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Basic Training: 5K



Basic Training: 5K

by Roch Frey

Competition is the heartbeat of running. It gives you a goal, and something to judge your progress against. It tests you in ways the clock will never do on its own. If you've never raced, a 5K is a great place to begin - it lets you get the feel of race day without much pressure.

How to Prepare
  • Warm up and cool down 15-20 minutes before and after each interval session.
  • Start all track sessions with 60-meter accelerations, with a walk-back recovery between. Find a flat stretch of road, grass, trail or track and accelerate throughout the distance up to 90-100% speed; slow down, walk back and repeat 3-6 times.
Training
Easy Runs
: Easy, relaxed runs at 60-70% of your max heart rate. It is best to do a max heart rate test to determine your own individual maximum heart rate. On a track, properly warm-up, then run one mile, starting easy and increasing your effort substantially each 400 meters. Your last 400 meters should be a maximum effort. Check your heart rate at the end of the run, either with a heart rate monitor or manually by finding your pulse in your neck and taking a 10-second count (the use of a heart rate monitor will give you the most accurate measure). It may take 2-3 tries, on different occasions, to reach your max. heart rate.

Steady Runs: A steady run on varying terrain (hilly and flat) at 70-85% of maximum heart rate. Be sure to warm up and cool down.

Fartlek: Speed play, unstructured speed-oriented workout.

Accel: Short 50-60m accelerations performed at the end of an easy run.

Long Runs: Long runs at 60-80% of maximum heart rate. Important not to run faster than 80%. This should be a relaxing, non-stressful run. Try to perform these long runs off road on softer trails, which are easier on the legs.

Track: (see chart below) Repeats of certain distances ranging from 200-800 meters on a running track running at a slightly faster pace than your 5K goal. Each repeat is followed by an easy recovery run of equal or slightly less that distance. Start all track sessions with a 15-20 minute warm-up and 3-4 accelerations. Finish all track sessions with 15-20 minute cool down and light stretching.

Intervals: (see chart below) Repeats of specific durations from 1-4 minutes in length followed by a rest interval of light jogging. All intervals will be at specific heart rates. The recovery should be easy enough to allow the heart rate to drop down to 60-70% of max.

Strength Training: If you are already performing weight workouts, they should be performed on Wednesdays and Sundays as long as possible after your run workout. If you have not been in the weight room consistently over the past 3-4 weeks, do not start a weight training program now. Stop all weight sessions 3-4 weeks before race day.

XTrain: On Wednesdays and Saturdays, cross-train with other activities than running. Cycling, swimming, in-line skating or almost any other physical activity you enjoy is cross-training. Performing another activity besides running will give you a mental and physical break while still strengthening your cardiovascular system and conditioning the overall body. Cross training will substantially reduce the risk of a running-related injury. It is important to keep these activities at an easy effort so you will have energy to perform your run workouts properly.

Track and Interval Training Guide
Track Session # 1
Week 3

3 x 400m followed by 400m easy jog recovery

Track Session # 2
Week 5
2 x 200m followed by 200m recovery
3 x 400m followed by 200m recovery
2 x 200m followed by 200m recovery
Track Session # 3
Week 6
2 x 800m with 400m jog recovery
2 x 400m with 200m jog recovery
4 x 200m with 200m jog recovery
Track Session # 4
Week 7
1 x 1600m with 400m jog recovery
5 x 400m with 200m jog recovery
Interval Session # 1
Week 7
15-20 minute warm-up
5x2 minutes at HR 80-90% of max
3 minutes easy recovery
15-20 minutes cool-down
Track Session # 5
Week 8
10 x 400m (200m jog recovery after the first five 400's, then 400m jog recovery after the last five 400's
Interval Session # 2
Week 8
15-20 minute warm-up
5x3 minutes at HR 80-90% of max
3 minutes easy recovery
15-20 minutes cool-down
Track Session # 6
Week 9
2 x 200m with 400m jog recovery
4 x 400m with 400m jog recovery
2 x 200m with 400m jog recovery
Track Session # 7
Week 10
4 x 400m with 400m jog recovery

Repeat times for track sessions: allow to vary 5 seconds higher or lower
5K Goal

200m Repeat

400m Repeat

800m Repeat

1600m Repeat

15:00 minutes
35 seconds
1:10
2:20
4:40
17:30 minutes
40 seconds
1:20
2:40
5:20
20:00 minutes
45 seconds
1:30
3:00
6:00
22:30 minutes
50 seconds
1:40
3:25
6:50
25:00 minutes
57 seconds
1:55
3:50
7:40
27:30 minutes
1:00
2:05
4:10
8:20
30:00 minutes
1:05
2:15
4:30
9:10
Repeats should be 5-10 sec faster per 400m than 5K goal.

Following the SCHEDULE
  • Try to follow the schedule as closely as possible. If workouts are missed, do not try to make them up later on in the week - just get back into the program.
  • All training sessions should start and end with 15-20 minutes of easy warm-up and cool down. Stretching is best performed after the warm-up and then again at the end of the run session.
  • Gains in athletic performance come from consistent training over a longer period of time. It's not how much you did last week that is important, but how consistent you have trained over a period of weeks.
  • Trust your instincts in following the schedule. The workouts are not etched in stone. Use your own cognitive intuition when performing a workout.
  • Injuries, unfortunately, do occur. If time is taken off at the first signs of an injury, time off is kept to minimum. Consult a health professional if you're unsure.
10 WEEK 5K TRAINING SCHEDULE
Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Total

1
day off
30-40 min easy
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
30-50 min easy
day off
40-60 long
165-250 min
2
day off
40-50 min+accel
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
30-50 min easy
60-90 min x-train
50-70 long
260-390 min
3
day off
50-60 steady
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
40-60 min track
60-90 min x-train
60-80 long
290-420 min
4
day off
30-40 min easy
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
30-50 min easy
day off
40-60 long
180-280 min
5
day off
50-60 steady
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
50-70 min track
60-90 min x-train
60-80 long
320-430 min
6
day off
50-60 fartlek
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
50-70 min track
60-90 min x-train
70-90 long
310-440 min
7
day off
50-70 intervals
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
50-70 min track
day off
80-100 long
320-450 min
8
day off
50-70 intervals
60-90 min x-train
20-40 min easy
50-70 min track
60-90 min x-train
60-80 long
300-440 min
9
day off
40-60 min steady
45-60 min x-train
20-40 min easy
40-60 min track
60-90 min x-train
50-70 long
205-380 min
10
day off
40-60 min track
20-40 min x-train
20-40 min+accel
day off
15-30 min easy
race

About the author: Roch Frey is a former professional triathlete from Canada whoe coaching expertise is well known among the very best in the sport of triathlon.

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