5K in 20 minutes…19 minutes 18, 23? What's the difference

Today i saw this hedgehog. He was breathing ve...
Today i saw this hedgehog, he wasn’t doing intervals  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indeed what is the difference between doing 5k in 19 minutes or 23 minutes. The hilarious response, of course, is 4 minutes. But you saw that one coming.

Essentially there is not that much difference in the TYPE of training you need to do for each: Long runs, medium length quite fast intervals and shortish length fast intervals.

As you get faster in your 5k times it’s not really the case that you need to do more fast training. That’s certainly NOT the case. You just need to do MORE training. IE More volume – and that increased volume includes faster training.

As you get faster, normally, you are able to handle greater volumes AND greater intensities. So your fast training is faster than it was when you were slower…doh! BUT you are better able to cope with that training and respond better to it and recover quicker from it.

An exception would be newer aspiring athletes. You have to sort out your long runs. Look for ‘coupled state’ on this blog and  on the net. Essentially that marks the point where you can probably safely proceed to more intensive interval training.

However you must keep up your training in all areas otherwise at some point, perhaps after a month or so injury break, the area that you were previously lacking comes back to haunt you and you can’t quite compensate in other areas. So I’d been advised, for medical reasons, to avoid the intervals for a while – which I dutifully did. I do a lot of cross training and my times seemed to hold up. Come a running injury and forced break and then I return to running after a complete 6 week rest from running and my 5k times are WAY down by over 3 minutes.

But then it is quite interesting to see how my good endurance base enables me very quickly to start eating into those 3 minutes.

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