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I've noticed that a lot of training programs have speed interval training that has you run intervals at 5k pace. Is this better than actually running a 5k race? Just curious, because up until now I've done all 5k "tempo" runs as I call them. Basically I do 5k runs at race pace. I've had a lot of success with it, but I'm wondering if it's going to have it's limitations, or if speed intervals at 5k pace would help too. Maybe I need to do speed intervals at faster than 5k pace? Thanks, just wondering.
It depends on what your objectives are. If you are training for a 5K, running intervals at 5K pace is a good way to prepare yourself to run at race pace without actually completing a race. As your fitness improves, you can reduce the rest interval. Trying to run the 5K distance frequently at true race pace is likely to lead to overtraining or injury.
Tempo runs are usually done at lactate threshold pace, more like a 10K pace.
If you want to run a faster 5K, you should do some intervals at a faster pace, something like a 3K pace.
You might try using the McMillan Running Calculator to find the right paces for your training.
Boston Marathon Finisher
Thank you for the advice. I particularly liked the pace calculator. I think it's going to take a lot of the mystery out of what speed/pace to train at. Instead of the near race pace runs I've been doing I'm going to switch to doing speed intervals at the appropriate speed. Thank you,