Improving Your 5K


What does your training schedule look like? (Read 1056 times)

    Okay, so this user group has been kind of lax in the posting. Since people that belong to it should actually be trying to improve their 5K times - how are you trying to do it? What is your training schedule like? How many miles? How much speedwork if any? Are you doing just a lot of slow miles to build base? How often are you racing? These are not just questions to be answered, but just some examples of what we actually should probably be discussing here. I'll start. I started the year with a 5KPR of 21:00 that I did back in September, 2007. My goal is to try to break that elusive 20:00 barrier this year. So I hired myself an online coach. It really isnt that I didnt know what to do to make myself faster but more that I find I work harder and longer if I actually have to report back to someone on a daily or weekly basis. So the first step on my road to a new PR was hiring the coach. With that came more miles. I used to run between 20-25 miles per week. My coaches schedule that he set me up on immediately pushed me up to 35mpw and sometimes 40. There was one long run each week and one speed session (trackwork or hills). To top it all off I also decided to start streaking (no, not running naked) and am currently up to 183 days of continuous running. What I did was to take my normal running schedule and then on days when I would normally not run at all, I go out and run 1-2 miles. I even set up a user group called "A Mile A Day" ( and we have about 20 people that are doing this. So for 3 months I kept to my coach's schedule to a tee - pushing through some pretty tough workouts and running every day. I ran a few 5Ks here and there (there is a weekly 5K series near my house) and dropped a few seconds off my PR. Then in March I dropped my 5K time down to 20:16. It wasnt the sub-20 I was looking for but it was still a pretty good improvement. Now I am kind of switched over to marathon trainnig for a Fall marathon but am still hopeful to break the 20 minute barrier by the end fo the year. I have upped my miles even more now that my long runs are up in the 16-18 mile range and currently am pulling in 45-50 miles per week AND I just finished my first 200 mile month. I still do one long run on the weekends and one hard speed session during the week. The rest of the week is mixed with a few 1-2 mile runs for my streak and the rest are easy 6-10 milers. I am also doing USATF- New England Grand Prix race series which is a series of 7 races through out the year - next is a 10 miler at the end of July but I will effectively have one race a month till the marathon in October. My plan now is to just keep my base up high and I may taper off a bit with more speedwork at the end of August/beginning or September as the 5K that I PRed in last year approaches and hopefully will drop some more time. So here is last week's running - each week is pretty much teh same, just different distances each day but usually between 45-50mpw: Sunday - LONG (18 miles) Monday - RECOVERY (6 miles) Tuesday - REST (2 miles) Wednesday - EASY (10 miles) Thursday - TRACK - 13x600s on 2:30 (7 miles total) Friday - EASY (8.5 miles) Saturday - REST (2 miles) Anyone else want to contribute?

