5k: Straightforward Improvement Plan

to 6 week plan

For a more detailed look at running relatively fast 5km races then have a look at this post: https://the5krunner.com/2011/08/22/5k-sub-20-minute-5k-running-and-training-plan/

However that post is NOT for everyone. If you are a 25 minute 5ker or slower then you might want to look at and consider the following straightforward plan to get going. It assumes you have a GPS watch that displays your running PACE.

Start on number 1 each week:

1. A long run

  • If you can’t yet run 1 hour non-stop then that should be your first goal. If you can run 30 minutes non-stop then just keep upping the distance/time slightly each session. If you are absolutely exhausted, panting and sweating then you are going too fast. Slow down to a comfortable speed.
  • When you next do 35 minutes then perhaps the time after aim to do 2x lots of 20 minutes with, say a 5 minute, break in between. These ‘intervals’ let you do a harder session without your body feeling it quite so much.
  • You might want to have a day or 2 off before you try again
  • Once you’ve achieved the hour then you can start to add in other distances and speeds. But keep the weekly long run of 60 minutes going, maybe perhaps trying to do it a bit faster as the weeks go by. But aim for a constant manageable speed if you can.
  • Increase the distance/time to 90 minutes. That’s probably further than you need so don’t specifically target going further than that.

2. A long yet a bit faster run

So you can run for an hour right? OK, let’s continue. But make sure you had a rest yesterday.

We’re going to try 3x 10 minutes at a bit slower than your race pace but a bit FASTER than your long run pace. In fact we’ll aim for 30 seconds per km slower. So if you can do 5k in 30 minutes that’s a pace of 6:00/km so you will run at 6:00 + 0:30 = 6:30/km. That’s a good pace you can try to make it a little faster if you want but I would rather you aim, instead, to maintain that pace for longer so we’re going to start with 3×10 minutes at that speed but if that’s too easy then go for 2×15 minutes (in subsequent weeks) or 3×15 minutes or 2x20minutes.

Do that once a week.

Over time aim to bring that speed down to FASTER than your race pace. This SHOULD be relatively straightforward to do. In the above example you would ultimately be aiming for, say, 5:45/km pace.

3. Miles

Run 3x 1mile at fast than your race pace, resting for 4-5 minutes after each mile. You might be looking at something like 5:30/km pace in the above example.

4. Speed

Occasionally do 30 second or 1 minute intervals at a very fast pace. Resting a minute or so in between. Aim to do about 8 minutes worth of effort. Do this once every couple of weeks, especially as your race draws near. (Then do some research on ‘tapers‘)


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