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5K Speed/Interval Training Advice (Read 71 times)

    Hello,

     

    I have hit a wall with my training and just looking for some opinions on recommendations on how to best use the day I do speed/tempo training. Got my 5K time down to 21:17 in the last race I did and this next year I really want to get into down into 20:40 range this year. I run 3 days a week with a long run on Saturday (6 to 10 miles) and easy on Sunday (4 miles).

     

    Wednesdays has always been a steady 4 mile tempo run with the pacing anywhere between 7:40 and 7:15 mile pace. Feel this is where I need to change it up and spend more collective time doing intervals or repeats at 6:50 to 6:30 pace to get better adjusted to the pace required to get my time down. It would be on the road and I am getting a new watch to help with intervals and having split screen capabilities so I can see time with either distance or pacing as an option which will help since I wont be on the track, these will be done on the road.

     

    Have eight weeks to prepare for the next race and would consider adding a bit of mileage on that day if needed, but I would appreciate any advice or feedback on workouts you could suggest.

     

    Thank You,

     

    Jay

      Hello,

       

      I have hit a wall with my training and just looking for some opinions on recommendations on how to best use the day I do speed/tempo training. Got my 5K time down to 21:17 in the last race I did and this next year I really want to get into down into 20:40 range this year.  Not looking to add any additional days or excessive miles, and going to a track regularly is not really an option, just how to best change up my Wednesday run. The last four years I have done a long medium paced run on Saturday's (6 to 10 miles) and easy run on Sunday (4 miles).

       

      Wednesdays has always been a steady 4 mile tempo run with the pacing anywhere between 7:40 and 7:15 mile pace. Feel this is where I need to change it up and spend more collective time doing intervals or repeats at 6:50 to 6:30 pace to get better adjusted to the pace required to get my time down. It would be on the road and I am getting a new watch to help with intervals and having split screen capabilities so I can see time with either distance or pacing as an option which will help since I wont be on the track, these will be done on the road. With my limited weekly mileage I'm just concerned if the shorter harder efforts replacing the more consistent tempo run will actually be something that will hurt my time rather than help since this is all I have done since I started running four years ago.

       

      Have eight weeks to prepare for the next race and would consider adding a bit of mileage on that day if needed, but I would appreciate any advice or feedback on workouts you could suggest.

       

      Thank You,

       

      Jay

       

      Hey there Jay,

       

      It probably wouldn't hurt to change things up a bit with your speed day. Change from something you've been doing for a while is a good way to see some results. You're talking about doing some work at or around your goal race pace. That's also not a bad idea in the right context.

       

      Some classic 5k paced workouts are:

      6-8 x 800m @ 5k pace w/ ~2 min recovery

      3-4 x mile @ 5k pace w/ 400m jog

       

      There are a bunch more out there. If you want a book with some training plans, I'd recommend Run Faster by Brad Hudson.

       

      These sorts of race pace workouts generally are something that you'd do in the last 6 weeks before a goal race. A way to transition from the tempo work you've been doing would be to do cruise intervals or Tinman CV intervals (you can Google this stuff). These work more around 10k pace (probably ~7:00 pace for you?) Something like 5-8 x 1000m w/90s jog recovery. You could do these for a while then as you get closer to your goal race transition to more 5k pace (or even faster) work. These types of workouts are basically "tempo runs in disguise" because the 90s jog keeps the heart rate up.

       

      The cruise intervals are something more sustainable -- like the tempo runs have been for you. The 5k paced work is something to sprinkle in close to your racing season, then back off of for a period.

      Running Problem


      Problem Child

        If you can check your local library for hard copy run training books it might be a good start. Jack Daniels wrote one some people enjoy.

        You could do:

        • 10-12x400m  with 400m jog recovery at current 5k pace
        • 2x (8x200m with 200m jog) and a 1/2 mile jog between each set of 8
        • 3x1 at threshold + 6x200m with 200m jog recovery at 5k pace

        I did these for my last 5k training cycle and they seemed to work out well for me. Add in a warm up and cool down of 1-3 miles depending on how much time you have and your weekly mileage goals. Also check out the half marathon training thread. It's more of a "anything other than marathons" training discussion.

        Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

        VDOT 54.9

        5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

          Thank you. I know it seems like a basic question but most workout plans i see don't factor in 3 training days.

           

          I figured doing specific intervals would be best but had trouble keeping track of everything on the road with my current watch (garmin 25) which only gives single screen reading. So trying to keep pace and timing was impossible, where on the track it would have been much easier. New watch will be much better for this.

           

          Thank you for the replies.

           

          Jay

            Hello,

             

            I have hit a wall with my training and just looking for some opinions on recommendations on how to best use the day I do speed/tempo training. Got my 5K time down to 21:17 in the last race I did and this next year I really want to get into down into 20:40 range this year. I train three days a week with long run on Saturday's (6 to 10 miles) and easy on Sunday (4 miles).

