Improving Your 5K

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What is your biggest tip for improving your 5K? (Read 3325 times)

    Okay, so the chat on this forum has really been lackign - especially since I think everyone probably signed up for this group to try to get some help getting faster.  So what is your biggest tip?  What would you consider the one thing that has had the biggest impact on improving your 5K times?

     

     

    For me it would definitely have to be consistency and miles (which the consistency brings).  A few years back I went to a running clinic and they gave me an 8 week training program.  It was a hard program.  It had 4 runs a week, but every run was some sort of speedwork (intervals, tempo, longer intervals).  I followed it for 8 weeks and dropped a minute and a half off my 5K.

     

    At first I thought it was from all the fast running, but realized later that because I was following the plan so religiously that my mileage had increased from 15-20 mpw up to about 30mpw.

     

    I saw the same thing last year when I was averaging 35-40 mpw consistently for the year.  I got my 5K below 20 minutes and most recently ran a really hilly 4 miler in just under 26 minutes.

     

    So lets start sharing some other tips cause I want my 5K down to 19 by the end of the year.

     

    Jeff

    RunAsics


    Person of Interest

      Back in 2005, I went from mid to high 19s to low 19s by adding weekly interval workouts, rather than doing them if and when I felt like it.  I built up the number of intervals and adjusted pace, distance and recovery time.  I think I dropped at least 30 seconds off my time and was still at or under 20 mpw.  Mostly I ran 400s with some 800s and pyramids in there too.

       

      However;  I saw my biggest gain across the board by getting over 35-40mpw for a sustained period of time starting in the Fall of 2007.   I went from low 19s, to 18:50s then to 18:20s in June 2008.   My 5k times haven't really changed a lot since I hit that mark.  For speed, I  did a weekly track workout (indoor in the winter or treadmill) and the occasional tempo run on the treadmill. 

       

      So, there's no magic; rather the ole concept of building a decent base with easy miles then adding in speed. 

      How much of each varies by the individual.  As jeff stated, consistency is a key factor.  You are building your aerobic base.  That does not happen overnight.   Also, I guess I'm lucky in that weight is not an issue for me.

      "Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is."
      Pammie


        Last September i began 50 mile weeks, as a base before starting marathon training in January.

        I did the odd 40 mile week if i was racing that weekend. Once per week i did an interval or tempo session, and once a week i did a shorter long run (90 minutes opposed to 2 hours) at 20 secs a mile quicker than normal

         

        January came started marathon training. was doing well but 2nd half of month life got in the way and my mileage went down to 30 mpw. Did my usual end of month 5km

         

        My old PR went back to Aug 05 (24:34) in fact hadn't got under 25 minutes since, so entered race with an accidental taper. Main aim was to keep in contact with lady who is a bit quicker than me, did so and finished im 24:23

        So something worked there i guess

          My biggest tip learned from my own experience would not apply to you Jeff. 

           

          I've been running for 2.5 years and steadily (but oh so slowly) dropping weight and steadily increasing miles per week.  The relentless consistency is all I can suggest for people who want to improve.  Stay healthy = run more = improve.  At some point the seconds will be hard to come by and will require speed work or other changes. 

           

          But for now I've lopped off between 15 seconds and 3.5 minutes from my PR on all six 5k races after my initial self time effort of 30:15.  The most recent race I did was 20:33 and I dropped 0:34 after dropping 1:26 on the previous race.  If I can get to 195 pounds and 200 miles in a month this year I think I can break 20:00.  But if I dream then 190 pounds and 60 miles a week in 2010 is about the realistic limit.  And that would put me closer to your 19:00 range and then maybe I'd be looking for new answers like you are. 

          In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

          http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

           

           

           

          evtish


            What do you think would help your time more?

             

            1.  Increasing mileage by 20 mpwk, but weight stays the same

             

            or

             

            2.  Losing 10 lbs, but mileage stays the same.

             

            Do the big mileage increases give you the benefit of extra weight loss, and ultimately that helps lower your time?

             

              I guess that depends on the person.  10 lbs. of excess weight should save anyone 1 minute.  If it is not excess then it isn't going to do anything good.  20 mpw will get most of us 1-2 minutes better.  Folks running 20 mpw and doubling mileage probably at least 2.  Folks running 60 mpw already might see less than 1. 

              In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

              http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

               

               

               


              Prince of Fatness

                Assuming that the fitness is there, I would say that the answer is to race more 5K's.  It sounds simple, but I really think that you need repetition to learn how much discomfort that you can deal with, what racing a 5K feels like, etc.

                 

                The ideal scenario, which I have been able to do this summer, is to find a race series.  Multiple races on the same course is a great way to hone your racing skils and gauge progress.  That has really helped me over the summer.

                Semi-retired.

                  Mr. PH, , I like your idea. I do think I am getting an idea of what a 5K feels like.  You r idea of building on that is good, and i think I will try thinking of that. 

