How To Run Your First Sub 20 Minute 5K

It’s asked all over the net on sites, on forums and by many in the insane fitness USA crew. How do I run a sub 20 minute 5k?

The answer to that is surprisingly easy. So, we’ll break it down below. But first we have to get that disclaimer out of the way.

Disclaimer: We are not dispensing medical advice. Please seek the advice of counsel of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner prior to any exercise or dietary changes.

Before we get started into how to run a sub 20 minute 5k we need to cover who can run one.

Can anyone do this?

The answer is most people between the ages of 18 and 50 that have no medical conditions or serious injuries, are not overweight and are not cautioned by their doctor to avoid strenuous activity should be able to work their way up to running a 5K in under 20 minutes.

Now Let’s Talk About The Secret

The secret to running any race above a 40 yard dash or so is pace.

You need to find your 1000 meter pace and get that to under 4 minutes. Then you simply hold that pace over the 5 1,000 meter sections.

Here are the things to consider:

  1. You don’t want to start your first 1,000 meters to fast. A lot of people say that they do great at first and then run out of gas at the end.

This is typical of people who start to fast. Remember, the secret to running is your pace.

  1. Your last half of the 5K should be faster than the first half. If you’re running right at 4 minutes per 1K then pick up the pace just a bit so that you’re running at 3:55 or less for the last half.
  2. Your last 1K should be faster than any of your other 1K sections. You should always focus on finishing strong.

Follow the above tips and it will really help you.

How To Run A Sub 20 Minute 5 Kilometer Race Or Distance

We will cover 2 ways to do it. One with and one without electronics.

We are here to tell you that a small investment in a piece of electronics will help you immeasurably. We’ll cover that below. But, you can do it without any gadgets, however, it’s just so much easier with them.

Method 1 – No Electronics:

Here you’ll need a watch with a great second hand or a friend with a stopwatch who’s willing to come out and time you.

This is very easy to do.

You simply go to an Olympic track. The inner track will be 400 meters long. Because it’s 400 meters long you’ll need to run it 12.5 times around to equal 5,000 meters or 5K.

When you divide 20 minutes by 12.5 you get 1.6 minutes or 1 minute and 36 seconds. This means that you must run each lap (once around the track) in less than 1:36.

You can use a watch with a second hand, a digital watch with really big numbers so it’s easy to see or have a friend time you.

That’s it. There is really nothing else to it but to do it.

As soon as you can run once under your time then work until you can run two laps, then three and pretty soon you’ll be at 12.5.

Method 2 – With Electronics:

Here we are going to recommend 3 different Garmin watches. The reason we recommend these three is that they have really big numbers so to can see them when you’re running without any effort. The ones with tiny numbers are a pain.

Here are the three we recommend, click their links to go see them: The Garmin 920 is one of the better watches out there. Yes, they have a newer model. But it doesn’t have some of the features we will talk about below. Plus, being a couple years old it’s a lot less cost than the newest model.

The Garmin 910 is just a small step down from the Garmin 920 and will work just fine.

Then, if you want to get a decent Garmin but save a bit of money then the Garmin 310 is the way to go.

With any of the Garmin’s above you simply set it to beep at you every 1,000 meters and you look to see your time.

This way you don’t have to worry about having friends time you on every run or having to count each time you lap the track.

You can just get into your stride and forget about everything else.

Be sure you’re running each 1K in under 4 minutes. Take care that you’re running smoothly, pace yourself and in no time you’ll be running 5K in under 20 minutes.

It’s ok if you can only do 1K under 4 minutes and the others take longer. Pretty soon you’ll be running 2 – 1K’s under 4 minutes each and then soon 3 of them, then 4 of them and then finally 5 of them.

So, to make it easy on yourself go have a look at the 3 Garmin’s and decide which is best for you. Here they are Garmin 920Garmin 910Garmin 310

You’ll be happy that you did.

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