How I run 5 KMs
Work your way up
There are a variety of learn to run programs out there that give you a routine to follow that will have you running in as little as six weeks or as much as a year. It very much depends on what physical condition you are in at the beginning. I've provided links below that give samples of running programs so that you can get started.
The way I started was to run the first km, walk the second, run the third, walk the fourth and then run the fifth. I was starting from a position where I was able to run that much from the start so I started further into a running program than others might.
From there I started to do the same routine, but would sprint the middle km. Then I would sprint the middle and last km. Then I tried running 2.5KM, walked for 0.5, and then ran the last two.
One tool that really helped me was MapMyRun which allowed me to map a run onto my neighbourhood so that I could easily identify points where the km marks were. Finally I attempted to run the full 5km and succeeded.
Improving the 5km run time
Once I managed to get the full 5km run under my belt, my next goal was to try and do it in a smaller amount of time. To be able to know how long it was taking me I then acquired a stop watch. The first time I timed my run I was doing it in just under 32 minutes. This wasn't very good. It was about that time that I started to use the treadmill that is available to me in my company's gym. Using the treadmill made running the 5km run easier as it has a 5km built in program. My suspicion is that most treadmills have such a program, so if you are using a treadmill, see if you can figure out how to make use of it.
With the treadmill, I could set the maximum inclination such that during the run, the inclination would vary and not ever exceed the maximum. I normally set this to 3%.
In addition, with the treadmill, the runner controls the speed, so by increasing the speed with each run, the amount of time it takes to run the 5km gets reduced. The treadmill I have at work uses MPH to measure speed, so when I first started I would run at around 6MPH and slowly ramp up the speed throughout the run to end at 7MPH.
As I would run more, once or twice a week, I would also gradually increase the speed such that the start and end speeds are higher, or, more time is spent at the higher speed than at the lower speed.
Now when I run I usually start at 7.5MPH and finish at 8.5MPH and am getting my time fairly consistently under 24 minutes. My elusive goal, one I haven't yet managed, is to get my time under 23 minutes. We shall see if I can do this sometime soon.
My treadmill at work
If you are new to running or out of practice, use one of the links below to start a 'learn to run' program that will bring you up to be able to run 5KM without stopping.
Once you are able to run the 5KM without stopping, use a stopwatch, or use the treadmill's 5KM program to see if you can increase your speed.
Set a goal, and keep working on increasing your speed to eventually reach the goal. Good luck and have fun!