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How to Improve Your Running Time

Shave precious seconds off your running time and you just might win your next 5K.


  • : Always consult a physician before attempting to do any exercise or exercise plan.
  • Step 1: Get proper running shoes Acquire the proper running shoes. Go to a specialty store and get fit for a quality pair. Don’t wear your running shoes for anything but running.
  • Step 2: Practice interval training Practice interval training by running on a track at your race pace for two to three minutes followed by a 90-second rest. Aim for 90 strides in 30 seconds, alternating hills and sprints. Do intervals no more than twice a week, and rest the day after your interval.
  • TIP: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially before and after workouts.
  • Step 3: Increase long runs Increase the length of your long runs every two weeks to improve endurance and concentration. Long runs should be a slower per-mile pace than your race pace. Stretch, warm up, and cool down after workouts.
  • Step 4: Do strength training Do strength training to keep your body injury free. Increasing muscle tone in all areas of your body helps you on longer run days and gives you greater power.
  • Step 5: Add other workouts Add other types of workouts, such as biking or spinning, a few times a week. You’ll increase your fitness level and strengthen your leg muscles, which will translate to better run times.
  • TIP: Extra weight slows you down, so eat right and lose weight if you need to.
  • Step 6: Substitute time trials Substitute your interval workouts with one-mile time trials before your next race. You’ll get a better idea of your pace and give yourself time to tweak your workout.
  • Step 7: Drink a caffeinated beverage Drink a caffeinated beverage 30 to 60 minutes before a race. Studies show caffeine can improve performance.
  • FACT: At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens became the first American to win four gold medals in track and field.

You Will Need

  • Running shoes
  • Interval training
  • Strength training
  • Cross-training
  • Time trials
  • A caffeinated beverage

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