Run Your Best 5K: The 4 Week Plan And The 3 Best Shoes
Every guy and his granny is out slogging a 5K. Cut your 30-minute time to under 24 with this plan from running coach Greg McMillan.
Before You Start:
1. Find a watch with a lap button.
2. Run 20 to 40 minutes, 3 or 4 days a week, for 2 weeks.
3. Complete at least one 45-minute run at your own pace with relative ease. No walking or whining!
Why This Plan Works
Yes, it’s a tough programme – you’re teaching your body to outwit your mind. Researchers suggest that your brain can act as a brake by anticipating damage to your body and slowing you down before you’ve reached your potential. To get faster, you need to override this wiring, McMillan says. That means pushing through discomfort, which may help you go harder. Mid-race, km 2.5 to 3 is critical. “Know that if you can just keep your pace on target through this section of the race, you will achieve your goal.”
Put in the hard yards? Good. Now, don’t let all that work go to waste – the right pair of shoes can shave vital seconds off your run, and be the difference between another second-best and a new PB. These three cater to all shapes and sizes, offering a great mix of sturdy support and lightweight luxury.
Related: 5 Signs You Need New Running Shoes
The Speed Slipper: Puma Speed 600 Ignite V3
For most guys, speed means unsustainable: the kind of pace you can manage for no more than a few km before falling out of form. But to blast past the finish line faster and stronger than when you started, you need to be able to harness renewable energy. The new Puma Speed 600 Ignite v3 treads a fine line between support and swiftness, with a dual layer midsole and an engineered forefoot that generates force from both heel strike and toe-off, propelling you forward at speed. The new NETFIT upper for an improved, customisable fit is another plus, locking your foot in place and helping you maintain proper form just long enough to finish with the flyers.
Best For: Racing snakes who want to stay ahead of the pack. R2 600, Sportsmans Warehouse (with a free pair of Ignite 4 Netfit Running Shoes worth R2199 thrown in). Click here to buy.
The Comfy Ride: Asics Noosa FF
Mid-distance shoe scientists face a unique challenge: how to pack effective cushioning and stable support mechanics into one seriously lightweight package. While FlyteFoam is the lightest cushioning ASICS has ever created – up to 55% lighter than the industry standard – it’s the landing experience that’s most impressive. A full-length midsole bounces back well after every strike, making you feel like you’re running on a cloud, while reinforced fibres in the upper mesh won’t let your foot rock from side to side as you run: together, these features keep you comfortable and well-aligned while moving forward, whether uphill or down.
Best For: Dedicated runners who never stop training. R2 200, Sportsmans Warehouse. Click here to buy.
The Support Specialist: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8
Heavy runners come in all shapes and sizes – it’s not all about weight. If you have a hard footfall, big feet or a tendency to lean forwards while moving fast, you’ll need support around your ankle and under your heel to prevent that impact from hurting you in your knees or hips. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 combines an impressively wide toe box and stable bootie fit with a thick, single layer of underfoot cushioning that absorbs the upward force of impact and distributes it evenly along the length of your foot. In English: you can move naturally at your own pace, comfortably and without injuring yourself, for longer.
Best For: Anyone who wants to take this running thing more seriously than a 5K allows. R2 700, Sportsmans Warehouse. Click here to buy.