This Olympian and UK Record Holder Shares His 5k in 20 Minutes Training Plan

As well as bragging rights, upping your speed is the best way to build muscle when you’re running, which is why we got Andy Baddeley, Olympian and UK Parkrun record holder, to give you your race-day pep talk:

'Know your pace when taking position. If the front of the pack is close to your target, then being in the mix can boost your confidence. If it’s too fast, it’ll ruin your race plan. You need to keep your pace as even as possible. The toughest part is from 3km to 4km, and this is where people lose focus and let their pace drift. To run a PB, you need to hit 3km, then push – but not sprint.'

Know Your Limit

'Avoid burning out early by knowing where your ‘red line’ is and staying on the right side of it. You can hone this skill in training: head out for intervals with short recovery times, and train yourself to recognise that moment when you dig too deep and have to back off.'

Breathe Easy

'The quickest way to lose speed and increase your injury risk is to lose form when you’re tired. Stay tall, relax your shoulders and keep your breathing relaxed. When we're tired, we often hunch over and our breathing becomes shallow. Runners’ knees can drop inward, too, so be mindful of that.

'If you do a 5K right, it's going to hurt, and it's going to hurt pretty early. Again, the best way to prepare for this is in training. Keep your recovery periods short and get used to running on tired legs. If you can do it in training, the extra adrenalin when you're giving your all-out effort will make it feel easier.'

Your 20-Minute 5k Training Plan

Bored of lapping the park? Employ this session, from the team at Mammoth Track Club, once a week to run a faster 5k than you ever thought possible.

What to Do

Eight laps of 400m at your one-mile race pace. Warm up with 15 minutes of easy running, then take 60 seconds of recovery between each lap.

Why It Works

You’re performing above your anaerobic threshold, so you should barely be able to say a few words at a time. You need short, hard efforts like these.

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