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What is the best way to increase my 5k speed and how much time should I wait between competitive 5k's?

asked over 3 years ago | Report

I have never been athletic at all. I always skipped P.E. In school growing up. I am now 39 years old, 123lbs and 5"5'. I just started running for the first time in my life 8 weeks ago and discovered that I absolutely love running and wish I had discovered it sooner. I just ran my first 5k and am so disappointed in my time. I ran almost the whole thing, I estimate about 2-3 minutes walking throughout. My time was 36.08. My next 5k is in about 3 months. What is the best way to train in order to increase my 5k speed and finish with a better time? Also is 3 months adequate time to train between races?

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  • The general plan is a combination of training. A little bit of Interval Training, a bit of Hill training, and a distance training.

    Intervals - this can be done several ways depending on what gear you have and should be done once a week. The generally most efficient way is to use Heart Rate as your guide. The idea is to run/sprint until you HR gets up to about 90% of Max, stay there for a minute then back off to a walk or real easy run (so that your HR will get down to the 110 to 120 BPM range. One there, keep walking for 30 to 60 seconds then repeat this cycle 3 to 5 times. Alternately, you can set a time for the sprint and walk segments based on how quickly you become "winded" while sprinting. And the last alternative is to use distance. The purpose of this work is to develop longer sprints and improve metabolic recovery. It also ultimately helps speed.

    Hills - this can be done a number of ways and also once a week. but the basic idea is to run up and down hills repetitively. I use a route that has a number of up and down hill sections. The concept here is to push yourself up the hills and take it easy coming down. The purpose of this work is to build strength and metabolic recovery.

    Distance or Pace runs - this is really about pushing yourself to "go the distance" and also should be done once a week. Its accomplished several ways. One way is to run at a pace that puts your HR in the 70% to 80% of max range for as long as you can. (for example: I run my distance runs keeping my HR in the 140 to 150 range for the entire duration. The alternative is way to measure this is pace or time. As a general rule, if you can hold a conversation without getting winded or needing to catch your breath while running you're likely at the right pace. This works on metabolic conditioning.

    Combine these with other non-running workouts and you should see improvements.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Bo gives good advise on the speed aspect. There are some beginner or intermediate training programs out there to follow.

    An example training week is:
    Monday interval workout.
    Tuesday easy run or cross training (ie weights) or rest
    Wednesday run at a comfortable pace for 3 or 4 miles
    Thursday hills
    Friday cross training or rest
    Saturday long slow run of 5 to 6 miles.
    Sunday rest.

    A lot of this is predicated on your current training level now, mainly how much you workout.and how often.

    Go to runnersworld.com or goggle Hal Higdon and you can find some training schedules there.

    As far as time between 5K races you can do one once a week easy. Most cross country teams in high school will run 2 or 3 meets a week.and they usually run 5k distance. (college is usually 10k if I remember right). The body can handle it if your training is there.
    I picked running back up after being off for about 20 years. I started the end of July and have run 4 races at the 5k level (the last 2 I also ran the mile fun run with my 7 year old daughter) I could have done more of them but this schedule has been fine for me as I can get some good training in in between to help improve my times. My first race (coming off a bit of an injury) I did it in the 29's, the next was in the 28's, 3rd was 27:34 and this last one on a tougher course and in tougher weather conditions was 27:02

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I'm not an expert, but was in the same boat as you in May. I had just finished my first 5k and was happy to have finished but really wanted a faster time. I tend to do a lot of intervals and or speed training. I did the couch to 5 program a few times, picking up the speed a little with each program. I found that even though I didn't run a hundred percent of my training runs, the intervals and speed work got me to a point that when I did my next 5k I was able to run all of it at a steady pace and shaved 3 1/2 minutes off my original time. Listen to your body and set small goals for yourself. I have a nike wristband that will show me my pace and that works well for when I want to make sure I'm consistent. Calculate your pace from your 5k, then set a goal to better your pace a little bit. If you feel like you're pushing too hard, pull back a little bit.

    I also recommend checking out www.jeffgalloway.com He has a lot of good resources and tips. Hope this helps.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Great job on your first 5K! Don't be disappointed, that's a great start. And 3 months is more than adequate. Set yourself a specific goal that you want to train toward! I'd suggest a 10 min/mile pace (31 minute 5K) or maybe try to break 30 minutes.

    Bo's advice is spot on. Focus 3 weekly runs on each of 3 components:

    1 run focused on speed/cardio efficiency, either with short intervals or a longer distance run at goal race pace. There are a lot of variations here: Bo suggests sprinting. You can also set a goal pace for your race and run your intervals at that pace. You can also do 3 miles, with the middle mile at your goal pace.

    1 run focused on strength, either up and down hills or along a hilly route. It's best if you warm up a little bit before hitting the hills.

    1 run focued on endurance, going longer than 5K so that 5K seems "short" and "easy". Increasing to about 5 or 6 miles (slow, conversational pace) is great for 5Ks. Slowly increase your long run distance by no more than 10% each week... should take about 6 weeks to get up to that distance.

    If you put in more mileage, just run it at a conversational pace. Overall it will improve your running efficiency (less effort for the same distance).

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • 3 months is adequate. First do light warm up exercises before running. Do good stretching exercises after the run so as to keep away from injury. You should have a planned weekly schedule. just see my schedule which may give an idea. Strenthening your lower & upper body on differant days should be a routine .

    jayaraman

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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