I'm 38 years old and I need to build up some speed in this old body. I ran in about 10 events this year. Most of the events were 5k's and 10k's. The last two events were 5k's where I averaged 6:29 per mile for the one 5k and 6:48 per mile for the other 5k. Both of these runs were in less than favorable conditions with high winds, freezing temperatures, icy roads and lots of water. My goal for the year was to break the 20:00 minute mark for a 5k but fell 29 seconds short of that. It seems like I'm stuck in the 20 minute - 21 minute time rut. I typically run three miles a day with no days off unless I start feeling pain somewhere. In most of the events that I run I take off fast and gradually start running slower in the later parts of the run. My philosophy has been go out and run hard and just try and keep up a good pace in the later miles of the run. One thing I do notice is that it is hard to breath in the later miles when I'm trying to go for a good time. I have no problems with this on the typical every day run because I'm not pushing myself that hard. Who has some good ideas of how I can break that 20 minute barrier next year? Should I try and put more miles in and hope that I get stronger so that I can maintain a quicker pace? Should I run shorter distances on a track and concentrate on running some quick mile times? It is cold out now so I'm pretty much limited to my treadmill inside till the spring. Any responses greatly appreciated.
Welcome to active.com! I hope I can provide you with some constructive ideas. After reading your post, the thing that jumped out at me was that you typically run three miles a day with no days off. I strongly recommend you add more variety to your daily running and also take a day or two a week to cross-train or rest. I would suggest adding a couple longer runs each week (6-10 miles) so that your build endurance for the later stages of your races and maybe when the weather warms up you can also add one day a week of speed work on the track (I'm a big fan or running 4-6 half-mile repeats) to improve your quickness. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Runner's World has a bunch of running/training books including Run Fast and Run Less, Run Faster. You can check Amazon or www.rodalestore.com for the whole selection.
Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.
I agree with Jay to add a longer run each week to build stamina for the later end of the 5K. In the winter months I find myself running more on the treadmill especially on evenings after work. Assuming your treadmill can crank up to 10.0 (or a 6 min/mile pace) you can do 1/2 mile and mile repeats to work on your 5K pace. As running on a treadmill can be boring I like to change the speed every 1/2 mile to stay focused. I'll do ladders (increasing the speed every half mile), intervals with 1/4 mile rests, etc.
From your description it sounds like you go all out and hang on to tough it out during the later stages of the race. With a combination of longer runs to build endurance, and speed work at goal pace or slightly faster, your early miles should feel more comfortable and you'll be stronger for the final miles.
take it from someone with a lot of 5k experience. I've experienced some strong success in three mile and 5000m races. my secret is mileage and spped. I'd say a good amount of mileage for the week is 35-50 miles a week. For speed , I recomend doing some 800m and 1-mile repeats at your race pace goal. So you wanan go under 20, right? On those speed workouts, try and go at around a 6:15-6:30 pace. you won't liek it, but the faster you go, the more you'll be used to it, cause you're traning your body to adjust to going faster. For my traiining, I try and do all my speed workouts at a nice 5:30-5:35 per mile pace.
Thanks for everyones responses. I will add a longer run on the treadmill or I will head outside and go on a nice long run. I have a fluid trainer for my road bike so I will probably break up the treadmill boredom with a twice a week workout on the bike. I have a pretty active running club in my area the schedules at least one run/race per month. In most cases there are multiple runs in a month sponsered by other groups than the local running club. I will keep at it and hopefully I will see some improvement early next year.