Improving Your 5K


What is your biggest tip for improving your 5K? (Read 3344 times)


    One more important thing to consider:  make your easy days easy and your hard days hard(er).  It's something lots of people struggle with.  It's easy to let yourself go harder than you should on rest days and then let yourself slack a little on your hard workout days. 



      Hoping to get back near my college racing fitness of a few years ago.  My problem is trying to get through tough workouts alone.  I'm so used to working out with a team, with a coach, and a very competitive atmosphere.  Any former competitive runners have advice on this transition?



       I probably have a much wider gap of years (15-16) between college racing fitness and now.  I can say its more difficult to do the tough workouts alone.  I haven't done intervals in awhile and have just recently inserted some tempo runs and strides back into my schedule (until the big snows hit - haven't been outside much).  I agree with you.  For one thing, the track isn't right across the street anymore nor do you have the company/entertainment of several other folks dying in the tough workouts with you.  I HATED track intervals and now that I don't have a coach telling me I have to do them today?  Well, I don't do them.

      My advice is to get it on paper and write the updates as you do them.  It just looks so much better when you're halfway down the list.  I have to talk myself into it like "3 quarters down, 3 to go" or I have the tendency to cut out the last ones.  Also you can focus more on your pace and how your turnover feels rather than whether you're ahead or behind someone else on the interval.

      If you still need the company talk to some folks at local races who are finishing up in the pack and see they want some company for track workouts.  Even if you can't run the intervals together at pace at least you can do the warmups and cooldowns and talk in between.

        I like to race 8 months out of year. I think high volume fast interval speed work has its place especially if you are higher mileage runner or are peaking for a key race. If you want to race for weeks, months, you can't be pounding away for many months. What has helped me tremendously is Critical Velocity (CV reps). I am a low mileage runner  (20-25/wk) - always will be. Now that I am healthier, I will incorporate this into a mid week longer run followed by shorter faster reps.


        Work up to 6 - 8 X 1K at around a pace you can run a 10K (the day of work out) give or take based on your level. Attached below is a chart from Tinman (Tom) on his site and also an article by him explaining CV reps. This is a pace you can do year round just adjusting volume and rest.


        In offseason I may run 3 X 1K or 4 X 800M (with 2 min) rest followed by 6 X 100M fast, 3 X 200M fast, 4 X 30 sec hill surges. As goal race approaches or in season, gradually progress to 6 X 1K (enough on my low miles) at 10K effort working down toward a 75-90 sec rest between followed by a max of 5 X 200M fast with full recovery. This is enough speed work for me (and most others) and allows me to maintain my base and race often without breaking down. Every 3rd week or within my long run I will run a slow tempo of 4-5 miles at marathon pace (enough on my low miles).



        Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!


          For me the standard basics:  base building mileage and building to intervals of 1 and 2 mile.  The interval building starts with shorter intervals: 400, 800, 1200 - but none that take longer than 5:00 minutes. 

          Last summer (2009) I PR'd in August in Florida @ 19:38 (55-59 age group)


          Life got in the way and I just started training again in February.  I am trying to be smarter, run some on grass and tread Mill along with road and at least one cushioned trainer in my shoe rotation (was just using performance trainers like Brooks Axiom and Ravenna (10.0oz) now have one pair Saucony Guide 2 (12oz)).


          Milage was mid 40s (max 57).