H&Frunning coach Sam Murphy answers your training questions

How can I get faster over 5K?

The first step is to getcomfortable over thedistance. Work up to the pointwhere running ‘overdistance’ (say,7-8km) doesn’t faze you at all. Thishelps to broaden your aerobic base(stamina) and you can then buildspeed and strength.Then do a 5K race or parkrun toestablish where you are now andwork out what your current pace is(in minutes per km/mile) and whatwould be a realistic goal time andpace to aim for. Try to shave off10-60 seconds (the faster youare, the smaller the probableimprovement) in a training blockof 6-10 weeks.Schedule a weekly interval sessionin which you run multiple repetitionsat your goal 5K pace, separatedby a slow recovery jog. Findsomewhere flat and even to runthese – such as a playing field,towpath, park or athletics track.The total reps should add up toabout 5,000m each session, butthe recovery period (around 60-120 seconds – shorter breaks forshorter distances) will make it feel manageable and get you used torunning at goal pace.Plan to do one of these sessionsevery 7-12 days. A goodprogression over the weeks wouldbe 12 x 400m, 8 x 600m, 6 x 800m,5 x 1,000m, 4 x 1,200m, 3 x1,600m. Don’t be tempted to runthe shorter reps at faster than goalpace.


If you train three or fewer daysper week, keep your other two runsnice and easy, but ensure that oneof them is overdistance.If you run more frequently thanthat, you could also include asecond weekly or fortnightlyrace-specific session – I’d suggestalternating hill reps (such as 10 x 30seconds) with a tempo run (20minutes at a ‘comfortably hard’pace that’s slower than your goal5km pace) to develop strength andspeed endurance, respectively.Warm up properly before allsessions with at least a couple ofkilometres of easy running and somedrills or strides, and cool down witha kilometre jog after. On race day, athorough warm-up is even morecrucial so you’re up to speed fromthe start. Finish off your warm-upwith a short run (three minutes) atgoal pace so you’re raring to go.


10KSaturday November 18Head to the Lake District for theannual Kendal Mountain, whichincludes this undulating 10Kevent. Expect grassy trails,hardy climbs and a few muddysections. Advance tickets cost£15;


From £38; up on high-vis kitfor autumn and winter. Theprint on this SS Top (£38)has glass beads for extrareflectivity and you’ll beseen from every angle.


arcteryx.comNeed a grippy shoe formuddy trails? This newtrainer boasts 3.5mm lugsand a durable Vibram soleto help you stick to wetsurfaces and avoidslip-ups. An inner linerhelps keep out debris.

SHOCK ABSORBERULTIMATE FLY BRA£45; good-looking,super-light bra is agreat choice for high-impact activities. It hasCross Control aroundthe chest for less bounce.

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