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2566 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2011 9:21 AM by vcmom
vcmom Amateur 15 posts since
Mar 11, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

May 17, 2011 10:58 AM

5K pace relative to longer race paces

I’m an on/mostly-off runner (female, 38) who’s back on again and a little more serious than ever before about decreasing my times and increasing my mileage.  I just ran a 5K doing a 7:50 min/mile, after running an 8:09 min/mile pace in a 5K in March.  I started running again in December and was pretty consistent about running 18-22 miles/week (4-5 miles/2x/week; 6 miles/1x week; and 6-8 miles/1x week) between March and now, which, I assume, is why my time decreased as it did.  So…my question is, without any particular knowledge that this is possible, I’d like to get my 5K time into the low 7s.  But when I look into the other women doing these times, it seems like they are all doing half-marathons and marathons at quite a fast pace, faster than I can imagine myself doing them.  I am planning on doing a half-marathon in September, but my goal would be to do a 9 min/mile pace.  When I run 6-8 miles (my longest runs now), I run them around that pace.  Is it reasonable to hope to run a pretty fast 5K without being equivalently fast in longer races?  Or does this just not happen?  I assume I need to do a speed workout once/week to help with increasing the 5K time, which I’m happy to do, just not sure whether I should be aiming or working harder to make my longer runs faster.  Also, confused about whether faster times will naturally come with more months of continuing to do what I am doing now.  Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,422 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 17, 2011 12:11 PM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    A 7:50 pace for 5K is about 24:20.  Plug that into the McMillan Running Calculator (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm) and you get a half-marathon of 1:52:29, which is an 8:36 pace.  Now that assumes you trained well for the half and have good running conditions.  Your training pace, particularly on longer runs, should be slower than your race pace.  If your long run pace is 9:00 at a distance of 12 miles, you should be able to do a half at a somewhat faster pace, like 8:36.  I know you're not doing 12 miles now, but you will be as you work toward a half.

     

    Can you get to the low 7s for the 5K?  I would think you can.  Continued, consistent training will account for some of the time.  So to answer one of your questions, you should see some improvement just by continuing to train at your current level.  Adding speedwork, and possibly a little more weekly mileage, should help you get the rest of it.

     

    Don't compare what you are doing (as far as racing times) to what others are doing.  For all you know, they're running 50 or more miles per week, which would certainly contribute to faster half-marathon times.  You don't have to run a fast half to run a fast 5K (or vice-versa).  The marathon is a completely different story.

     

    Len





    Len

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 17, 2011 12:20 PM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    I think doing halfs and fulls (maybe) is a natural progression for runners as they get faster.  If you run in a race that has several distances say Half, 10K and 5K most the the runners in the half are the fastest runners (not in all cases but most).    As I run more I see my times becoming closer, my half pace compared to my 5K pace is a lot closer than it use to be.    Your question I think both your paces will come down with the gap getting closer as you run more.  The biggest thing with your training is to make sure you change it up, don't always do the same things.  I like to do at least 2 quality workouts a week (speed, tempo, long, hills)  the other days are easy recovery runs, just make sure you change your routine sometimes.  If you want to do it you can!!!!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,422 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. May 18, 2011 11:35 AM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    Doing your long runs at that pace should be fine.  Long runs are more about endurance - getting used to the distance - and less about speed.  You may occasionally, every 4 or 5 weeks, want to run the last few miles of your long run at or near race pace.  (Say the last 2 or 3 miles if you're running 10 to 12.)  This will get you used to running faster when you're already a little tired.

     

    Tempo runs and intervals will help you more for speed.  A tempo run is a mile or so warmup, 2 to 4 miles at tempo pace (it can be more if you're feeling ambitious), then a mile cooldown.  Tempo pace, based on your 5K, would be around 8:30.  Start with the shorter distance (2 miles) and don't be surprised if you have a hard time holding the pace the first few times.  Intervals would be the traditional 400 meters (once around the track), or 800 or 1200, followed by an equal recovery interval (by time or distance).  Look at the McMillan calculator for times, under "Speed Workouts", "Long Distance Runners".  Start with 2 to 4 repeats, fewer for the longer distances.  Again, you may find the pace too hard the first few times.

     

    When you feel ready to do speedwork, I would advise starting with one or the other (tempo/intervals), once a week.  Once you've gotten comfortable with that one, you might try the other.  But don't try doing both in one week until you're comfortable with both.  (Getting to that point can take months.)  Even then, exercise caution.

     

    The other thing to watch for if you add speedwork - you may be adding some distance at the same time (to your long run).  Be cautious, listen to your body, and back off at the first sign of trouble or unusual aches and pains.  It may be preferable to have the distance up first, before doing speedwork.

