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Getting to a sub-19 5K at 45 years old (Read 1830 times)

    In February I ran a 19:27 5K --- second time in my life that I ran sub-20 and first time in several years.  I would love to get below 19:00 sometime in 2012, and to do that I feel like I kind of need to get my head around it.

     

    To get to the 19:27, I used a generic Daniels plan, selected weeks of phase based on the time till my race and ran successive phases of base, R, and interval workouts.  It worked great as my 5K time came down more than a minute between November and February.

     

    I'm prepared to use the same recipe again, but I kind of wonder about training paces versus my top end speed.  I'll try to explain clearly what I mean, even though it's more a feeling than a logical question.

     

    I haven't tried a top speed 400 since JV high school track, but I think I could probably go to a track tomorrow and run a 400 in between 1:08 and 1:12 (I did 9x400 today ranging from about 1:23-1:31 with a 400 jog between).  But --- when I was in worse shape back in November, I think I could have probably done a 1:15 quarter.  In other words, my conditioning is better, but I'm not sure my top speed is that much faster.  I can keep getting in better shape, but already as I'm doing 400 intervals I'm feeling like I'm almost approaching sprint speed.  I'm not saying I think I'm doing them too fast --- they're based on a recent race and I can do plenty of them (with jog recoveries, and a 15 minute cool down after) and not be wiped out, but it feels kind of weird.  I feel like as I keep chasing faster 5K times, I'll eventually be running 5Ks at pretty close to my top speed, which somehow seems wrong.

     

    Don't know if this makes sense, but my real question is: do I at some point need to try to make my sprinting faster so that a pace like 5:30/mile won't feel so fast?  Or do I just keep doing what I'm doing and assume all will be well?

      Personally, I don't think you need to be cranking out tons of 400's at the fast pace to be able to race the fast pace. You can accomplish the same thing with 100m to 200m strides which isn't as taxing on the body but results in getting comfortable running at faster paces.  A 5K is still more about stamina/endurance than speed.  If you have better endurance, you'll be able to hold the faster pace w/ less stress.  From what i recall from Daniels', he's pretty adamant about training for today's fitness not goal fitness.  He even points out there's no benefit from training faster than his prescribed paces. 

       

      A few years ago,at the age you are now, I was training for a marathon and rarely ran faster than 6 minute miles during my training for any duration. Once/week or so I'd do some 30second strides at a fast pace, maybe at 5K effort/pace. Well, during the training I jumped in a 1 mile road race, on tired legs and ran a 5:09. if you had told me before the race I could race that fast (for me) for that distance I would have told you you were crazy since I hadn't trained for that speed.  

        Good advice from boiler tom, as usual. I'd also say that mileage and aerobic tempo running is the low hanging fruit for you. If you can get to consistent 50mpw with some good aerobic tempo and interval work, I bet you'd see pretty good gains.
        Julia1971


          +1 to what's already been said.  I feel like being in better overall condition (through higher mileage) has really helped bring my race times down without doing substantially more "fast" running.

          You're too strong not to keep on keepin' on. - The Pips
          Yes, I am! - Gladys Knight


          MoBramExam

            Did not break 19:00 for 5K until age 48.  Did not do so by getting faster, did it by not slowing down as much.

             



            lap


              I'm only 44, so I may not have the proper expertise, but I agree with the above.  More miles will help most.  I doubt you need to run any 400s, but if you keep up the tempos and intervals while upping your mileage, I'd be surprised if you didn't get there.

              2014 goals:
              don't get injured

                What they all said. More miles, don't worry about your top end speed.

                 

                My 5k pr went from 19:30 at age 42 after one year of running to 18:06 at age 44. I don't think I ever did anything as short as 400m intervals in there and my big pr year (2009) came during marathon training. The marathon didn't turn out great but the training (Pfitzinger 18/85) led to pr's at 5k, 10k and 15k that I haven't matched since although I haven't given up hope yet...

                 

                It may be worth adding some drills and strides though. Take a look at Pete Magill's 5k training plan. There's a little speed work in there as race sharpening that may be what you are looking for, for peace of mind if nothing else.

                 

                John

                Goal: Age grade over 80% on a certified course.
                PDoe


                  If you can keep your top end speed for 5k, I'd say that'd be a decent goal to lower race times. 

                   

                  I understand the direction of your question relative to training though. Keep in mind that as your race times improve you want to quicken your own training times to an appropriate level. All that said I see nothing wrong with going out and including a 400's workout every two or three weeks. You can play with the recovery times and achieve different objectives. I think Magill just wrote an article in Running TImes about that very subject.

                    Thanks guys for all the answers.  It is reassuring to hear that folks have made good progress without worrying too much about the top end speed.

                      What they all said. More miles, don't worry about your top end speed.

                       

                      My 5k pr went from 19:30 at age 42 after one year of running to 18:06 at age 44. I don't think I ever did anything as short as 400m intervals in there and my big pr year (2009) came during marathon training. The marathon didn't turn out great but the training (Pfitzinger 18/85) led to pr's at 5k, 10k and 15k that I haven't matched since although I haven't given up hope yet...

                       

                      It may be worth adding some drills and strides though. Take a look at Pete Magill's 5k training plan. There's a little speed work in there as race sharpening that may be what you are looking for, for peace of mind if nothing else.

                       

                      John

                       

                      Hey John!  Long time no see.  2009 - was it really that long ago that we ran that Cowtown 1/2 & Full?  Still enjoy using my Cowtown 3rd place AG mug, it'da been better if it was a 1st place like you and Jim earned.

                      DanMoriarity


                        To be honest, I think running a bunch of 400m repeats is not the best way to approach speedwork for a 5k. Based on the information you've given, you don't need more basic speed to run sub 19, you need to be able to maintain your speed for a longer time.

                         

                        400m repeats are ok if you run them with short recoveries, such as a 100m or 200m jog or 30 to 60 seconds rest, but they shouldn't be run much faster than race pace, otherwise you're training different energy systems than you'll be using in the race.

                         

                        Instead, I'd recommend longer repeats such as 6x800m, 5x1000m or even 3x1500m at race pace or slightly faster with 3 to 5 minute recoveries. Longer repeats such as these are more speciifc to the demands of racing a 5k and will help you maintain your pace and form during that difficult 3rd quarter of the race. That's where most runners lose speed and miss their goal times.

                         

                        Anyway, good luck. I certainly think you have the potential to run sub 19, and given your speed, maybe even sub 18 with the right training.

                          If you make no other change except run a couple or three 200-mile months in a row, I bet you run sub 19 relatively easily.

                           

                          5:30 mile pace feels very fast to me, and I've run that for a 5k fairly recently.  You don't need to go anywhere near that for a sub 19.

                          Runners run.

                            Here is a 5k track workout that I've done with a previous training group with success.  I did this workout the Tuesday before a recent Saturday 10k, and PR'ed.   The workout was named "Vioma."  Dunno why.  Maybe because its not a traditional interval workout, its more of an aerobic tempo.   This workout really makes 5k goal pace feel more comfortable.

                             

                            Alternate 400's at 5k goal pace with 400's at equiv marathon pace.  6x 400, then jog for 400, then another 6x400.  It ends up being 4800 worth of work.  The cumulative time for that 4800 will probably be close to your current 5k time.  A key is to not slow down too much in the marathon pace.  

                             

                            For example, alternate 1:30-1:32 400 with 1:45-1:50 400.   Looks like this:

                            1:45,1:30,1:45,1:30,1:45,1:30, jog, 1:45,1:30,1:45,1:30,1:45,1:30.

                            Add up each of those splits and it comes to 19:30.