5k Training and the wonders of speed-endurance

"Training for a 5k, tips and planning"

5k trainingThe wonders of training for a 5k, is that it can be done in so many ways. Whether or not it is to combine it with the marathon training schedule.

Or you are just getting up "from the couch" and is looking for a couch to 5k training plan, program.

"The 5k is one of my big loves. From the first time I ran it, until the two Olympics in 2000 and 2004. It is a massive test of speed, speed-endurance, and pure stamina"

To the right you see me during my Pr 13.06 5000------->

One of the most important things you can ask yourself before training for a 5k is actually to ask yourself this simple question :

What kind of runner are you ?

Usually there are three main categories of 5k type runners :

These are,

  1. Speed runner, "the need for speed type". You are probably the more explosive type runner. Then you may want to read about speed training in combination with endurance events.
  2. Endurance runner. You can go on forever...but still have some speed in your legs but you have to train for it.
  3. Or a pure marathon runner?

And of course, last but not least, you may be a beginner running - training for your first 5k run.

The answer to that question helps you identify what work to do for a better 5k.

That is :

If you are the speed person...

You can focus on that speed as sort of your base.

You will do a more speed-based training program (but never forget the endurance work, of course)

If you are an endurance person..

You like to do on the longer work.

Your work should mainly consist of longer intervals with only small speed work as part of the endurance sessions.

If you want to run the 5k as a lead up to the marathon coming down the road...

Your 5000 training should be used as a building block in the marathon training.

I explain some more about this in the 5k marathon training article here.

We are all different.

The fun thing about training for the 5k is that you can test and try different models of training.

Without a huge downfall.

In the marathon it is different of course ; You do not want to get to half way and wonder if you chose the right marathon training schedule :)

Some 5 small but important scoops on training for a 5k

training for a 5kThese are just examples. You will find more information about the specifics on the other 5k articles, the 10k article and in the "running tips" section.

So this is sort of a start - with 5 small but important tips :

These are,

  • A medium-hard session 4 days pre race
  • Treadmill for fast stuff
  • Hit the nearby track
  • Combine with 10k work
  • Know where to place it in a marathon schedule

Each one is explained below.

A good choice for the last medium-hard session is 4 days before a race.

And the last really, really hard one about 10 days before.

This helps you hit it "right" on the day - because muscular tension generally takes a few days to increase - then a couple more to go down to "normal but alert".

It seems that for most 5k runners a medium hard session 4 days before works good for hitting it right on the day.

Use the treadmill for some of the faster 5k type stuff.

I have personally very, very good experience with this.

It may not be the most fun thing you do, to run on the spot but it is actually excellent work to improve running economy.

I am a big fan of treadmill running for that particular reason.

You may read more about treadmill running in this article. And you can see my viewpoints on this topic.

Even if your 5k is a road race, hit the nearby track for some faster work.

This will help you even on the road 5k races. Because you get the springy effect from the track.

  • Your tendons will gain elasticity.
  • More elasticity means less effort for the same speed.
  • Which is in reality better running economy.

Combine 5k training with 10k training for parts of training cycle

That is : up until the last 4-5 weeks when pace should be steered to 5k training only.

For those of you that are interested in 10k training - there is a separate section about 10k training here, where you will find some examples of training sessions to do.

If you wish the 5k to be part of your half marathon training schedule,know where to place those trainings/races in the total plan

In the marathon running articles you find on this site - what you will find is a training cycle that consists of 4 different, but equally important parts.

You have,

  • the 5k/10k part (first part)
  • the half marathon part (second part)
  • the marathon specific part (third part)
  • the tapering part (fourth part)

The key is to place the 5k work in a marathon cycle as early as possible - something I write more about in the 5k marathon training article that you will find on the bottom of this page.

But what kind of track workouts ?

A good commonly suggested model is 1:2 for your track workouts.

For each workout of shorter stuff (for example 10 time 0.5 lap/200 meters.), aim for 2 of the longer stuff (for example 1 mile repeats)

The alternation like this ensures muscle tension to stay in control and the variation helps with a faster increase in performance.

A last "intro note"

Attitude of good 5 k work is always finish the workout "on top" and this variation will help you control that.

Which means....

If you had to, you could have continued the workout for a few more runs. You have pushed hard but.....you still feel great.

Good luck with your 5k training quest, click below for more articles about 5k training or to go back to marathon training schedule index.


marathon training

New : If you want all these principles outlined in a complete plan check out the full 100 day Marathon plan...

FULL marathon training schedules "The 100 Day Marathon Training !"



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Related site-articles (no linking out) about 5k Training :

Speed training - Read about speed training and distance running. Workouts for improvement and what to consider.

5k Marathon Training - Smart tips and tricks to combine the 5k and the marathon training.

Couch to 5k Training Program - the couch potato to 5k training program - real beginners guide :)

Back from 5k training to marathon training schedule