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3877 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 27, 2012 6:30 AM by Snerb
EMTTrix Pro 60 posts since
May 20, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 28, 2012 10:00 AM

Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

So I ran a couple 5k races, I finally broke into the 30's hooray! my PR is 39:56

I'm looking for a good plan/program to increase my speed.  The couch to 5k program was suggested, but I have already ran a couple 5k I dont know if that is neccessarily the correct plan/program for me.  Any suggestions for increasing speed...I wouldnt mind increasing my endurance either.

Currently I run 3-4 times a week with 2 cross train/strength training days.

My runs now are usually two 2 mile runs and one 3.4 mile run a week.  I average about 4.6mph or 12:53 per mile.  My cross training consists of elliptical trainer, swimming, and firefighter training (trust me its cardio!).  My strength training, I have a program/routine written by a trainer for upper body one day, lower body 2 days later, back/chest/core 2days after that. 

I guess my goal would be to increase my speed, and increase my distance to 4-5 miles for my long runs, and 3 miles for my short runs.

Weight Loss 32 lbs loss to date (since 01/2012)

5k Races 2011

Chicago Monster Dash 10/29/2011 - 53:10

5k Races 2012

Chicago Polar Dash 1/21/2012 - 49:00

Hartland Healthy Life 5/19/2012 - 43:08

Summerfest Rock 'n Sole 6/23/2012 - 39:56 PR

Run with Wolfes 9/16/2012 -

Susan G. Komen 9/23/2012 -

Chicago Monster Dash 10/21/2012 -

7k-10k Races 2012

Chicago Get Lucky 3/18/2012 - 1:01:36

Obstacles/Mud Runs 2012

Dirty Girl Mud Run (WI) - 8/19/2012

Keep on keepin' on!

  • raf66 Expert 49 posts since
    Jan 15, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 28, 2012 11:16 AM (in response to EMTTrix)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    Wow, I don't know that I've ever been the first one to reply to someone's post before.


    First off, welcome aboard and welcome to the world of running!  I'm probably not the best person to respond to someone's inquiry about training to increase speed because I've never really done any specific "speed training", which many people suggest.  It probably shows since I'm pretty slow myself.  I can tell you what has helped me, though.


    First (and maybe second and third) is to run more.  You don't have to necessarily run faster during your runs, but you need to increase your daily mileage and you should work on adding a run or two during the week.  Second, make running a consistent endeavor.  By that I mean don't do a few runs/week for a month or two and then take a week or two off, and on and on . . . That's a serious killer when it comes to increasing distance and speed. 


    When you run consistently and gradually (and safely) increase your daily (and weekly) mileage, you will notice an increase in speed.  It takes a while for your body to acclimate to the rigors of running.  Not only your lungs/breathing capacity but also the muscles/bones/tendons in your lower body.  Your body will get more efficient the more you run, and the end result will be that your times get better.  And the good thing is you will get faster without really having to concentrate on speed work!


    However, there are speed workouts that can be done that are not necessarily so grueling that you lose interest in running altogether.  Again, I'm just a runner.  I don't kid myself into thinking I'm ever going to be a Kenyan, nor is it my goal to ever run a 15 min. 5K.  Having said that, as you gradually add miles, pick a run or two per week to sprinkle in a little speed.  Say you're planning a 4 mile run one day.  After running a couple miles and getting your body limbered up a bit, pick up the pace for 30 seconds (or pick a mailbox up ahead and run to it).  Then slow down for a couple minutes (maybe even a little slower than your normal pace) or so and then settle back into your normal pace.  Do it again towards the end of your run. 


    Now bare in mind I chose not to use the word "sprint" and instead said to "pick up the pace".  The reason is because running full out can take a lot out of you and can greatly increase the risk of injury.  It also can be somewhat counterproductive in that some of us who may sprint all out for a bit may have a hard time slowing down to a normal (or slightly below normal) pace on our "cool down" and will feel the urge to walk or stop altogether.  That doesn't seem to be very beneficial.  When I say "pick up the pace", I might suggest increasing your speed to 11:00 min/mile, which is nearly two minutes quicker than your normal pace.  You don't have to do it for 30 seconds.  You can do it for 50 yards, or to the yard that has the sprinkler on, etc.  You can do it longer, too, if you feel comfortable.  And don't just use my fictitious 11:00 min/mi. as the target speed.  Maybe you only feel comfortable speeding up to 11:30-11:45, or maybe you'd feel comfortable speeding up to 10:00.  No matter the time, just speed up to a pace that's noticably faster than your normal pace but isn't so fast that it's a monumental struggle. 


    There are also different TYPES of runs that are beneficial.  For instance, there are "recovery runs" and "tempo runs".  RR are ones where you're a bit sore, or you're coming off a recent higher intensity workout (or you're just not "feeling it" that day), and you elect to run just for the sake of running, with no preconceived notion of speed.  These might be at or below your normal pace.  TR are ones where you go out with the intention of hitting a target speed/tempo over a certain distance.  For instance, if your goal is to nail a 35 min. 5K, you go out and run at an 11:16/mi. pace come heck or high water.  When I first started running I made the mistake of making basically all of my runs tempo runs, not fully recognizing that there are some days where running a more casual pace can be just as beneficial, if not more so, as running a fast pace.  And as you're likely learning at this point in your running "career", there are some days where running comes easy and some days where it's a real struggle. On those days where it's a struggle, slow your pace down.  On those days when you feel incredible and running comes easy, speed up a bit.


