At the start of the year I put out to the world that I wanted to – “Improve my 5km time – I’m currently sitting at around 31 minutes and I’d like to finish the year at around 28/27 minutes…”. It felt like nothing was improving. I was stuck in a funk of struggling to even get close to 30 minutes for 5km. At the same time, I was becoming increasingly disheartened by running.

So, what’s happened since then?

Fast forward to September and I’ve not only reached my goal, but I’ve also bypassed my goal. My time has come down to 25.36. Which was set the last time I ran a speed-focused 5km. Running this time sort of time again felt like a pipe dream back in January 2020. I’m not back at my PB pace yet (24.58), but I’m finally at a point where it’s actually feeling like a real possibility.

All being well Park Run will return to the UK in October 2020 and I’d love to end the year on a high.

What did I change?

  • I’ve made time to completely mix up my training and this now includes regular Plyometric Training. Which has made a real difference. I also completed the Natacha Oceane “Cut” Guide which I thoroughly recommend too.
  • I’m now lifting weights 3 times a week, with a training split of Lower body – Upper Body – Whole Body. Or, if I feel the need to shake things up, I’ll create a circuit training session or try a CrossFit style workout.
  • I’ve completely overhauled my Nutrition. For many years I didn’t want to face up to the cruel reality that my fuelling strategy wasn’t providing the best levels of energy. Whilst this is a vastly complex topic. I strongly feel that eating enough calories and the right split of macronutrients for your body is really important.
  • Finally, interval training is now a weekly part of my routine. I started off with just two miles of run/walk intervals and I’ve since built up to 3 or 4 miles once a week. Last week I set an “Interval Training” 5km time of 27.15. This gives me huge confidence in the fact I’m becoming stronger at short bursts of faster running.
  • This should go without saying, but a previous downfall of mine was not stretching or caring enough for my body post-run. I’m now making time to stretch and foam roll after each workout, recovery shouldn’t ever be overlooked.

You cannot HATE your body into becoming fitter, faster, and stronger. It’s a long, slow journey of love and understanding…

Sources I’ve found helpful…

During lockdown I’ve used my spare time to learn more about fitness, training and nutrition and whilst the internet is full of contradicting information. I think it’s interesting to listen to different people’s opinions, test some ideas for yourself and see how you get along.

Podcasts

Chloe Madeley – The Bodcast

She’s a bit like Marmite for some people but I personally think that Chloe is fantastic. She’s straight-talking, educated and clearly cares about the information she puts out online. Her Podcast with Dame Kelly Holmes is very interesting listening to any fellow runners. They cover subjects such as nutrition, strength training, footwear, and mental health.

The Trainbrave podcast

This is a super educational Podcast, by Renee McGregor and Kriss Hendy who provide carefully curated content. Backed up by scientific studies and a really strong and considered understanding of Nutrition and training.

YouTube

Why your diet isn’t working By Natacha Oceane

Diet BS explained in a clear and easy to understand by, backed up by scientific claims and accredited sources.

Single serving high protein vegan snacks

I’m not vegan, but I’m not tolerant of a lot of dairy and I’m following a high protein lifestyle. So, during the past few months, I’ve loved making(and eating) some of these recipes.

Yoga for runners

This is the perfect short and sweet Yoga Practice, ideal to cool down post-run and make sure you get the right recovery.  

My intention with this post was not only to share my journey, but provide an insight to behind the scenes of my training. I hope that you’ve found this helpful, in the meantime, I’m working on my 10km time now…

Katie x

Disclaimer – I’m not a professional and this is based entirely on my own personal experiences. We could all do the same thing and see different results, if in doubt? Take professional advice.

How I realistically improved my 5km running time - From 31mins to 25mins