             

            Wednesdays has always been a steady 4 mile tempo run with the pacing anywhere between 7:40 and 7:15 mile pace. Feel this is where I need to change it up and spend more collective time doing intervals or repeats at 6:50 to 6:30 pace to get better adjusted to the pace required to get my time down. It would be on the road and I am getting a new watch to help with intervals and having split screen capabilities so I can see time with either distance or pacing as an option which will help since I wont be on the track, these will be done on the road.

             

            Have eight weeks to prepare for the next race and would consider adding a bit of mileage on that day if needed, but I would appreciate any advice or feedback on workouts you could suggest.

             

            Thank You,

             

            Jay


            an amazing likeness

              It reads to me like you are fairly set in your workout pattern and not looking to make much change....my small piece of advice is constrained by that perception on my part -- if I've misread, please ignore what follows...

               

              If you're not eager to make much of change, I'd recommend this one change -- switch your Saturday & Sunday. Do the 4 on Saturday at a harder effort and then longer run on Sunday so that you start Sunday's run on fatigued legs. Take Jeff's workout advice (above) and do those on Sat, then log the longer miles on Sunday.  This will help you get used to the fatigue and effort of the 2nd half of your races.

              Acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.


              Train SMART

                Hello,

                 

                I have hit a wall with my training and just looking for some opinions on recommendations on how to best use the day I do speed/tempo training. Got my 5K time down to 21:17 in the last race I did and this next year I really want to get into down into 20:40 range this year. I run 3 days a week with a long run on Saturday (6 to 10 miles) and easy on Sunday (4 miles).

                 

                Wednesdays has always been a steady 4 mile tempo run with the pacing anywhere between 7:40 and 7:15 mile pace. Feel this is where I need to change it up and spend more collective time doing intervals or repeats at 6:50 to 6:30 pace to get better adjusted to the pace required to get my time down. It would be on the road and I am getting a new watch to help with intervals and having split screen capabilities so I can see time with either distance or pacing as an option which will help since I wont be on the track, these will be done on the road.

                 

                Have eight weeks to prepare for the next race and would consider adding a bit of mileage on that day if needed, but I would appreciate any advice or feedback on workouts you could suggest.

                 

                Thank You,

                 

                Jay

                 

                15-20 miles per week will only take you so far. This is low miles. Your bank account is still $15-20 weekly whether it is $1 bills or $10 bills (speed work). The $10 bills look better but the whole bank account equals the same. If bank account goes up to saving $30 a week or more then you can have more $1s and $5 and $10 and you progress to riches. Until you get more volume in your bank account you will hit a stalemate. So more volume and base work is the ticket for continued improvement, improved max VO2 even looking toward 20 min goal down the road.

                 

                My suggestions - do one or two or all of these:

                 

                - add a day of running at easy pace like 4-6 miles.

                - add 1-2 easy miles before and after your midweek quality work out

                - doing the above 2 also makes the 10 mile long run less stressful and more impactful

                - do multi-pace work in midweek run. I am huge fan of Critical Velecity Intervals as Jeff mentioned. They work. Like 5-6 x 800m, 4-5 x 1k, 6 x 3 min etc all at 10k race effort then after this mix in some speed work at 1 mile pace like 4 x 200m, 6-8 x 100m. 4-6 Hill surges (20-30 sec). A little speed goes along way vs hammering a lot of fast intervals on low miles....stamina is needed more which CV work helps with. This approach works on multiple energy systems in one work out - more bang for buck.

                 

                Good luck.

                Run Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training.

                  Thank you all for replying. I think I am going to change up my Wednesday run and in a week start by doing a normal tempo run for two weeks then change up to doing 8-10 400 meter intervals (6:30 to 6:40 pace)  6-8 800 meter intervals (6:50 to 7:00 pace)  and 4-6 1000 meter intervals (7:00 to 7:10 pace) in the upcoming weeks and see how that goes.

                   

                  One thing to note if it matters is my 5K races have almost always been run the exact same way. I try to force myself to hold back on the first mile, run my own pace, try to find a good group to hang in for the second mile and just go as hard as I can for the third. This has resulted in almost 100% across the board a slower mile time each mile with a higher average heart rate every mile. To be honest I am always surprised at how fast (for me anyway) my first miles are as I really purposely go at such an easy race effort and they are by far the fastest times. I  think it is mile two that I could go a bit harder as I often times find myself in a group going a bit slower than i would like, but am always fearful of blowing up. Below are the results of my latest races. Not sure if anyone know if this is an endurance issue or something else but would really like to be more consistent on these times this year.

                   

                  12/12/21

                  Average heart rate - 172 bpm

                  Mile 1 - 6:38 - 165 bpm

                  Mile 2 - 7:01 - 173 bpm

                  Mile 3 - 7:25 - 176 bpm

                  21:59  / 7:01 average mile

                   

                  1/1/22

                  Average heart rate 175

                  Mile 1- 6:29 - 169 bpm

                  Mile 2 - 6:51 - 176 bpm

                  Mile 3 - 7:12 180 bpm

                  21:17 / 6:50 average mile

                   

                  Thank You

                   

                  Jay

                  darkwave


                  Mother of Cats

                    Suggestion - go run a 5K, and run the first mile no faster than 7:15.  Then ignore your watch and just empty the tank from there.

