Running 5K is incredible. It makes you feel invincible. If it’s your first 5K then finishing it will boost your confidence manifold…

But what if you are struggling to run more than 5K. How to get over the running hump?

In this article, I’ll describe

  • Some common causes for not being able to run more than 5K.
  • Provide ways to overcome each of the causes.
  • A plan to run 6K

Sounds good? Let’s start…

Struggling To Run More than a 5K - How To Get Over The Running Hump

Reasons For Struggling To Run More Than 5K

If you are struggling to run more than 5K then there can be some common reasons like your lifestyle, stress, food habits, sleeping patterns, level of endurance, etc.

To check why you are struggling, you first need to determine which of the below reasons are true for you and try to address that.

If you find more than 1 reason for this continuous struggle, then address one at a time…

1. Level of endurance

You may be struggling to run 5K or more because of the level of endurance you have. You may have built it up to a certain extent with daily running, but it is not enough for a 5K.

To run a 5K or more, you will have to put focused effort to train for a 5K. Gradually improve your endurance so that you don’t get demotivated.

You can improve your level of endurance in as little as 2 weeks, provided you stick to a plan and follow it consistently.

Taking a gradual approach will ensure that you don’t sustain injury and don’t give up in the middle.

2. Running too fast

You may be trying to run your 5K fast. There is peer pressure to perform at a certain level…

Believe me, most of the runners feel that…

However, that cannot be the reason to try to run faster than your ability. Instead, try to first run a 5K without caring about timings or PB. Think about speed later.

If you are currently running too fast, then the first thing that you can do is to slow down…try to run for a longer duration with a comfortable pace.

This will not tire you out and you will be able to cover more distance with that…

3. Eating too much before you run

Sure you need the energy to run and for that, you need to have food. But stuffing yourself with food is not the best way to do that.

This way, you will be too uncomfortable to run, or in some cases, you may even throw up…

So, while having some amount of food is good before the run, don’t go overboard.

4. Eating too less

While eating too much is a problem, eating too less is also a big problem. If you are trying to run more than 5K, sufficient fuel will be needed by your system.

So, you should plan your pre-running meal according to that. If you eat too less, you will not have enough energy to complete the run.

Drinking a cup of coffee with a handful of dry fruits is all you need to sustain for a 5K run.

However, the amount you need may vary from the amount other runners need. Start with one handful of nuts and adjust the amount based on how tired you feel in the middle of the run.

5. Changed your diet plan recently

If you have switched from a carb-rich diet to a low-carb or keto diet, then you may see this performance dip in the first couple of weeks.

This is normal and this is will be better in some weeks once your body gets adapted to using ketones as its primary fuel.

The Keto diet is known to have a performance reduction in athletes, and runners are no different…but most of the time, this dip in performance is only temporary.

So, if you were able to run a 5K and now you are not able to after switching to the Keto diet, then this diet is the culprit…

Wait for 1-4 weeks, for your body to get used to this new kind of fuel…

6. You don’t take rest days seriously

When you run long runs like 5K, you are putting a lot of effort into the run. In subsequent days, you need rest or recovery days.

Without that, your next 5K run will suffer. You have to either take a lot of breaks or you may give up in the middle of the run.

If you are not resting properly after a 5K day, then you may continue to struggle, until you implement this rest day.

Also, on the rest days, you need not take complete off…Instead, try active recovery…activities like swimming, yoga, walking or any light activities that will get the blood flowing but will not be too stenueous for you.

7. You have weak hips and glutes

Having strong hips will help you run for a longer period of time without experiencing pain and minimize the chances of injuries.

The same goes for the glutes which are one of the strongest and biggest muscles of your body.

If they are weak, you will not be able to run longer distances…and you may have to experience more pain and injuries.

Many of the injuries that a runner experience is due to tightness in hip flexors or weak glutes and hamstrings.

Strength training your hips and glutes is an effective way to improve this. Also, you will be able to run properly with good form for a longer period of time.

8. Tightness in calf muscles

Stiffness and tightness in the calf muscles are one of the main reasons that you cannot run past 5K.

This can cause serious injuries and you may have to take prolonged breaks as such. Having flexible calf muscles with proper ankle mobility will ensure that you can run longer.

Otherwise, your Achilles Tendons may get overloaded and you will have to stop running due to injury.

Improving the mobility of the calf muscles is not a big deal. You have some specific exercises that will help you to improve on them in a couple of weeks.

Also, warming them up properly before the run will also help you to avoid any kind of painful breaks in the middle of the run.

9. Weak Knees

Many of us, come to running after taking a prolonged break or are becoming runners in say mid-twenties or even thirties.

By then, we have become too used to the sedentary lifestyle and the effects of it have started to take a toll on our bodies.

Many parts of our body start to become weak and one of the most affected joints is our knees…

If you have weak knees, you won’t be able to run far, let alone run more than 5K. You will start experiencing pain and it will keep coming back if you don’t strengthen your knees first.

Also, apart from having a strong knee, you can always try to improve the strength of the surrounding muscles like the quads.

This will help you to distribute the load more evenly while running. Also, it will provide additional strength to your knees.

10. You are overstriding

This is more of a problem with beginner runners. They will overstride or take longer strides than what is required to run.

This makes them use up their energy faster and they cannot run longer miles like 3 miles run.

If you are getting tired too easily, then get your strides evaluated. This will help you to understand if you need to change your stride pattern or not.

This also will help you improve your cadence which in turn will help with your endurance.

11. You are not using rhythmic breathing

Using your breath effectively while running will help you to run better and use your energy more efficiently.

This is one of the techniques that long-distance runners use to improve their race timing and endurance.

You can also use rhythmic breathing for 5K runs as it will help you to focus on using your energy more efficiently.

This in turn will help you run longer and will give your stamina a boost so that you can run more than a 5K.

Run More Than 5K: 6K Run Plan For Beginners

We have covered a lot of different reasons why you cannot run more than 5K…

But although these are great, you definitely need to work on any of them which is needed by you.

However, one big aspect that you also need to work on is the mental game of running a 5K.

Your mind gives up much before your body and if you don’t train your mind, you will probably never going to run a 5K even with all the incremental improvements mentioned above.

The best way to focus on your mental game is to work with a plan, no matter how basic is it. This will provide you with daily wins and progress and will help you to keep your motivation.

This is the reason we have selected the 6K run plan. This is 1K more distance than 5K and will help you move past the struggle of not being able to run a 5K.

We have created a 4-week 6K plan which will just push you a little more to break that mental barrier.

Here is the plan…

Struggling To Run More than a 5K - How To Get Over The Running Plateau
Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.