Thursday, December 4, 2014

Planning to PR a 5k

When it comes to training for a half marathon or other longer distances, it's mostly about mileage - both long run and weekly total mileage. Sure, you should work in some speed work and tempo runs, especially if you're trying to PR. And I suppose once you're gunning for say, a 1:30 half, you probably have to do more specific training. But mostly, for beginner and back-of-the-pack runners, it's about getting used to (or re-used to) the total time on your feet and endurance to maintain a reasonably brisk pace for that long period of time.

For a 5k, however, if there is a similar straight-forward concept for setting a new PR (beyond just: do speedwork), I'm not sure what it is. I'd like to not only set a new PR (currently 33:32 - 10:48 pace), but one of my 30 Before 30 goals is to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I turn 30 at the end of January.

29:59 = 9:39 pace = set goal pace at 9:30 to allow some cushion.

Well, since my fastest single mile pace recently is 10:02, and my fastest as an adult is 9:55 (about 18 months ago), I don't think I'm quite ready to run 3.1 miles at a 9:30 pace a month from now. I do, however, think I can aim for significantly below my current PR - I'm setting my goal for the New Year's First Run at a 10:00 pace (31:04). Depending on how that race goes, I'll evaluate whether I can find another 5k prior to the end of January to actually aim for the sub-30.

It's always been hard for me to adjust my pace for shorter distances - I tend to just go out at a comfortably brisk pace regardless of distance (not so good with making myself be uncomfortable); increasing that pace slightly for short races, but not by nearly as much as I know I should. Greg McMillan's website has a calculator to estimate what you should be capable of at different distances, relative to one distance that you have done. (Obviously, this is just a guideline - some people's bodies are better made for speed or for distance, which will make one end of the spectrum easier than the other. But they're good guidelines.)


Source - input current mile time and goal 5k time.

My plan is to do two speed workouts each week: one interval (0.25 mile repeats) and one tempo. Setting goal times for those workouts beginning with the "current times" that I should be capable of based on my mile time, and decreasing the workout time goals each week to move towards the "goal times" necessary to hit that 5k time.

I only have four weeks until the upcoming race, but already nailed the first week 1 interval workout - actually got all four intervals under a 9:00 pace! 

Week 1 
Interval: 1 wu, 4 x 0.25 @ 9:00 (2:15), 1 cd
Tempo: 1 wu, 2 @ 10:40, 1 cd

Week 2
Interval: 1 wu, 4 x 0.25 @ 8:30 (2:08), 1 cd
Tempo: 1 wu, 2 @ 10:20, 1 cd

Week 3
Interval: 1 wu, 4 x 0.25 @ 7:55 (1:59), 1 cd
Tempo: 1 wu, 2 @ 9:55, 1 cd

Week 4
Interval: 1 up, 4 x 0.25 @ 7:20 (1:50), 1 cd
Tempo: 1 wu, 2 @ 9:30, 1 cd

What's your best tool for PRing at shorter distances?

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