                      My idea of how to improve my speed on a 5K is to do short sprints at fairly even intervals.  Mind you, I just go from tree to tree, or area to area, or house to house.  I am at a low level, but think I am finally getting the feel for a faster pace than my norm.  I have yet to test myself on a 5K, though.  What does anyone else think?   Woods Lady.

                    Assuming that the fitness is there, I would say that the answer is to race more 5K's.  It sounds simple, but I really think that you need repetition to learn how much discomfort that you can deal with, what racing a 5K feels like, etc.

                     

                    The ideal scenario, which I have been able to do this summer, is to find a race series.  Multiple races on the same course is a great way to hone your racing skils and gauge progress.  That has really helped me over the summer.

                     

                    I have to agree with you after this weekend.  I think I really dont know how to run a 5K any more.  I used to 7-10 of them a year, but the last two years only did a couple each year.  This weekend when doing my 5K I picked up the pace for the last 1/4 mile or so, and though I was pretty tired at the end I did think I probably could have held that pace for a lot longer than I did.  It was very uncomfortable but I think I should have kicked up to that pace at mile 2 and tried to hold it for the last 1.1 adn I think I might have been able to do it.

                     

                    I think without racing as many 5Ks as I used to that I have forgotten what level of discomfort my body can withstand for a whole 5K.  Maybe that will be a goal next year - there is a Wednesday night 5K every week near my house, so maybe I'll make it a goal to run in all of those next year.  Between that and my marathon next year, I am hoping to be in better shape than I feel like I am right now.

                      Don't neglect speed.

                       

                      IMHO you have to train hard to race fast.

                       

                      A summer of Long Slow Distance has robbed me of my pace, and I am now struggling to reclaim my speed for a 5k in one month.

                      5k PB: 19:02. 5k Goals: 6m = 18:30; 1 yr = 17:59; 2yr = 17:30 10k PB 42:20 (uncertified). 10k Goals: 6 m = 41:00; 1 yr = 39:59; 2 yr = 37:59
                      RunAsics


                      Person of Interest

                        Don't neglect speed.

                         

                        IMHO you have to train hard to race fast.

                         

                        A summer of Long Slow Distance has robbed me of my pace, and I am now struggling to reclaim my speed for a 5k in one month.

                         

                         

                        Your comment begs the question as to why you waited so long to start 5k specific training?  

                         

                        My personal opinion is that it's always good to maintain some level of speedwork during the off-season/base building.  Doesn't have to be a lot.  Fartleks are probably the easiest to incorporate.

                        "Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is."

                          You are likely correct.

                           

                          I won't neglect speed ever again, it is just too darned hard to regain, and tougher with every year that passes.

                           

                          Thankfully, I think it is starting to come back. I did a hill session of 5*500m on a steep hill yesterday. It was tough, but I felt my form returning. I should be ready for the first week in october.

                          5k PB: 19:02. 5k Goals: 6m = 18:30; 1 yr = 17:59; 2yr = 17:30 10k PB 42:20 (uncertified). 10k Goals: 6 m = 41:00; 1 yr = 39:59; 2 yr = 37:59

                            My current 5K PR is 20:32, down from 21:47.  I would like to break 20 before the year is out.  I think I could have done better than 20:32 on that race, but it was my first time running at that pace for a 5K race so I  wasn't certain if I should push harder.  When I looked back on it I believe I could have given more. +1 to those folks who said to run more 5k's.

                             

                            There are several things that have helped me:

                            1. Prayer - don't laugh - I'm not kidding - lots of peace

                            2.  Marathon training - mileage increase

                            3.  Tempo runs (at least once a week) - I think these had a significant impact - holding a hard pace for several miles while not racing, told my mind and my body that I could hold a harder pace while racing.

                            4.  Speedwork - 4 or 6 x 400's or other distance (once a week) and Striders (twice a week).

                            5.  At least one day of rest each week.

                             

                            Now that my marathon is done I'm working back into some specific 5K training that includes tempos and speedwork along with increased mileage.

                              I have derived a lot of benefit from running a lot of near race pace 6kms (90%). I am becoming more and more comfortable running at fast pace for 25 minutes.
                              5k PB: 19:02. 5k Goals: 6m = 18:30; 1 yr = 17:59; 2yr = 17:30 10k PB 42:20 (uncertified). 10k Goals: 6 m = 41:00; 1 yr = 39:59; 2 yr = 37:59
                              sfdistance


                                Don't neglect speed.

                                 

                                IMHO you have to train hard to race fast.

                                 

                                A summer of Long Slow Distance has robbed me of my pace, and I am now struggling to reclaim my speed for a 5k in one month.

                                 

                                Speed work is absolutely key to the 5K.  Even the 10k for that matter.  In my experience 800 or 1000m intervals at goal race pace are effective.  Also good to throw in some snappy 400's as race day approaches.   In any interval workout though, many people make the mistake of taking too much rest btwn intervals.  It's not supposed to feel good.  

                                 

                                Hoping to get back near my college racing fitness of a few years ago.  My problem is trying to get through tough workouts alone.  I'm so used to working out with a team, with a coach, and a very competitive atmosphere.  Any former competitive runners have advice on this transition?

                                 

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