    Person of Interest

      Started the year with a 5k PR of 18:51, set at my local turkey trot and 1 sec faster than a race the prior month. My 5k A race was in late April. The goal to average under 6mpm pace. Over the winter I trained for an out of state HM. I peaked at 45 miles and ran a lot of tempo runs and some intervals. Once done with HM, I transitioned to a 10k plan, which added more intervals. I dropped my long run down to 10 miles. During that time I ran a 8k PR. My 5k race was 2 weeks after the 10k A race. I added some more 400s and ladder intervals to peak for the 5k. I ran an 18:21 then an 18:27 a week later. My next race was a 10 miler in late May so I bumped my miles back up to ~40 mpm and got my long run back up to 13 miles. I did pretty well in the 10 mile race. I then rolled into the start of a marathon training program (Pfitz 18/70). I'm modifying the program to account for circuit races and track session with my running club. Anyway, I ran a circuit 5k (points for the team) with no rest in early June. I ran 18:15. I think I can get close to 18 on a flat course with rest. A week or so later I ran a hily 5 miler on little rest and matched my early season 8k pace. Very pleased since it was a tough course and a lot warmer than for 8k... Basically, my miles are way up and I'm putting in some solid track work, which is not ideal for the current phase of marathon training but it has helped my with my Spring circuit races in and around Chicago. Currently I'm running 50 - 60 mpm. Long run 17 miles and growing.
      "Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is."
        I have been running about 40 mpw since coming off marathon training/race... last week I cut back a bit... as I had a mild groin pull and then on sunday my knee acted up... I retired 2 pairs of shoes promptly on sunday... I have been following Daniel's 5-15k program... the last 3 weeks I did for speed work... week 1.) 5 x (2x200 with 200 jogs + 400 with 400 jog) week 2.) 10 x 400 with 400 jogs second session I did 3 miles at tempo week 3.) was suppose to do... 4x200 with 200 jogs then 2 x 400 then 1x800 then 2x400 then 4 x200 but my knee was bugging me so I cut it short after the 400 after the 800... my 400's are right around 1:33 ... my 800 was 3:06... I am hoping to run a 5k on july 4rth at right around 21:00 with the hopes of getting close to 20 or cracking it in aug.... after some intervals and more tempo work...
          This has been an interesting spring for me, I struggled during the early spring with flu bugs etc. and just wasn’t very strong for my first 5K back in March – 20:39 (6:39). Then on May 4th I ran 20:13 (6:31) and on May 11th I got back under 20 with a 19:54 (6:25) and on June 13th I ran a 3 miler in 19:09 (6:23). And of course there were a few other races thrown in the mix including Mt. Washington on June 21st – 7.6 miles “Only one hill” 1:39:55. I knew that I needed to incorporate some real speed work into my workouts so I am pretty much doing some intervals with a friend on Tuesday’s and some additional stuff on Saturdays with my running group. Of course there will be weeks where this will be light due to the summer racing schedule so we’ll see how this works out. Here’s what this past week looked like: Monday – Rest – Power Yoga Tuesday – 2.4 mile warm up 21:39 – 8 x .47 mile intervals w/1 min recovery jogs – 2:58 – 2:58 – 2:56 – 2:55 – 2:52 – 2:53 – 2:54 – 2:39 – .59 mile cool down 5:41. Wednesday – 5.02 miles easy – 44:07 (8:48) Thursday – 6.17 miles progressive – 48:11 (7:49) Friday – 5 miles easy - 43:30 (8:35) Saturday – 3.34 mile warm up - 28:27 (8:34), 2.2 mile tempo - 13:41 (6:47), 1 mile recovery - 1 mile hard - 14:36 - (7:16), 2.82 miles recovery - 22:07 (7:50) Amazing how a 7:50 pace for almost 3 miles seems easy after running a few hard miles! Big grin Sunday – 11.92 miles - 1:39:24 - (8:21) – recovery run at conversational pace for the most part. Total - 45.1 miles Eidted to add that I have a pretty tough 10K on July 4th which should be a pretty good indicator for where I Goal 5K is August 16th 2 weeks after the Beach to Beacon 10K which isn't nearly as tough a course as the LL Bean 10K I'll be running on the 4th.

          Prince of Fatness

            I haven't run a 5K in almost 2 years. My training has been going well this year (3 PRs in 3 races so far). So I figured I would run a couple of 5Ks over the summer just to see where I am. I think I am at the point where I could easily break 21 minutes, but sub 20 might be a reach. I am running a 5K Wednesday night, but it's in a park on cinder paths, so it's not the fastest course. I'll at least have a better idea of where I am with this distance. Races so far this year: 10K - 45:20 - early Feb HM - 1:39:51 - late Apr 5M - 34:14 - late May I've pretty much been holding in the upper 30's for weekly mileage for most of the year. A typical week looks like this: Mon - 6 easy Tue - off Wed - 9 with 5 @ tempo OR 8 mile trail run Thu - 6 easy Fri - 6 easy Sat - off Sun - 12 or so easy The tempo or trail run is the quality run for the week. I try to keep the effort up on the trails, even though the pace doesn't show it. I know I could easily get my mileage over 40 a week by adding a sixth day of easy running, but right now there's too many other things going on. I think the challenge for me will be learning how to race this distance, pacing, dealing with physical discomfort, etc. I'm conservative by nature so I don't bonk in too many races. The 5K is short enough that I can push the envelope and see what I have. Worst thing that happens is I run 22 minutes, right?


