Five Essential Sessions to Improve Your 5km

With Park Run becoming such a huge phenomena and 5km being easily attainable for almost anyone new to running, there are loads of people toiling away at improving their ability over this distance. It’s often where a running journey begins, before building towards more lofty goals like tackling a marathon. Below are 5 of our favourite workouts that are specifically geared towards improving the elements of your fitness that will in turn make you faster over five kilometres. As with any session, make sure you do a good warm up and cool down afterwards. It’s also a good idea to only include one or two of these workouts into your weekly routine, with some easy runs in between.

5 x 2mins

Including the recovery jogs, this session might only be 15 minutes in duration, but it’s a tough one. The intervals are 2 minutes long and should be run at your 5km race pace or slightly faster. The recovery is a 60 second jog. Make sure you run the reps evenly and don’t go out too fast. Also, as you get fitter, the recovery jog should get quicker. Finish the session with 60 seconds of jogging.


Tempo running is a staple of training. Determining your pace is a tough one for people new to the sport. As a guide, if it was a maximum effort you should be able to maintain the rate for 45 minutes. So this session is basically 2 x 10 minutes of tempo running with a 5 minute jog recovery in between. You should finish the session feeling like you had plenty more in the tank.

10 x 60sec

Speed and power development will make running at slower paces feel so much easier. The goal of this session is to not only increase your speed, but also get you use to lactic acid accumulation. The recovery between the reps is 60 seconds of standing or slow walking. Aim to run all the intervals at the same pace and finish strongly, maintaining good technique throughout.

5 x 1km

Consider this to be race practice. The intervals should be at your goal 5km pace, with a recovery of 2 minutes standing or walking. Focus on running relaxed and getting a feel for the rhythm of what your goal pace is like. It’s not unusual to initially find it to be a bit daunting. Often it does feel quite fast and you can start to think “How am I going to do this for 5km straight!?” But with a few months training and also the lift you get from doing a race, you’ll soon become accustomed to the sensation.

Small Pyramid

This session consists of a progressive build and then decrease in interval length. The theory behind it is that you run longer reps in the middle of the session at approximately your goal 5km pace. However at the start and end of the workout you’re running a little bit quicker. The intervals are 1min/2min/3min/4/3/2/1 with a 60 second jog between each rep.