     

    Len





    Len

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. May 18, 2011 12:10 PM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    Len, is right on as he is always.  I had luck also adding a mid distance run the day before my long run (run on tired legs).  It help me a lot in my last 1/2.  These runs have some miles at pace which help you learn to run your race .  Here is a look at those days:  The races are just because I run in a few over the Holidays I think it helps to run a few 4 may have been to much?  Good luck

     

    For me    Fri                        Sat       rest Sun

    Week 1. 4 easy       next day 11

              2. 5K                          9

              3. I kind of went of plan due to trip to ohio

              4. 5K                          8

              5. Half Not raced         rest

              6. 4 easy                    10

              7. Ski a week got one 10 mile run in @ 8,000 tuff

              8. 7 easy                    11

              9. 5 easy                    1:30 mins

              10. 4 miles 2 @ pace   1:45 mins

              11. 5 miles 3 @ pace   10 miles

              12. Rest                      1/2 trail hard but not raced

              13. 5 miles @ pace        2:00 hours

               14. 4 easy                    8 miles easy

             15. Race

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 574 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. May 19, 2011 7:26 AM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    Consistency is king, so if you train for a long enough period of time you'll see gains that you never thought were possible. I can now run 10 miles at my high school 5k PR pace! I noticed you're an "on/off again" runner - stay consistent and you'll get faster, guaranteed.

     

    With consistent training, you'll see your 5k pace drop significantly over the course ov several months. I've coached runners in the half marathon who have improved by over a minute per mile in 6 months with consistent, solid training. One mistake you can easily make is trying to do too many fast workouts.

     

    Regarding your paces, it's going to vary. The McMillan pace calculator is off for me, but my paces are these:

     

    Regular distance pace: 7:00/mile

    Marathon: 6:17/mile

    Half-marathon: 5:38/mile

    10-Mile: 5:29/mile

    5k: 5:10/mile

    3k: 4:51

    Mile: 4:33

     

    The better shape you're in, the closer to your max speed you'll be able to sustain over the longer distances. One of the best reasons to consistently train throughout the year.

     

    Good luck!
    - Jason.





    Strength Running
  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,422 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. May 20, 2011 6:34 AM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    You shouldn't be out of breath after a tempo run.  Tempo pace (aka lactate threshold pace) is hard but do-able.  It's a fast pace you can hold for about an hour, usually around your 10-mile to half-marathon race pace.  Here's part of McMillan's explanation: "Your effort becomes moderately hard but you could handle it for an hour or more. Both your heart rate and VO2 continue to increase at the same linear rate as before. At about this pace, however, you may notice that your breathing takes a noticeable increase . . ." (VO2 is your rate of oxygen usage.)

     

    When planning your runs, remember to alternate easy days and hard days.  You don't want to run hard every day (or easy every day).  Easy days are also recovery days, when your muscles get a chance to rebuild.

     

    Len





    Len

  • Basscycle Legend 236 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. May 20, 2011 10:14 AM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    lenzlaw wrote:

     

    "Your effort becomes moderately hard but you could handle it for an hour or more....

     

    Len

    This assumes a solid base though, correct?





    My blog: RunningMyMouthOff.com

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,422 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. May 20, 2011 11:54 AM (in response to Basscycle)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    Basscycle wrote:

     

    lenzlaw wrote:

     

    "Your effort becomes moderately hard but you could handle it for an hour or more....

     

    Len

    This assumes a solid base though, correct?

     

    That's a good point, though "solid base" can be a judgement call.  20 miles per week can be a good base if you've been doing it for several months and it's compatible with the level at which you're running.  It's certainly more accurate if you have months or years of consistent running behind you.  That's one reason I try to emphasize caution in introducing speedwork.  But they have to start somewhere.  And they will!  I see runners who haven't finished C25K but want to start speedwork.  I don't encourage that.  But otherwise I try to give them the best info I can.  In this case the point is having a feel for LT/tempo pace, that it is not so hard that you're beat after a couple miles.

     

    Len





    Len

  • whasianbilly Amateur 20 posts since
    May 20, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. May 20, 2011 12:05 PM (in response to vcmom)
    Re: 5K pace relative to longer race paces

    You will always be running slower in longer races. If you can run the pace you ran in

    a 5k for a half marathon, I'd say you were holding back in that 5k.

     

    Simplest answer to running faster is to just run more.  The more volume you have

    the more specific running you can do without getting hurt.

     

    What is your current weekly mileage?





    "The answer is a duck. Maybe a mallard." -Lyle McDonald

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