Speedwork advice for a beginner (Read 43 times)


    Dear runners,


    I have been running for quite some time (about 4 months now). I have improved from being able to run almost no distance to being able to maintain a pace (a slow one, very slow one) over a distance of 12km (7.5miles). My pace raises some eyebrows (the 12k runs are at 8min/km. Some even tell me I am not runningšŸ˜…). I can run a 5k in around 38min and not faster, which contradicts most of the advice my running friends give me (the mileage tip).

    Two questions:

    1. Is it normal that my pace is roughly the same for a 5k and a 10k?


    2. Can I start doing some intervals? Will pushing for a 6min 30sec/km pace be too ambitious?


    I am a 21 year old male, 104kg. I can run 1k going all out in 5min 20sec (Last time I did that was a month ago,.though)

      More mileage = gooder results


      4 months is probably a little early to be worrying about speed vs fitness. If you can work your way up to 50k+ a week without injury or fatigue, the speed will come on it's own. However, some fartlek surges during your runs won't hurt. Running fast for a minute, like 5:00/km pace, and then back to normal pace and then fast again a few times during your 12k runs is good. I'm assuming you have a GPS watch. Another way to break up the monotony of constant pace is to run fast on the downhills (if your route has hills).


      Keep up your mileage for 6 months and then check your pace! Good luck!

      55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

        1. it depends on what you mean by roughly the same. If you mean your 10k pace is "only" 10-20 seconds per km slower than your 5k pace then, yeah that's pretty normal. If you mean they're within 1-2 seconds of each other, no, that means you probably were not running a max effort when you ran your 5k, even though you though you were. The mental side of racing can take some practice before you're able to really give a max effort.


        2. Yes. You might even start with some strides once a week building to twice a week. Strides are just short (like 20 second) bursts of acceleration focused on good form with full recoveries in between. You can google strides and find lots of good info. Striders will help you develop a more efficient and more powerful stride which will help you at every speed and will make your legs more resilient if you want to advance to longer intervals and harder workouts.

        Runners run.


        Taper Czar

          Running a lot of mileage is key to getting faster, but you haven't given any data about how frequently you run. It's great you run up to 7.5 miles, but how many miles are you running per week? I think to run a successful 5K, you need to be running at least 20 miles per week for a couple of months (note this isn't to just finish one but run well)


          Also unless you are very tall, losing weight will help. Probably the easiest way to get faster. I would worry about that before trying to find some speed through intervals. It will lead to the most long term success.

          5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:15:28 (3/20)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 


          Next Race: Suffolk County Half (10/24)


          Are we there, yet?

            The advice offered in your Afraid of Speedwork post still holds true.

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