How To Race A 5K

Here are the essential tips on How To Race A 5K. The day of the race has arrived. So what do you need to do to prepare for your 5K race or fun run? Simply treat this as a normal training day and use the RUN ROUTINE. Just drop out the Drills and Core Strength work. So, your adapted RUN ROUTINE becomes a RACE ROUTINE:


  • Pre-Run fueling (1 minute)
  • Warm Up (8 minutes)
  • Dynamic Flexibility Stretches (not static stretching) (5 minutes)
  • 5K Fun Run or Race
  • Cool Down (5 minutes)
  • Dynamic Flexibility Stretches (not static stretching) (5 minutes)

To run the race properly, one of the best coaches I ever knew had a saying that was a reversal of a Proverb, “Out Like a Lamb, In Like a Lion”. What does this mean in terms of your running?

The Fun Run/Race

Start the run at a pace that feels easier than what you want to run. You’ll likely find that you’re being carried along by adrenalin and running faster than you should be. As the run progresses and you’re still feeling good, pick up the pace. Then as you’re approaching the finish, pick up the pace and push it a bit more (the lion part!!).

It pays to have a saying going through your head when you’re running to keep you focused on maintaining good form and running well. My personal favourite is “stay relaxed”. What does this mean? Don’t over do it and keeping relaxed involves making sure you’re not overly tense anywhere, especially your shoulders. If you’ve done the training, this will be easy. Some good sayings to play back to yourself:

“You’ve done the training, now for the reward”

“Stay relaxed, stay focused”

“Out like a lamb, in like a lion”

Once you get a bit more experienced at running this distance, you’ll be able to test your limits on speed. How fast can you run each kilometre…

Picking a 5K Fun Run/Race

Depending on what your goals are for a 5K, you probably need to pick an event to run/walk in and also aim for. The reason for this is that unless you have something to aim for, your goals become a little bit difficult to move towards, i.e. you don’t have a goal!! It generally means you won’t want to train on your scheduled days and that goal just slips away. So before you start training, try and pick a goal event to participate in!!

As an example of some runs, most cities around the world now have Park Run. See for more details on runs in your area. There are organised by volunteers and provide timed runs.

Otherwise, just use Google and search for 5K Races or 5K Fun Runs in your area. Given how popular these events are, there’s bound to be one on.

If you’re in Christchurch, New Zealand during January and February, check out the Hagley Park 5K Run Series. For more details on this, see

Last Updated: July 18th 2019