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You don't mention your age or experience or when you will be running your 5k. My advice would be to have one long run of at least 6 miles once a week, and than one speed session of 5 800's at a pace of 1.30 to 1.40, with a 400 jog in between repeats. Than a 3 mile run at a pace of 7. Don't turn the 3 mile run into an all out run. Save that effort for race day.
I don't want to completely disregard the previous poster's suggestions but that type of training won't drop you to a 17 min 5k (depending on what your current time and age is). That type of time requires some excellent speed training. I agree with the occassional 6 mile run, and may even offer an 8-10 mile run once/twice a week, but as far as the speed sessions go, you'll need to churn out faster 800s than 90 sec splits. Here's my training schedule which actually helps keep me below the 17 min mark in a 5k race.
Mon: Easy 5 miler (~7:15/7:30 pace)
Tues: 2x1000m @ 3:15, 2x800m @ 2:35, 4x400m @ 70
Wed: Long, easy 8 miler (recover from Tues)
Thurs: Relatively moderate 5 miler (~6:45/6:50 pace)
Fri: Easy 5/6 miler (~7:15/7:30 pace)
Sat: Long, easy 10 miler or cross train (have fun!)
Sun: Complete rest!
You should be extremely tired after the Tues sessions. If you're not but you're still hitting the times, slowly decrease the target times. This is what works best for me and I'm a 25 year old runner who was stuck at 17:10 for as long as I can remember. The two workouts above that have helped the most are the Tues and Thurs runs. Tues teaches your legs to use your fast twitch muscles which is helpful in leg turnover and finishing speed. Thurs teaches your legs to hold a moderately quick pace for a distance longer than your desired race. This way, when race day comes, your legs will be able to combine the two strategies and turn out a fast sub-17 min 5K. Don't neglect the easy/long days and certainly not the rest day. Those are just as important as any other training day! Best of luck with your training!!
I would love to be able to run a 5k in 17mins, but I just started running to get back into shape, and am looking to eventually be able to run a sub-20 minute 5k.
I am currently running a 26-minute 5k and have been training by running 5 miles every tuesday and thursday and lifting weights (upper body only) on monday, wednesday, and friday. I have been running in organized 5k races every weekend for the past four months - and have improved my time with each run by about 15 seconds...but I cannot seem to get past the 8min/mile pace that is killing me now. Any suggestions?
I am 28 years old, I weight 205lbs and just recently started to get myself back in shape. How should I train to obtain the sub-20 min 5k goal?
Since you weigh over 200 lbs, losing weight would definitely help your times. The rule of thumb I've heard is that you improve 2 seconds per mile for every pound you lose. So, lose 10 pounds and you can run 20 seconds per mile faster with the same effort, which will shave about a minute off your 5K time. If you're just getting back in shape, your times will improve as you keep training too.
If you're just getting back into shape, let your current training drop your times. You certainly don't want to over exert yourself and end up injuring something when your body isn't ready for it. It doesn't sound like you have any kind of speedwork in your regime. If I were you, I would add one day of speedwork which should, at first, contain something similar to 2-3 800m repeats at 3:50-4:00min pace. This will get your legs ready for a faster pace. After a few weeks of these repeats, decrease the target time by 5 seconds. The goal here is to make your repeat times quicker than your race pace. Make sure you run atleast a half mile warm up and cool down before and after your workout to avoid straining muscles. Hope this helps! Good luck!!
Thanks for the quick responses!
I totally understand the need to lose weight in order to improve my time - I am losing about 2lbs a week currently (when I started in september, I weighed 220lbs).
I am training on a treadmill at the moment - is there anything wrong with trianing on a treadmill? Would it be better if I train outside?
What is the strategy? Run long distances durign the week at a slower than race pace and then do time trials? How do I know if I am over-working myself?
Thanks so much for the feedback!
I'm a 43 year old male and have been running for about 2-1/2 years. In the last two years I have run a total of eight races. In the first year my times improved with each race. Since then my times seem to be slipping back a little. My PR is 22:57, but my current times are around 23:30. I believe that part of my problem is that I don't run enough. I run two to three times a week, and my weekly mileage is only around seven to ten miles. I run both outdoors and on a treadmill. I try to combine both hill work and some speed work, but I don't have a real formal training program. I would like to start moving my times back in the other direction. My goal is to improve my time to around 21:30. Any suggestions?
