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How to improve your 5k PB.

For the non-runners out there, PB does not stand for peanut butter. It stands for personal best, the fastest time it takes an individual to complete a distance, in this case 5k. It is the Holy Grail for runners. ‘What is your 5k PB?’, ‘I beat my PB today!’, ‘How do I improve my 5k PB?’.

The answer is not going to sit very well with my runners, because all they really want to do is run. Most runners thin they can improve their 5k PB by simply running harder, faster, further. The very thought of exchanging their running shoes for a pair of gym shoes makes them cringe to the core. Yes, you read that one correctly….gym shoes.

5k PB weights

All it is going to take is a concurrent 6 week programme of strength and conditioning mixed in with the running plan. It requires dedication to 2 days per week in the gym doing heavy weights and you will improve your PB.

Now the best news is that it only requires 4 exercises. The catch is, they have to be weighted and HEAVY. According to a study done by Karsten et al. IJSPP, May 2015, the exercises you need are:

Romanian Deadlifts

Parallel Squats

Calf Raises


4 sets of 4 repetitions at 80% of your 1 RM or rep max.

What is a 1 RM? Now that is a term my weightlifters and crossfitters are familiar with but will be a new term for the runners. It is the weight you can lift or press or squat, where you can only complete 1 repetition.

Basically, start 2 days a week of the 4 strength exercises, 6 weeks prior to a competition and you’re bound to improve your PB.

It’s as easy as 2, 4, 6.



If you are unfamiliar with the above-mentioned exercises or how to determine your 1RM, I would advise that you speak to your physiotherapist, biokineticist or personal trainer on technique and ways to prevent injury before attempting it on your own with heavy weights.

Physio Squared provides information that is researched and clinically relevant, however, we cannot take any responsibility for injuries acquired while following these suggestions. If you have any concerns, please speak to your healthcare professional before attempting anything new.

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