Runners Tips & Training

Ten Top Tips for 5k

Nothing matches that post-race runner's high. And if you're fully prepared you can guarantee you'll finish up with a big smile on your face.

We've put together 10 top tips for beginners and improvers to help you get the most out of your 5k, whether you're dressed as a cow or a pig.

1) Get round in one piece

It's tempting to start thinking about target times when you've entered your first race, but if you're very new to running then just make it your goal to finish. There'll be plenty of time in the future to worry about times, targets and personal bests.

But if you've raced before and have a target in mind or just want to pace yourself a bit better then consider creating and printing out a personalised pace band.

2) Be consistent

You don't need to train like an Olympian, but you do need to be committed and consistent. Get out regularly, train within your limits and you'll be a much happier pig or cow come race day.

3) Take it easy

Many new, and even some more-experienced, runners make the mistake of heading out and running as hard as they can for each session. It's good to train hard sometimes, but as a newcomer your biggest gains will come from just getting out there and running more. While staying injury free, of course.

Try and run at a comfortable “conversational pace”. If you would struggle to hold a conversation while running because you're breathing too hard then ease up. If this means taking the odd walk break then so be it. There is nothing wrong with incorporating walking into your training.

4) Take it easier

If you're completely new to running or don't have long to train and aren't feeling particularly fit then you might like to adopt a walk/run strategy for your race.

The key here is to practise this in training and make sure you know what you're capable of. It's far better to break your race up into sections of 5-minutes running/1-minute walking and keep a steady pace than it is to run for 15 minutes, exhaust yourself and end up almost crawling the rest of the way (although you could always argue you are impersonating your animal of choice).

5) Be social

Groups can make running so much easier. It's worth checking out GoodGym. They operate all over the UK and have a local group who meet on Monday evenings at 18.45 outside Highbury Pool (just round the corner from Freightliners Farm). They're very friendly and cater for all abilities so you won't be left behind. You also get to help out your local community. See for details.

6) Be prepared

Race day will go much more smoothly if you're completely prepared. We have an article full of race day tips including advice on what to do on the night and morning before the race and a handy checklist so you can be sure you forget nothing.

7) Do your homework

We've written a detailed article on getting started with running. There's loads of advice on items such as progressing, kit, clothing, hydration and setting goals.

8) Mix it up

While the majority of your running should be at an easier pace, once you're in the swing of things it's also a good idea to add a mix of paces and intensities to your training.

Check out our list of 14 different sessions you can include in your plan.

9) Don't get injured

Warming up, cooling down and stretching can all help you get the most out of your training and stay injury-free.

You might also like to include a little cross-training, such as swimming, cycling or gym work in your schedule. This is especially a good idea if you're starting to feel the effects of a little too much running such as sore shins or knees.

And remember to rest. It's when you're resting that adaptations take place and you'll absorb all the benefits of your training.

10) Enjoy it

Remember, it's just a sport and if the worst happens and it all goes wrong there'll be another day.

And if it really does start getting on top of you, remember that you're dressed up as a farmyard animal!

Thanks to Simon Loughran and for creating these tips.  Simon will be hosting a special CowvsPig warm up at the farm on Sun 19th March