There is nothing wrong with training on a treadmill...as long as you can handle the monotony. I am currently training for 10K/15K races on a treadmill but I also live in the Northeast so the Winters can be a problem to run through. However, I still try to bundle up once a week and do a longer run outside. Probably the biggest advantage to running on a treadmill is the shock absorption factor (aka, easier on the knees). However, if you're like me, you end up never having an easy run on the treadmill because my eye keeps catching the mph and clock and feel as though I need to compete against myself. I really wanted to suggest to you that if you want to run a 20 min 5K, you need to run more than 2 days a week. I'm not saying you need to run 6 or even 5 days a week, but 4 should be a good start. Ease into it though so you don't hurt yourself. Take the same approach at training on a treadmill as you would on the open road. Depending on your treadmill, there should be a setting called Interval which is a great workout if done properly. You should consider that your hard workout for the week (except for the weekend race). Other than that, make sure you have fun! The worst thing that can happen is that you become frustrated with your times and end up disliking running. Start putting in a few more miles a week and your times will start to drop accordingly. Have fun and Happy Training!!
I've found that a combination of the training plan in Pete Pfitzinger's book Road Racing for Serious Runners and Roy Benson's book Coach Benson's "Secret" Workouts has really helped drop my race times. The most important things to remember that each workout serves its purpose, and when you are supposed to run "easy" make sure it's about as slow as you can comfortably go, otherwise your hard efforts will suffer. This approach has helped drop my 5k time down from 17:28 to 15:49 over the last season.
I'm 49 and have been running for about 2 1/2 yrs. My 5k times have gone from 29:30 to 22:40. I've been running 6 days a week 35-40 mi./wk. All the above plans are good. I just want to add, if you want to be a good runner the best training is to run, the upper body weight training really isn't doing that much good, all you're doing is adding bulk which means more to carry when you're running. Building up your core muscles(sit-ups, crunches) a couple times a wk. would be good. The main thing is get out and run (or on a treadmill if the weather is bad). Be sure every other day is easy for recovery and be sure you have at least one day of speedwork. I race at least once a month in anything from a 5k to a marathon(have done 2 marathons) that also helps your speed and gives you a goal to work toward. Have fun running!
I completely agree with most of what dave has posted; however, I slightly disagree on the upper body lifting. Upper body lifting can be EXTREMELY helpful if you aren't lifting to get big. I have been lifting for years and it has done nothing but help my running but I lift soley for the purpose of endurance and definition. Dave is right in that if you lift heavy weights, all you're doing is adding bulk (ie, weight). If you lift low weight and high reps, you won't add muscle weight; rather, you'll add strength, which is what runners need. Anyways, the best advice I can give is to take in what others suggest, do your own research and find a training method that suits YOU. What works for one person may not work for someone else. The strategies and methods I post on here are things that have worked for me and a few of my friends. Try different strategies and see which is most comfortable for you and stick with it for a while. Sooner or later, you'll figure out exactly what your body will be able to handle and you'll learn to adapt to new methods. Anyways, be sure to have fun!! That is by far the most important thing for any sport.
I agree a with the suggestions that everyone has been offering about doing speed work to decrease your times. you should be careful when you first start doing the workouts. It's going to be a real shock to your body. Listen to your body to see how its responding. And make sure you stretch after the workout. Good luck.
I am also looking to reduce my 5K and 10K times. In March of '04 I ran 24:20 for 5K, then in late October '04 I ran 20:31. (I also ran 20:50 on 11/27 just 13 days after running my first marathon) Getting under 20:00 (constituently) is where I?d like to be. Weight I believe is the key for me; I was 229 in March, now just 208 at 6?1?. I have done some spend work but not on a regular bases. I would run 5 sets 800?s in 2:20 to 2:30 and light run 800?s in 4:00 to 4:15 in between the faster 800?s. I did these only six to eight times through-out the late summer and fall; not wanting to over speed train while still preparing for the marathon. I have ran (7) 5K?s, (2) 10K?s, (1) 5 Miler, (1) 7 Miler, (1) 15K (1) 10 Miler, (1) Half-Marathon, (1) 15 Miler, and (1) Marathon in 2004. I am a rather large framed 40 year old male who watches other 50+ year old's run under 20:00; I?d like to be where they are. For much of the summer and fall I was running 35 to 45 miles per week; I will complete about 1,300 miles for the year. I would appreciate all suggest.