5K Advice

Welcome! Forums Running Forum 5K Advice

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 12 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #5627

    BG Daddy

    I need some 5K training advice.

    History: Started running 5 years ago, very unstructured training until 90 days ago but have always ran 45+ weeks, just not structured. 41 year old male, 6’2” 205, not fat, very athletic build but am trying to lean down to 185-190 to help reach goals. 19:26 5K PR last year at 211 lbs. with 0 speed work.

    Goal: Run consistent low 18’s form March to November next year for Grand Prix Series @ 185 to 190 lbs.

    Problems: Race pace all over the map. Week to week I may go from 5:50 first mile to 6:30. Seem to get stuck in gear about 2 mile mark and can't turn over and push the pace.

    Current Program:
    Mon Easy 6-8
    Tues 5 X 1,000  3:35-3:45
    Wed Easy 3-4 or Rest and Cross Train ( Swim, Lift)
    Thurs Temp 4 Miles @ 6:20-6:30
    Fri Easy 4-5 Striders
    Sat 5K Race Most Weeks or 2X 2 Mile Time Trials
    Sun Long 12-14

    Any advice of current program would be appreciated. Ran 19:485K last week on very tough course. Went out in 5:50 and obviously the time reflects what happened after that.

  • #21771


    1st of all, welcome to the Forum BG Daddy! You will get a lot of great advice from people who are good runners and great people.

    Looking at your 'structured approach' from the last 90 days, you are doing speedwork. Is it appropriate? It depends on if you are pointing towards peaking for a goal race or races. But holding that peak for 2-3 months is difficult at best. Having said that, I can think of a couple of ways to prepare for a series of races that will commence in 5 months time, and last for 6-7 months:

    1. Maybe take some time off first may be good, especially if you're nearing the end of the current Grand Prix series. 2-3 weeks of light, easy runs and at least 2 days off a week can do wonders to get you out of a rut. Then you can begin to…

    2. Build your base. You say you've run 45+ mpw for several years now. That's great consistent mileage, especially for 5-10k racing. For the next five months you should try to duplicate that, without any real thought to running at a fast pace. If you feel good, then push the run, if you don't, then slow down and recover. Perhaps a schedule like this would work:

    Mon  6-8
    Tue  6-8
    Wed rest or cross train
    Thu  6-8
    Fri  6-8
    Sat  6-8
    Sun 12-14
    This may seem boring, but you're laying a foundation that you can build upon.

    3. You are doing 3 substance workouts a week (Tue, Thu and Sat). That may be too much, especially if you want to run well in a series of races for 6-8 months, That is why building a base is so important. As you progress with your base, you can start to add structured faster stuff to your workouts, like strides, pickups, tempos and later on track intervals or repeats. If all of your races are 5k, then speed is important, but remember, the 5k is still something like 90% aerobic conditioning. Perhaps someone else can suggest some specific workouts to target, but if you want to be at an overall good fitness level for 6-8 months, then you need to have the solid base, and do sharpening workouts to prepare for each race, and maybe some tapering right before the race as well.

    4. Develop pacing workouts that will help you run better, more consistent splits thoughout your races. If you are in fact doing 4 mile tempo runs @ 6:20-6:30 pace, you should be able to handle something like 2×2 miles @ 6:00 pace with a slow mile jog recovery in between. But again, I wouldn't worry about this until after you've build up your base.

    5. Depending on how many races there are, don't be afraid to mix it up and run some races of diferent lengths, like 8k/5m or even 10k.

    So to make a long story short, don't be afraid to take a step back, and run slower miles to prepare for the long haul. When this advice was given to me 8 years ago, I was running 3,4 or 5 workouts a week where I was pounding out hard tempo runs and not getting much faster when I ran races. Then I learned some aspects of periodization (Ryan can explain better than I), and began running more and more miles and faster races.

    Good luck to you and again, welcome to the board!


  • #21772

    BG Daddy

    I really appreciate the welcome and advice Peter. Definitly a change from typical forums. Obvoiusly seems like sound advice that I will put into motion. The thought of pounding out intervals in the dead of a midwest winter sounds like a recipe for burnout anyway.

    I do have a Dec 2nd 5K that I want to run well. What do you think about your schedule with maybe 1 interval day a week until Dec 2nd and then just log miles and build base until spring.

    Again, I appreciate the response

  • #21773


    BG Daddy, Peter offered some good advice. As for his reference of periodization, I wrote this article about this topic that is as good as anything I could write up for this topic right now.

    I would only add one thing to Peter's comments.  You're not looking for a peak, you're looking for a plateau. Personally, the first thing I thought when I looked at your schedule is that's a lot of intensity. You're doing 3 days a week of speedwork or racing, plus a long run and a day with strides. That's 5 days a week of running either fast or long. That's a lot! This summer, I attempted 4 days a week of running either fast or long and I found it to be too much. Also, I'm no expert on plateauing and I won't pretend to be but I've been told the key to a plateau is to do even less intensity and maintain it for a longer time.

    Based on what I know of attempting a plateau, once the base phase is over, I'd suggest something along the line of the following. Maybe others who have attempted to plateau for a summer road race season could comment further on it.

    Monday: Easy
    Tuesday: Workout (alternating tempo run or long repeats with shorter repeats like the 1000s)
    Wednesday: Easy/off/cross-train
    Thursday: Easy with strides
    Friday: Easy (switch strides from Thursday to Friday if you like doing strides the day before a race)
    Saturday: Race or long run
    Sunday: Easy or long run (try to do a long run 2-3 times a month, if you're racing too frequently to run long at least twice a month on Saturdays supplement with some very easy paced long runs on Sundays to get yourself up to 2 per month)

    I would also suggest at least starting your shorter repeats on alternating Tuesdays at goal race pace. Work on teaching yourself to start at race pace.

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