Improving Your 5K

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More Miles vs. Faster Miles (Read 1440 times)

    Does anyone have any insight on which is the best for 5K performance, running more miles with a majority of miles being done at an easy pace (I have read 80 to 90%) or running less total miles with a greater percentage being focused on speed and stamina.
    Ryan


    I've got a fever...

      Does anyone have any insight on which is the best for 5K performance, running more miles with a majority of miles being done at an easy pace (I have read 80 to 90%) or running less total miles with a greater percentage being focused on speed and stamina.
      For most people, more miles will actually be more effective in improving 5k time. Don't get me wrong -- to truly peak, you need both, but the fact is that even a short race like 5k is mostly aerobic. More base miles will build your aerobic capacity more completely than low miles with speed. Speedwork is icing on the cake, but most people need to focus on the cake first. When I was in HS, my coach gave me an off-season training program for the winter between cross-country and track. I remember he specifically wrote "no speedwork until you get up to 40~45 miles per week." His point was to emphasize a strong aerobic base before focusing on speed.

      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

        Thanks for the advice. I am currently running at 35-40 miles per week. After spring racing, I plan to build my base mileage and begin preparing for races this fall. Is there some ceiling for mileage when it comes to 5K racing and performance? Is there any point where runners would begin to see diminishing returns in performance?
        Ryan


        I've got a fever...

          Is there some ceiling for mileage when it comes to 5K racing and performance? Is there any point where runners would begin to see diminishing returns in performance?
          I think there is, but it differs from runner to runner. This may seem a little contradictory to what I said about it being a mostly aerobic event, but you do need to have a certain amount of snap in your legs to bust out a good 5k. If you pile on too many miles, you might feel a little dead-legged when race day comes. That threshold isn't likely in the 35~40mpw where you are (and where I hope to be in a about a month). If you're serious about 5k racing and are doing serious speed workouts (hard intervals, fast tempos), and you're trying to peak for a certain race or series of them, it's probably a good idea to back off a little on the miles during that last 8 weeks of sharpening approaching the peak race. That's assuming you've built up a real solid base prior to that sharpening phase.

          On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

            Last year during my 5k season I was averaging 25 mile weeks. My long runs were 7-8 miles with the rest being 3-5 miles with 75% near race pace. This worked for me as I knocked 1 minute off my PR but I always struggled with the last mile. I’m taking a different approach this year. I want to maintain the 35-45 mile weeks I was running while training for full/half marathons but dedicate 2 of those runs to 5k speed work. I’ve only run one 5k so far so I don’t know if this is a good approach yet. My next 5k is a week from Saturday (3/8) so I should have a better idea then. If I can break 20 minutes then I know its working.
            Res firma mitescere nescit
            Running in Tampa


            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

              I just PR'd in my 5K yesterday by about 55sec, and I've done almost no speedwork for a month, so apparently getting my mileage up has worked for me -- dunno how that applies to anyone else, but I'm certainly happy Smile

              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                I just PR'd in my 5K yesterday by about 55sec, and I've done almost no speedwork for a month, so apparently getting my mileage up has worked for me -- dunno how that applies to anyone else, but I'm certainly happy Smile
                Well, I did speedwork as well, but I have upped my mileage huge this year and dropped over a minute on my 5K as well. I think that basically getting faster comes down to getting stronger - getting stronger comes down to more running.