Been running 5km and want to get quicker?

April 18, 2020

It's fantastic to see on social media how many people have taken part in the – Run 5, Donate 5 and Tag 5. If you haven’t seen people doing it you’ve been under a rock but what you have to do its run 5k, tag 5 of your mates to do the same and then donate £5 through the run for heroes charity which is raising money for NHS workers fighting Covid-19.

 

For some of you this might be your first 5km run or your 100th but in this short blog I want to outline how you can really pull that 5km time down within a few weeks and here’s how.

 

So lets first start with the basics on how to improve your 5km:

  • You need to run the 5km and have a time to work off – for this example we are going to use 24.00

  • You need to have a smart watch that shows current running pace and has the time/distance you’ve been running for

  • Be prepared to run 2-3 times a week (for most twice a week will illicit an improvement as you’re probably new to running)

 

So we’ve got our 5km time of 24 minutes flat and we want to knock some time off within the next 5 weeks. First we need to understand how fast we are running and how we can manipulate that speed in order to get better at running. Using this simple calculator https://www.alpfitness.com/fitness-calculators/calculate-pace-zones-for-running/ we can break down our running speeds:

 

Zone 1 – (easy 60% max HR sustainable for a long period of time, think brisk walk or very slow jog) 9:54 minute per mile or slower

 

Zone 2 – (steady 60-70% max HR sustainable for long periods but will start to tired, think marathon pace) 8:45-9:45 per mile pace

 

Zone 3 – (tempo 70-80% max HR sustainable for around 2-3 hours, think half marathon pace) 8:08-8:41 per mile pace

 

Zone 4 – (threshold 80-90% max HR sustainable for 30 minutes, think 5k pace) 7:45-8:04 pace

 

Zone 5 – (V02 max 90%+ max HR sustainable for 1-3 minutes, think 400-800m pace) 7:27 or faster (zone 5 can be broken into A, B and C but for the purpose of this blog we’ll keep it simple.

 

Now we have the basics on zones we need to know how fast we need to run at these paces for and how often. There are thousands of different running workouts out there on the internet which you can now use using these numbers but here is how I would recommend you break your sessions down.

 

Session 1 – Threshold run

 

Warm up – 15 minutes in zone 1-2

 

Set – 2 minutes @zone 4 (7:45-8:04 pace) 2 minutes @zone 2 (8:45-9:45 pace) x 6 

 

Cool down – 5 minutes in zone 1-2.

 

The goal of this session is to spend 12 minutes @threshold pace with easy recoveries, we would increase the total time you’re working at threshold each week to improve our fitness.

 

Session 2 – Tempo Run

 

5 minute warm up @zone 2 (8:45-9:45 pace)

 

30-45 minutes @zone 3 (8:08-8:41 pace)

 

5 minute cool down @zone 2 (8:45-9:45 pace)

 

Session 3 – Long aerobic run

 

75-90 minutes @zone 2 (8:45-9:45 pace)

 

Notice that over the week we are hitting 3 different heart zones over 3 different time domains. One short with higher intensity, one medium at tempo pace and one long at steady pace.

 

Over the next 5 weeks I’m going to release running workout for you to try playing around with these time domains and hopefully we’ll see some really positive results. If you only want to run twice a week get rid of the tempo run and do the long run, this will pay off long term as we are teaching you body to burn fat and build a much larger aerobic base.

 

There is also a video to accompany this blog on our Instagram. 

 

 


Jon.

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