              What is your training schedule like? I am focusing on losing weight. My goals this summer are to weigh between 160 and 165 pounds (I weigh 169 now), run from my house to the end of the "Kennebec River Rail Trail" and back - about 18 miles (I have done 14 miles over the course), and compete a 100 day streak (I am on day 75!). I joined Jeff's "Mile a Day" group. How many miles? Five weeks ago, I dropped mileage from 40 mpw to 35. I was having problems with over-eating because of uncontrollable hunger pains. Since changing the mileage, I have done a better job, and have lost a couple pounds. How much speedwork if any? I have been doing a mixture of quality workouts over the last few months: 10 to 14 mile "long" runs, 4 to 5 mile tempo runs, 10 to 12 mile progression runs, 3 to 4 X 1K CV workouts, striders, and races. Are you doing just a lot of slow miles to build base? Yep, since January, here is a break down of the percentage of time I have spent in different heart rate zones: 2.56% Tempo (165 or greater heart rate) 0.74% Steady (161 - 164 heart rate) 3.04% Marathon Pace (157 - 160 heart rate) 5.59% Junk (151 - 156 heart rate) 11.42% Easy (144 - 150 heart rate) 25.74% Endurance (131 - 143 heart rate) 50.91% Recovery (130 or less heart rate) How often are you racing? I have been in a race once a month since February, but some of the races were not at race effort. I would say I truly only raced an April 5K (21:01) and a May 5K (20:51). My other races were more tempo type efforts: a 10 mile race in February (1:18:35), a 5K in March (23:01), and a 5 mile road race in June (36:37).
                My 5k PB is 18:20 (from last night!). This was my 1st 5k, though I did a 3 mile race last year. My currently training this year is at about 35 miles a week on average, which is way up from last year which was probably my 1st year training with any consistency. Usually I try to do 5 runs a week (sometime I only manage 4): 1-2 x easy runs (usually about 5 miles each) 1 x Long Run (usually 12-13 miles) 1 x Track Session (5 x 1k @ 3:48 with a few 200s @ 0:38 to finsh off, is my std session) 1 x 5 mile tempo at between 6:20 and 6:40p I'll probably do striders after the tempo run and maybe a second set another day. I take too many days off (2-3 a week) but I find it hard to fit in with other things going on. I felt a little under cooked for last nights race as my training has tailed off a tiny bit in the last couple of weeks. So far I've done a 1/2m this year (1:24:45) and my 1st marathon (3:11:25 - too few miles training in retrospect!). I only race a handful of times a year generally, only once a year before last year. I've based most of my training on stamina/edurance in the last 7-8 months. I did a half and a full VO2 session in the the last few weeks as this 5k approached, which I found pretty hard. I think I need to do a few more of these sessions to get used to the discomfort of the 5k before my next one (4th August), but I'm also cautious about losing stamina so I'll try and up to 6-7 1k intervals @ 10k pace to counter this. I'm sure I can go sub 18 with a few adjustments.

                I've got a fever...

                  I'm basically hiding out in the garage on the treadmill for the summer, doing base miles. My last race was Memorial Day, and I probably won't race again until Labor Day at least. My primary focus is on mid-to-late fall races. I'm running 4~6 days per week. I'm hoping to make that a consistent 6 and total around 150 miles for July. (May was 115, June was ~100, mainly due to a post-race funk). Also in July, I plan on adding: ▼once/week tempo run (strict traditional definition of tempo run which is solid 20 minutes at T-pace (88-92% maxHR), around 6:45/mi for me right now). ▼once/week hill run, either on the treadmill as a progression, or outside as repeats. I won't really start doing much VO2max work until September when things start cooling off. I race extremely well in cold weather, so I've actually got my eye on peaking for some November or December races.

                  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 have a goal of 15:50 for an Aug 23rd race. I have not run many 5k's (2 in my life) and am trying to cut about 1:30 off an old time from last yr. I'm trying to use some periodization in the training by doing hilly stuff for 4 weeks straight, then moving to the track. July (each week): 1 long run, hill repeats (20 X 400 meters), 2 real hilly runs, 6X1 mi repeats. 1 tempo run. Aug (each week): 1 long run, 6-7 X 1 mi repeats, 1 tempo run, 2X25X400 meters the rest of the running would be easy days with 10-15 minutes cut off one easy run for plyo's or stair climbs (basically bounding). I am betting on 400 meter repeats doing the trick and will test it sometime before the race. If not, then I might switch to 1k repeats with reduced repetitions for a similar cruise interval mileage or ladders. I'm hoping this all fits in nicely with training for a fall marathon where I'm hoping to extend the tempo runs to 12-13 mile range.
                    And you know sometimes it gets so painful Just like talking to yourself When everything don't seem to have no rhyme or reason We all go Do do loo do do, do do loo do do Waiting for the sun to shine

                    Prince of Fatness

                      I think I am at the point where I could easily break 21 minutes, but sub 20 might be a reach. I am running a 5K Wednesday night, but it's in a park on cinder paths, so it's not the fastest course. I'll at least have a better idea of where I am with this distance.
                      Back from the race. I ran 21:16. My hamstrings have been a little tender the last couple of days so I decided to go out conservatively. I ran the course easy beforehand to make sure I was good and warmed up. That definitely helped. I could feel the hamstrings, but they behaved themselves. Splits were 7:04, 6:48, 6:45, :39 (6:05). Because of the slow start I was picking off quite a few runners until settling in behind a group of 4 or 5 at about a mile and a half. Good news was that I was able to surge and drop them all with about 3/4 miles to go. They never caught me. The course was all cinder paths, with a couple of small but fairly steep hills. Not a PR course, but not bad either. Based on this I think sub 20 is a reach at least in the immediate future. I think I can get well under 21 minutes though. I'm going to back off of the intensity for the next couple of weeks, then see how the hamstrings are. When I race next will depend how I feel.