    Again, though, don't feel like you need to do grueling training sessions incorporating speed to your daily runs to better your 5K times.  A certain increase in speed will occur naturally with consistency and gradual increases in the length of your daily runs and weekly mileage totals.


    Good luck and keep at it.

  • raf66 Expert 49 posts since
    Jan 15, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 28, 2012 1:50 PM (in response to EMTTrix)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    EMTTrix, don't rush increasing your mileage.  It's a sure recipe for injury.  The common theory is to increase mileage no more than 10% at a time.  So if your long run is 3 1/2 miles, don't push it past 4 (maybe even a little less if you strictly adhere to the 10% rule).  And the rule applies to weekly mileage as well.  So if you typically run 12 miles per week don't increase it past 13 or so for a few weeks. 


    I understand having limited time to devote to running, and it certainly sounds like you're in that boat!  Resist the temptation of overdoing it one day because you don't see the opportunity to run again for a few days. Again, that can lead to injury.  The goal (at least in a perfect world, and when is it EVER perfect) is to make running a consistent part of your weekly routine (at least I'm assuming that's your goal).  That doesn't necessarily mean running the same time of day on the same days every week as that's not often possible. But if you can fit a 30-45 minute run in 4-5 days/week you'll definitely notice a speed difference. 


    Again, though, and I can't stress this enough: don't overdue it.  Too much/too quickly has been the poison cocktail that has foiled many.  Doing this can lead to injuries, loss of interest, etc.  The old adage would seem especially appropriate here:  it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.  If you're planning on making running a regular and long term part of your life, and you want as a byproduct the benefits that can be associated with the sport, stick with it consistently and GRADUALLY increase your distances and the number of days you run.  The cool thing is that if you can find the time and motivation, in just a few short months you could be up to running 4-5 miles every run, doing it 4-5 times per week, and doing it nearly as quickly as you've been running your 5Ks!

  • MarcusB092 Amateur 75 posts since
    Jul 28, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 3, 2012 10:09 AM (in response to EMTTrix)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    You just barely started running and already want to be faster before you barely even did any training. Just run more is all y ou need to do.

  • NHLA Legend 354 posts since
    Feb 23, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jul 5, 2012 2:56 PM (in response to EMTTrix)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    The first thing you need to do is work your long run up to five miles without stopping or walking. Don't worry about speed yet.

    The best way to develop speed is intervals but you need to get to 25-30mpw before you start.

    Change your cross training to bike and strenght training. They will help your running much more than eliptical or swimming.

    Let me know when your base is place and we will talk about speed work.

  • R-hizzle Amateur 22 posts since
    Jan 21, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jul 26, 2012 4:58 PM (in response to raf66)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    Let me start by saying that the advise posted by Raf66, about u wanting more speed, was right on the money. He even touched on some issues i was having. Thanks Raf66.


    I finally got around to visiting the site after some time away. I wanted to respond to your post because we are so much alike. After years of strength training being my primary focus i fell back in love with the idea of being "a runner" again. Last year  I felt something "tweek" in my knee weeks before my first 5k, but continued to train through the pain, bad idea. Looking back if I would've taken some time off to recover I never would have torn my Meniscus and strained my MCL on race day. That race and my stubborn brain knocked me out of running. After I had surgery i was out for almost a year. Now I listen to my body. I only where shoes that are right for me( overpronator w/ stability, Asics, NB and Saucony). I changed my form more toward a midfoot striker and shorter gait.  I take it slow when i don't feel energized, I take an extra day off to rest when i feel i need it and cross training is a must, to build a strong core, upper body and leg muscles. Biking actually strengthen the ligaments in your legs.  I've only done 3, 5k's and presently training for a 10k, Aug 4th. Mostly I just run. Don't get so rapped up into the speed thing, run and it will come. If you are dedicated to running ur gonna b doing it for a while so be patient. Unless ur jsut going through a phase. If u push things ur gonna burn out and lose interest in running. Saturday I pushed my long run to 5.5 mls. a few days later i barely finished my scheduled 2.5mi. I knew it was not a good day and took it easy(which the training called for). I suggest throwing in some Yoga and Meditation to get more in tune with your mind and body. No joke, when u learn to listen to your body, and get your head out of the way, it can make a big difference in your training. Good luck, keep running and "Run for Health".

  • Snerb Pro 140 posts since
    Jan 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jul 27, 2012 6:30 AM (in response to EMTTrix)
    Ran a 5k, Training to increase speed...suggestions?

    I would work to run 5 miles comfortably, without stopping or walking before you start focusing on speed.


    5k - 24:26

    5k Trail - 24:57

    5 Mile - 39:52

    10k - 51:19

    10k Trail - 53:15

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