Whether you are training for a 5k or are a beginner, running is a great form of exercise to gain or regain cardiovascular health and overall strength. Once you have become consistent at jogging, you can try and change your regular pattern of straight ahead running, whether on a running track or on the road, for more variety and as a way to vary the stress on your joints.
Two easy ways to add a little variety are utilizing hills and running backwards. If you are new to running at an elevation, start out at a 4 to 6 degree incline and run for 30 seconds at your regular jogging pace before you turn around and run back downward. Do this 3 times and when it becomes routine, add 30 seconds to each of your 3 turns. This adds strength, stamina, and speed to your running.
If you run on a track or even surface, try and run backwards to improve your balance and enhance the neurological firing to your muscles that you may not be present by just running straight forward. You can do this during warm ups, during your run, or after your regular run. Start out at about 50 yards and make sure to check behind you to avoid any objects or people. Keep at the same pace as your regular run or jog. Running backwards makes you stand straight and run more on your toes or forefoot. This also works your glutes and upper hamstrings which will also help your performance. Do this two times during your regular run on a flat surface and you can gradually increase your speed, incline, or number of times.
Changing up your routine, as in weight lifting is integral to overcoming a plateau, changing up your neurological pattern, and improving your overall performance when working out.