These are the three types of workout that you need to be doing to prepare for a fast 5k.
Easy: you cannot get better at running unless you go out and run, right? Right. The quickest way to build up your 5k fitness is to become comfortable with running up to six miles at an easy pace. You should do this once a week at a comfortable, conversational pace. Let’s say you are training for a race that is five weeks away. You will want to progress these easy endurance runs by one mile a week. Start with three miles, four, five, six, and back to three the week of the race.
Moderate: this includes your tempo runs which are important because they build your stamina. It is necessary to have stamina because this is what allows you to run fast for an extended period of time. When you run a tempo workout you should be going at a pace that is out of your comfort zone. No talking allowed, in this zone. Examples of this workout include:
- 2 minutes hard, 4 minutes easy
- 2 miles at tempo pace followed by a 10 minute run at race pace
- 30 minute progressive build
Hard: Intervals are necessary for 5k training. If you want to run fast, you will need to practice fast…at least once a week. Intervals are best done on a track or on a route where you can easily tell half or quarter mile distances. With Map My Run and Garmin watches, it has become easy to track distances. Interval reps that you should focus on during 5k training include: 200’s, 400’s, and 800’s. Through the course of your training, the amount of reps that you run should increase. For example, if you run 6×200’s the first week of training, you should run 10 reps by week three.
Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’. – Paul Tergat