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2083 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 10, 2012 6:43 PM by desertfox2012
desertfox2012 Amateur 11 posts since
Sep 2, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 3, 2012 7:27 PM

Increasing 5k long does it take?

So for anyone that has read any of my other posts, I'm a 28 year old guy that just started running about 3 months ago. After the first few weeks of running, I decided to join a few 5k races around where I live. So far I've run four of them, with my finishing times listed below:


9/8/12 - 27:27

9/22/12 - 24:14

10/20/12 - 22:55

11/3/12 - 23:16


Although I'm training for a half marathon in April of next year, I still enjoy running the 5k as a different type of challenge. In between doing long runs, I've been doing some interval runs as well.


My ultimate goal is to do a 5k under 20 minutes, and the last couple of races, I've gotten around 23 minutes as you can see. My question is this - how long should I expect it to take to get my time down from around 23 minutes to 20 minutes? Now I know it's a tall order, and I also know that I've only been running for 3 months. I'm actually very happy to already be running it in 23 minutes, but I was curious how long it might take to drop down to 20 minutes. For anyone that runs it under 20 minutes - how long did it take you and can you offer any advice as to what I need to do to acheive it? What, if anything should I change in my training? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 6, 2012 3:21 PM (in response to desertfox2012)
    Increasing 5k long does it take?

    Hill repeats, intervals and tempo runs are probably your best investment for increasing speed.  Of course, when you are increasing the long run schedule to prepare for the half, that will also be of benefit.  Cross-training with maybe some strength exercises might be of assistance. 


    It sounds like you are improving very well with finishing times, but also be prepared that there is probably an area where you will stabilize in a similiar range for the 5k and then have to work with additional efforts to slowly improve. 


    The WAVA rating calculator may help with some age predictions and estimates.  


    Congrats on all your efforts and best wishes!

  • justamaniac Legend 240 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 7, 2012 5:46 AM (in response to desertfox2012)
    Increasing 5k long does it take?

    I'm not a speed guy, but the guys that I talk to that toe the front of the 5K starting line all tell me that it is about 3 things:

    1) intervals,

    2) hills, and

    3) making sure that you are loose and ready to run on race day.

    I'm told that #3 is the important part (assuming that they've done 1 & 2) because there is no relief and no letting up in a 5K. When the gun goes off their legs have to be 100% ready to run hard. A couple of the guys run a modest negative split (just barely), but they tell me that it is only because as soon as they get to that last mile that are running as hard as they can and still make it to the finish line. They each have their own pre-race routines to get their legs ready to go and they seem to have to time it just right (can't let their legs get cold or stiff and so on....)

    Go get 'em...!



    6/17/2012      AA HM      2:09:01 (I shouldn't have run this one this soon after the DexAA HM)

    6/3/2012       DexAA HM    2:00:31

    3/11/2012          St Pat's 5K          0:25:42

    11/10/2011          A2TT 10K          0:52:27

    10/9/2011          Chicago Marathon        4:49:55

    9/3/2011          Milford 30K      DNF  (cramped out at 14m)

    6/25/2011          Solstice 10M     1:27:15

    6/5/2011          DexAA HM      1:58:53

    5/1/2011          BP10K       0:51:58

    10/17/2010          Detroit HM  2:06:19

    6/6/2010          Dex-AA HM    2:09:30

  • Dark-Horse Legend 285 posts since
    Dec 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 7, 2012 11:59 AM (in response to desertfox2012)
    Increasing 5k long does it take?

    Your weight is an extremely important factor in your running times. You want to be on the light side. Every additional pound costs you 2 seconds per mile, as a rule of thumb. So if you are 10 pounds heavier than you should be, you are running slower in your 5Ks by 10 x 2 x 3.1 = 62 seconds.


    Dark Horse

    I'm a dark horse, running on a dark race course.

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