Improving Your 5K


Not sure what to do next. (Read 547 times)

    Hi, New to the group and was looking for a little advice. First of all, I'm 38 years old and have been running for 24 years, have a 5000m PR of 15:41 (ran back in my college days). I know by this time I should know what to do with regards to 5k training, but I always have a hard time putting all the elements together since I haven't had a real coach in years. I completed my first race of the season today with a 19:40 5k over a pretty hilly course and in hot/humid conditions. I'm competing in a local race series that includes 7 races ranging from 5ks to one 10 mile race. It started today (June 14th) and finishes with a 5 miler in November. A lot of training programs out there focus on getting ready for one goal race during a season. I've been referring to Daniel's Running Formula a lot and it's a great book, but again seems to point towards a goal race. How can one train to be competative over a season lasting a couple of months? Is it even possible? Love to get my 5k times down to the low 18s. The closest I came last year was 18:34, so I think it's not too unrealistic a goal. Would also like to be competative over the 5 mile distance and that one 10 mile race. Am I asking too much here? Thanks in advance for any input! Chris

    Person of Interest

      This season, I'm in the low 18s for the 5k and ~64 mins for the 10miler. That lines up well with the McMillan running calculator race "predictions". My advice is to train for the longer race but mix in speedwork sessions appropriate to an upcoming shorter race. I used a combination of Hal Higdon and Coolrunning Training programs first for an off season HM, then 10k then 10 miler, simply because that's how my races fell. I dovetailed them together and made tweaks to fit my schedule and abilities. My current marathon training is Pfitz 18/70. Also, if you have a solid base you can training through most of your 5k races with no/minimal taper.
      "Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is."

      I've got a fever...

        You sound really similar to me. I ran 16:24 in high school, am 37 now, and ran a 19:42 a few months ago. Looking at your log briefly, it looks like we both also need more miles. You had about 140 miles in April, and that's probably where we need to both be at a minimum to get our times down. I don't have advice about a particular program, but I imagine that we can both get into the low 18s when we can start doing 40+ miles per week.

        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 guys for the response. The theme that I've been hearing (and it's real good advice) is to safely get my mileage up and train for the longer races. I did a 10 miler last night and it felt real good. Was training for a marathon about 10-12 years ago and was putting in 15 to 20 milers on a regular basis. Today I look back and wonder how the heck I did that. Would love to get back to running 15 miles comfortably. I think the race times would really go down also.

            You can put together a plan that will build your foundation, but that will allow you to "tune up" or "tune down" as the case may be for the series. Coincidently, there was just an article in Runners World (June 2008) if you are looking for a summary of the nuts and bolts but it tt sounds like you already have the basics. . . Long run included. Happy running.
              For me, my key workout is my long run, whether I'm training for 800m or ½ marathon. When I'm training well, it's once a week at 20km+, and I'm good to go. After that, I'm usually trying either one other quality workout when I'm in a buildup phase, and two others in a tuning phase. I know that's less than most people, but that's me. I did a lot more structured stuff on the track this year because I got a coach to work with through the military, but I stopped my tempo stuff in order to keep enough easy days in my schedule. If you're racing a lot, which is sounds like you are, the big thing is to not taper or ease up at all for all those races. Count the race as a quality day, and make sure you do a warm up of at least a couple K, and fill in some cool down running at the end. You can do that to your track and tempo days too, I think my best was 19km on a speed day by extending the warm up and cool down. It worked for me then, mainly because I couldn't do doubles without getting injuries at the time, I do that less now. Good luck, and I'm hoping to match that PR you've got there. It's actually exactly my goal, strangely enough, as it won the Canadian Military Championships this year.