Sunday, December 1, 2013

Faster 5K

The goal for me is to do a 5K race under 24 minutes.  Here are some guidelines for increasing speed with the goal of a sub-25 minute 5K.

Break 25 Minutes (from

The Pace 8:02 per mile

Who's up for it? Runners who regularly perform long runs of at least eight miles and can complete one all-out mile in about 7:25 to 7:45

Busting the 25-minute barrier marks you as a "serious" runner. It requires a commitment to more mileage and focused workouts, and can take a couple of years to achieve. "Your goal is to engage different types of muscle fibers every time you work out, which teaches your body to race," says Rea. That education includes workouts that prepare you to run negative splits, expose you to different terrain, and fortify your body for the rigors of running fast.

Exceed race pace: Running faster than goal speed "prepares you to run the first half of your 5K at a solid clip and pick it up in the second half," says Frank Gagliano, coach with the New Jersey-New York Track Club. Twice a week after easy or steady-pace runs do 10 x 200-meter cut-downs: Start at 5K pace and get slightly faster each time. The last effort will be fast. Jog 200 meters between each. Three weeks before race day, run a mile at goal pace, jog five minutes, then do 5 x 300 meters at 10 to 15 seconds faster than goal pace. Walk 100 meters between each.

Lose the junk: With a sub-25-minute goal, there's no room or time in your training plan for mindless running. Even steady-state, weekday runs should serve the ultimate purpose — prepping your energy systems to deal with the rigors of race day. "For example," says Rea, "every fifth minute, you should throw in a 30-second surge that's about five to 10 seconds per mile faster."

Build a strong engine: "To run fast, you have to be a pusher, and to push, you need a strong posterior chain," says Norman. A weak link in your glutes, hams, calves, or back forces other muscles to overcompensate and increases injury risk. Build strength by doing a weekly hill run. "Hills are a poor man's weight machine," says Rea. "They strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and hips." Supplement incline runs with twice-weekly body-weight exercises — do three sets of four to six reps of single-leg squats, side lunges, and box steps.

Sample Workout:

12x400m with 60-90 sec recovery--aka quarter mile repeats.

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