                        What is your training schedule like? Long run on Sunday Monday off Track workout on Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday I run about 5-6 miles each Thursday off How many miles? I've been right around 30 a week for the last three months, with a shorter week of 20-25 thrown in every four or five weeks for recovery How much speedwork if any? Track workouts every Tuesday. I run whatever my coach tells me to run! Are you doing just a lot of slow miles to build base? Not really. My long runs are slow, but I probably run a little too fast on the other days How often are you racing? I don't have a 5k until the end of August.
                          Splits were 7:04, 6:48, 6:45, :39 (6:05).
                          Nice negative splits in that race!!!

                          Prince of Fatness

                            Nice negative splits in that race!!!
                            Thanks Jeff, but I purposely went out slower to make sure my hamstrings would take it. Next time I'd like to run my splits evenly and try for under 20 21 minutes. I will admit it was fun picking off people once I picked the pace up. Wink MTA: Changed the 20 to 21. 20 is the long term goal. Next race I am going for sub 21.



                              I finally ran a race that embarrassed me enough to get back onto the wagon. I did a 5K Friday and finished in 21:41. Way, way, way off my PB from back in my 20s, but I shouldn't be that far off at 43. The big problem with the race is that I started at tempo-effort and never bothered to get into racing mode. I got out of racing due to my kids' activities. However, they are now at an age where I can start racing again. I'm currently at 192 pounds and would like to get back to about 165 on my 6'2" frame. In addition to watching what I eat, I'll be doing the following: 1. Running my runs instead of just coasting through. There's something to be said for recovery runs, but if that's all you do... 2. Adding 2 days of speed each week. It might in the form of hills or something, but I've got to shock the system in order to remind it that I need to be racing. I just need to relearn how to run aggressively. 3. Increase the miles. I'm currently around 35 per week. I will be running 6 miles on my daily runs with a 9-miler each week for the next 3 weeks. I'll then increase each run by 1-mile until I get to 8 miles/day with a 12-mile run for my long run. 4. I'll do a second workout most days. On some days, it'll be another 3-4 miles easy, or it could be a spin class, or weights. It beats going home and hitting the food while watching tv. I know it sounds aggressive, but I have 30 years of running under my belt and am really good at monitoring my body. I've only had 1 or 2 actual running injuries over that time, and that included several years of running 80-100 miles per week.

                              TRIing to beat the heat!

                                I am definitely the slow-poke of this group, but I thought I would share. Smile My current 5K PR is 28:19 set back in March '08 when I had only been running for a mere 3 months. I haven't raced a 5K since then b/c of triathlon training and a lack of 5K events in So. FL once the weather starts heating up. My goal for some point this year is to set a 5K PR (stand alone, not attached to a triathlon) in the 25 to 26-minute range. What is your training schedule like? My primary focus from late Spring/early Summer to mid-Fall is triathlon training. So for me, it's about finding a balance between training for all three disciplines. Running is my weak leg of the tri, so I tend to keep my tri training plans 'run focused'. My workouts usually go something like this: Monday: Long run Tuesday: Endurance focused swim + easy (or speed/hill) run Wednesday: Intervals on bike + spin class Thursday: Speed focused swim + easy run Friday: Strength training + easy (or speed/hill) run Saturday: Long bike (or "brick" workout if a tri is looming on the horizon) Sunday: REST How many running miles? During tri season, it's 20 miles a week for me. I'll take it up to 30 miles once tri season is over and I can focus on running. 'Hoping' to keep it at 30mpw when I enter tri season next year. How much speedwork if any? I tack strides onto just about every easy run that I do on the treadmill. I tend to be super focused on leg turnover b/c I don't consider myself a 'natural' runner. Left to my own devices, I would just poke along. Outdoors, I keep the easy runs totally easy unless I'm doing a dedicated fartlek session. I also do either a fartlek session or hill session each week. I haven't even attempted track work. I'm scared! Undecided Are you doing just a lot of slow miles to build base? Not right now. I'm 20 mpw and holding. My LSR is done every Monday (except for race week) and it's currently 8 miles long. I usually run easy another 2 days that same week. I'll will be adding base building miles in a few more weeks though as I have an Olympic distance tri (10K run) to prepare for in November. How often are you racing? I haven't raced a 5K since March '08. They are far and few between here in So. FL during the summer months. I was able to find one on August 9th and I plan on racing that. I will probably PR, but I'm not looking for a major one since the heat and humidity down here is nobody's friend. 5K race season starts up down here in November. I'm sure I'll race at least once a month, maybe more, starting then. Hoping for to reach my goal 5K time this winter when the weather is cooler and more favorable to running.

                                2012 Goals

                                Sub-1:42 for half marathon √ (1:41 at Disney, Jan '12)

                                Sub-22 for 5k √ (21:51 in Sept '12)

                                BQ for marathon- FAIL