5km times. You’ll always find someone faster than you. You’ll always find someone slower. Focus on your own process.
Hopefully those 4 tips help for the next time you are targeting a fast 5k. Remember consistency and progressive overload in training and rate of perceived exertion and running efficiency in the run itself!"
You can follow Chappo on Instagram here and learn more on his website here.