Running a Faster 5km

5km Training - Run a Faster 5km

Running fast 5k races requires both speed and endurance (The 5km is believed to be between 95-99% aerobic ). The vast majority of the energy comes from the aerobic system, running a good 5k, you will be very close to the upper limit of your aerobic capacity.

As such the a vast majority of your training should be focused on aerobic training. This does not mean, we do not run at 5km pace, it means the majority of work will be to improve your lactate Threshold and endurance. You will run at 5km pace once per week, say 6 x 1000m intervals at 5km pace with 60secs rest between intervals.

It is easy for a runner overemphasizing either the speed or endurance components of training– typically runners tend to over train their strengths, lets be honest, this is too easy to do. You must stay focused however, any specific training is difficult and  training for a 5k is specific training. There are a number of areas to focus on as follows...

  • A good base of miles - long slow runs at 80% effort. This training should be between 75% and 80% of total training. This may be made up of 1 long run of say 90mins with other 60mins runs.
  • LT run, typically a 60min run with 60min run with middle 20mins run at LT pace. Or 60min run with 10mins @ LT pace, with 5mins easy running between.
  • 20% of work should be intervals. This is one example - 8 x 800m @ 3km pace, recovery of 60, 45, 60, 45, 60, 45, 60secs.

When a runner does an interval session, one reason to do these is to not just replicate running at race pace but to replicate the intensity. The majority of runners run intervals too quick and have a longer recovery. Slow these down a little and have a shorter recovery, this helps to replicate the intensity of a 5km race. A good example of such an interval session would be 5 or 6 x 1000m @ 6 seconds faster than race pace, with a 90secs jog recovery

5k Training Sessions

Intervals Interval Target Pace Recovery
10-50 x 400m @ 5k pace 60secs
8 x 800m 8 secs quicker than 5k pace 60secs
5 x 1000m 5 secs quicker than 5k pace 60secs
4 x 1200m 5 secs quicker than 5k pace 90secs
3 x 1500m 8 secs quicker than 5k pace 3mins

Putting a 5km training plan together...HERE

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