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How much mileage for competitive 5k? (Read 1808 times)


I've got a fever...

    I'm looking ahead to 2008, when I hope to be back down to racing weight, in shape, and hamstring fully healed. I've been looking at 5k training plans. I checked out the advanced 5k plan on CoolRunning. It makes sense for the most part, and the speedwork had me salivating. But the mileage? My question is: do you really need to run 50~60 miles a week to race a 16-minute range 5k? your fastest possible 5k I'm not looking to weasel out of the miles, it's just more a matter of time (or lack thereof). It seems to me like you could do their speedwork, run about 35~40 mpw, and be just as successful in such a short race. Your thoughts? Jeff

    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.

    muse_runner


    keep running.

      I have no idea but I am close to 50 miles a week sometimes and I can't touch a 16 minute 5k for the life of me. Then again I haven't run a 5k in about 10 months
      running until I hit 1900 miles for the year. whether fast or slow I will just run.


      I've got a fever...

        I have no idea but I am close to 50 miles a week sometimes and I can't touch a 16 minute 5k for the life of me. Then again I haven't run a 5k in about 10 months
        Well, you make a good point. Times differ for everyone, so my generalized question should be: do you need to 50~60 mpw to run your fastest possible 5k, or can you do the same speedwork and run less miles?

        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.

        muse_runner


        keep running.

          Experimentation in progress.... Wink
          running until I hit 1900 miles for the year. whether fast or slow I will just run.
            I am 37. I would need to run at least that much to run sub-17 5K, a feat I could easily accomplish on 30 mpw as a 17 year old. Actually that is one of my goals for 2008 as well, but then I could probably run 17:45-ish right now. You may be one of those genetic freaks who can improve really fast but based on where you're at now, 16 minutes in 2008 seems a bit aggressive. How long has it been since you ran a 16-ish minute 5K? Actually at my age, and with what I'm looking to get out of running at this point in my life (i.e., it's not one of the top 3 priorities in my life but it is something I enjoy working at) 50-60 mpw is sort of the minimum I need to run to be able to race well at all distances.

            Runners run.

              do you need to 50~60 mpw to run your fastest possible 5k, or can you do the same speedwork and run less miles?
              I would say that to run your best possible 5K, as in meeting your genetic potential for the event, you need to run MUCH more that 50-60 mpw. Look at the training the best 5K runners in the world or in the US do. It's more than double that.

              Runners run.


              I've got a fever...

                I am 37. I would need to run at least that much to run sub-17 5K, a feat I could easily accomplish on 30 mpw as a 17 year old. Actually that is one of my goals for 2008 as well, but then I could probably run 17:45-ish right now. You may be one of those genetic freaks who can improve really fast but based on where you're at now, 16 minutes in 2008 seems a bit aggressive. How long has it been since you ran a 16-ish minute 5K?
                Well, the last time I was in sub-17 territory was 1995, so yeah, I may be setting my goals too high and/or too soon. At that time at age 24, I went from almost no running and 204 lbs to 173 lbs and sub-17 in about 6 months. Now at age 36, I'm hoping to replicate that feat, but over say an 18-month time-span. I'm no genetic freak, but I'm think there's still a pretty fast dude buried underneath the layers of flab. Put it this way -- I'm running low miles right now, b/c I don't want to pound my overweight body into submission, but once I get under 190 or so (I'm 207 now, down from 220 in January), I hope to ratchet it up. My question is, how does a mid-week 10-miler and a weekend 12-miler (as per that schedule) really help you run a fast 5k, regardless of age? Then again, I see your point about what mileage the elite folks do, so who knows. Appreciate your feedback. Cheers, Jeff

                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.

                  Jeff the 5K is "fast" compared to a marathon but it is still a mostly aerobic event. For an elite running a 5K, 93% of the energy used is aerobic, compared to the marathon which is 99%. For you and I the 5K is even more than 93% aerobic. 10 and 12 milers help you maximize your aerobic fitness, which by the way, makes you better able to get value from the speedwork. You would have better results from doing higher mileage and NO speedwork than from doing lower mileage and more speedwork.

                  Runners run.


                  I've got a fever...

                    For you and I the 5K is even more than 93% aerobic. 10 and 12 milers help you maximize your aerobic fitness, which by the way, makes you better able to get value from the speedwork. You would have better results from doing higher mileage and NO speedwork than from doing lower mileage and more speedwork.
                    Well, I'm not sure about no speedwork, since a 5k is run above lactate threshold, but your point about aerobic fitness is well-taken. Hopefully by this time next year I can find the time to squeeze some more miles out...

                    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.

                      I would honestly do no speedwork for quite a while. It would only increase your risk of injury with very little return. The following sounds oversimplified but it actually works in real life: It takes years to really build an aerobic base, but the benefits of that base last a long time. Whereas the benefits from doing speedwork (like VO2max intervals etc.) happen quickly but are short lived. Often 6-8 workouts over 8-12 weeks is all you need to get everything you possibly can out of your current aerobic base--then you level off and show no improvement or even start going backwards, if you've let your base erode. But (and here's why it's so tantalizing) those 6 or 8 workouts may yield a performance bump of as much as 5% at the 5K distance. So if you can run a 20:00 5K now, you might be able to chop as much as a minute off with speedwork and get to 19:00. Wow, that's pretty good, right? Which is why people get seduced by speedwork. But if you're goal is 16:30, then who cares if you can run 19:00 now? You won't be doing anything to make 16:30 happen faster and your risk of injury would go up exponentially. You'd be better off doing no speedwork--just as much mileage and tempo as you can--for as long as it takes until you can run 17:20 off of just that. Then take that base and sharpen a point on it with 2-3 months worth of weekly speedwork sessions and get your 16:30. That's not to say you should do all slow jogging. Strides once or twice a week, some informal fartleks once in a while and an impromptu tempo run "to the barn" when you're feeling it are all good things. But doing VO2max interval type stuff right now is like buying curtains for your master bedroom before you've even poured the foundation for the house.

                      Runners run.


                      I've got a fever...

                        mikeymike, This is fanfrickingtastic advice. I had been looking at the CoolRunning 5k schedule as something I may try to use next year, but your points about mileage and aerobic base-building reinforced the fact that there is absolutely no need to rush into speedwork. When I look back at my own training, I realize my best summer of road racing came after a semester's worth of 60~70 mile weeks. There was lots of interval work, but I don't think it was a fluke that good results came off of a strong aerobic base. I'm an interval junkie. I love speedwork. I love hitting the track. Some of my all-time favorite running memories involve me staggering around the infield of an empty track dry-heaving. But your post reminded me that I won't benefit from that kind of running if I rush into it unprepared. Here's to fall '08. And a lot of base-building and strength training between now and then. Cheers, Jeff

                        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.


                        Prophet!

                          IBut doing VO2max interval type stuff right now is like buying curtains for your master bedroom before you've even poured the foundation for the house.
                          seriously mikeymike, where do you come up with this stuff...you come up with some of the best running analogies ever... Excellent advice as usual and it makes a whole lotta sense.