                    Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.

                     

                    And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.

                      It reads to me like you are fairly set in your workout pattern and not looking to make much change....my small piece of advice is constrained by that perception on my part -- if I've misread, please ignore what follows...

                       

                      If you're not eager to make much of change, I'd recommend this one change -- switch your Saturday & Sunday. Do the 4 on Saturday at a harder effort and then longer run on Sunday so that you start Sunday's run on fatigued legs. Take Jeff's workout advice (above) and do those on Sat, then log the longer miles on Sunday.  This will help you get used to the fatigue and effort of the 2nd half of your races.

                       

                      I appreciate this advice and think I might change the hard run to Saturday and easy to Wednesday night. Last summer I tried to break a 6 minute mile, once in August and once in October and just could not get there (both 6:09),  and on the last two laps both times I could just feel my legs getting heavier and slower. Late this summer I decided to try again and found a great video on YouTube (Jordan Thomas / 5 workouts to run a faster mile) and it was so helpful. I always ran my long run with the same exact efforts, trying to just get the similar time for each mile, but he suggested the progression run which i did not know anything about and that was such a great recommendation. To start out so slow and then when you are most fatigued have to run the "fastest" miles at the end was something I never had done. I remember at mile 9.5 one Saturday morning realizing this is it, this is where it is going to hurt the most on the second half of the 1 mile run, focus on keeping the legs moving as fast as possible, and  in my opinion really made such a difference in the limited time I had to prepare and ended up breaking the six minute mile in September.

                       

                      Thank You,

                       

                      Jay

                      mikeymike


                        Suggestion - go run a 5K, and run the first mile no faster than 7:15.  Then ignore your watch and just empty the tank from there.

                         

                        This is extremely good advice. It will teach you a lot.

                         

                        Plus all the stuff everyone else said.

                        Runners run

                        JMac11


                        Milkman

                          You're running 16 miles per week? Forgot all of this other stuff. If you want to run a successful 5k, you need to get your mileage to 30 mpw (at the minimum that is). That alone is going to make a huge difference in your times. No matter what workouts you do, you will not see that many gains if you running under 20 mpw.

                          5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

                           

                          Next Race: Grandma's Marathon (6/18)

                          berylrunner


                          Rick

                            You're running 16 miles per week? Forgot all of this other stuff. If you want to run a successful 5k, you need to get your mileage to 30 mpw (at the minimum that is). That alone is going to make a huge difference in your times. No matter what workouts you do, you will not see that many gains if you running under 20 mpw.

                             

                            Agree with this post 100 percent.

                             

                            02-22  Grandmaster 50

                            05-22. Birthday miles

                            10-22  St. George Marathon 

                             


                            Train SMART

                              12/12/21

                              Average heart rate - 172 bpm

                              Mile 1 - 6:38 - 165 bpm

                              Mile 2 - 7:01 - 173 bpm

                              Mile 3 - 7:25 - 176 bpm

                              21:59  / 7:01 average mile

                               

                              1/1/22

                              Average heart rate 175

                              Mile 1- 6:29 - 169 bpm

                              Mile 2 - 6:51 - 176 bpm

                              Mile 3 - 7:12 180 bpm

                              21:17 / 6:50 average mile

                               

                              Thank You

                               

                              Jay

                              To piggy back off my previous post. Speed is not your issue if 6:30 pace feels easy/comfy that first mile. But it is too aggressive.  Your limiting factor is stamina and endurance. When you have an 8 oz glass of water it doesn't matter if it's water, milk, cream or cottage cheese...you still only have 8 oz. For you, no matter how you tweak 15 miles a week, it is still 15 miles a week. When you improve your base and endurance, you can hold closer to that "too fast of start". Running a positive split will never give you your best race times. Smarter race strategy is how you can improve in short term.

                              Run Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training.

                              mikeymike


                                You're running 16 miles per week? Forgot all of this other stuff. If you want to run a successful 5k, you need to get your mileage to 30 mpw (at the minimum that is). That alone is going to make a huge difference in your times. No matter what workouts you do, you will not see that many gains if you running under 20 mpw.

                                 

                                What's the significance of 30? Isn't the minimum mileage needed hightly dependent on the individual and their definition of a successful 5k? Jay wants to run 20:40 and can already run 21:17 despite bad pacing.

                                 

                                Obviously building a bigger aerobic base will improve 5k performance. But hundreds of thousands of high school cross country runners (and this washed up 50+ year old hobby jogger) can easily run a 20:40 off of less than 20 miles per week.

                                 

                                Jay, I see that 7-months ago you ran a 4-miler at the same pace you just ran your New Years day 5k. You're probably a lot closer to 20:40 shape than you think. And if I had to guess, you probably do more than run--you're way fitter than the average 48-year-old for only running 16 miles a week.

                                 

                                Smarter pacing will get you most of the way there. I agree with the general sentiment of the group that you would get your biggest bang for your buck by just running more. Even adding one more easy 4 mile run per week would probably make a big difference.

                                Runners run

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