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1st Sub -20 5K - breakthrough advice!

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  • 07-04-2018 6:38pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭


    Hi there. im 40 and Im consistently getting sub 21-min 5k numbers ,
    after maybe only 1 year of running parkruns and (between 23mins finally down to low 20s)
    These days my training is as follows

    - Sun - 5 to 10 mile LSR
    - Mon - Rest
    - Tues - 5 x 1km intervals at 3.55mins pace per km
    - Wed - Rest
    - Thurs - Usually intervals (maybe 3x 1km repeats or a 30 min jog, depending on time.
    - Fri - Rest
    Saturday - Usually a parkrun every second week.

    also will compete in a few 5 mile or 10k races from time to time.

    Problem is im finding it tricky getting to that magic sub -20 . Im getting close to that breakthrough on a rather challenging course. would like to breakthough on a tougher course as it challenges me and i will find the flatter and faster courses a lot easier.
    but always seem to be stuck with about 15 or 20 seconds short.

    can anyone suggest a change to my running schedule? should i be doing more
    shorter speedwork or is my weekly mileage simply a little thin on the ground?
    i have read a lot about threshold and or tempo running but cant seem to understand it in simple terms.
    Ive looked at a lt of sample workouts online and it seems my third session of the week lacks something. Hills perhaps? speedwork over 400 m?

    i would only have 3 sessions or maybe 4(at a stretch) running days a week .
    or maybe i should just keep going and hope that in time i will get there.
    ALL ADVICE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,456 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    What pace do you do the long run at?

    Looks to me that you’re possibly doing too much of the same thing i.e. 1k repeats at 5k pace, a tough session for anyone. You’re possibly knackered every time you line up!

    Have you considered adding some variety - here’s a link for instance to a 5k schedule I’m more or less doing at the moment (Pfitzinger and Latter’s Faster Road Running).

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gxvB0r4mO5ii5HltZKkVyOMLH0Whe09YewU7RazsW0E/htmlview#gid=1779495702


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    Murph_D wrote: »
    What pace do you do the long run at?

    Looks to me that you’re possibly doing too much of the same thing i.e. 1k repeats at 5k pace, a tough session for anyone. You’re possibly knackered every time you line up!

    Have you considered adding some variety - here’s a link for instance to a 5k schedule I’m more or less doing at the moment (Pfitzinger and Latter’s Faster Road Running).

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gxvB0r4mO5ii5HltZKkVyOMLH0Whe09YewU7RazsW0E/htmlview#gid=1779495702



    Thanks for reply.
    Actually its a good question RE long run- im not sure how to pace the longer run.
    i read somewhere recently that it should be max 75 % of 5k pace - to maybe as slow as 55% of 5K
    target pace. i have never really applied this religiously as im only learning and i just though a long steady run was at any pace really.
    im hoping to stick to a 5-minute per km long run

    i find the long runs easy, its the shorter stuff that i struggle with.
    really i would not manage 2 cycles of 5 km repeats a week (2 minutes rest)

    im usually Ok starting a run like a 5k ...can easily make the sub 4.00 min splits
    until halfway....im struggling thereafter.

    thanks for the speadsheet! serious mileage there.....i will try to get my head round them.
    Thanks again for the advice. i think some variety is a very good idea.


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,126 Mod ✭✭✭✭adrian522


    Hi,

    This is another one you can try, it may be a bit more manageable:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nW31QAXoPR1S7MR5Q0Ex1nNRCmNFm7MHzpua68amv3w/edit#gid=1

    Tab = Graduate Plan. It was written by one of the posters here. And is based on the following which is worth a read:

    https://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/solving-the-5k-puzzle


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    adrian522 wrote: »
    Hi,

    This is another one you can try, it may be a bit more manageable:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nW31QAXoPR1S7MR5Q0Ex1nNRCmNFm7MHzpua68amv3w/edit#gid=1

    Tab = Graduate Plan. It was written by one of the posters here. And is based on the following which is worth a read:

    https://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/solving-the-5k-puzzle


    Really like the suggestions! thanks a lot. but i~ve always struggled with the concept of an easy run.
    if it is not a long run....what should my pace be for the easy run.
    i'm getting my intervals all sub 4 mins but based on the fact im more or less a
    20 min 5k runner....what pace should i do my easy runs at , based on my running experience and current 5k times ?
    all help very much appreciated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 53 ✭✭An_Reathai


    The usual rule of thumb for easy runs is a pace that is comfortable enough for you to maintain a conversation with someone you're running with. Normally for someone running around 20 mins for a 5k that would be between 5mins and 5mins30secs a km.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer


    Along with looking at the plans, I'd consider doing a longer long run. 5k is a distance that tests your endurance, and long runs are a great way of building endurance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    Singer wrote: »
    Along with looking at the plans, I'd consider doing a longer long run. 5k is a distance that tests your endurance, and long runs are a great way of building endurance.

    Excellent. How long would u go?. My recommended pace would be 5.00 mins per km as thats 75% of my 5k time.
    Would u extend it much beyond 1hr?
    And would u suggest incorporating hills at the end?
    Or simply maintaining a slow steady pace such as the above time?
    Thanks!


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,126 Mod ✭✭✭✭adrian522


    pinkles wrote: »
    Really like the suggestions! thanks a lot. but i~ve always struggled with the concept of an easy run.
    if it is not a long run....what should my pace be for the easy run.
    i'm getting my intervals all sub 4 mins but based on the fact im more or less a
    20 min 5k runner....what pace should i do my easy runs at , based on my running experience and current 5k times ?
    all help very much appreciated.

    Have a look at the mcMillan Running Calculator

    https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/

    you enter your current fitness level and goal time and it gives you suggested training paces for different types of runs. For you it suggests easy runs in the range: 4:52 - 5:29 and long runs in the range 4:54 -5:42.

    Those are ranges, the important thing is that easy runs feel easy and you don't push the pace to hit a number.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer


    In terms of distance/time, maybe try building your long run up to HM and then 15 miles. Consistently doing 2 hour long runs helped drop my 5k times. Don't worry about being near 5:00/km while you're increasing milage. There's more than one way to skin a cat here, but with the milage you're doing adding to your endurance by running more generally and/or increasing your long run should improve your times a good bit - just don't increase everything in one go. When I was knocking out sub-19 5ks last summer my long runs were generally run closer to 5:30 than 5:00.


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    yes good advice , i think i will increase my long run week by week to something close to HM.
    Just a question RE recovery , lets say on a sunday i do a 90 minute run.
    how long recovery would be needed before i do intervals or speedwork?
    i know this would be variable and depend on running experience and other factors.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer


    pinkles wrote: »
    yes good advice , i think i will increase my long run week by week to something close to HM.
    Just a question RE recovery , lets say on a sunday i do a 90 minute run.
    how long recovery would be needed before i do intervals or speedwork?
    i know this would be variable and depend on running experience and other factors.

    1 day good, 2 days better. My current routine is long run Sunday, very easy run Monday, club session Tuesday and sometimes I think I'm still feeling the long run on Tuesday. Last year I was doing the mid-week session on Wednesdays and I think they went better as a result.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    To add to what Singer said my typical week has long run Saturday and sessions Tuesday and Friday. It works well for me. Easy in between.


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    Singer wrote: »
    1 day good, 2 days better. My current routine is long run Sunday, very easy run Monday, club session Tuesday and sometimes I think I'm still feeling the long run on Tuesday. Last year I was doing the mid-week session on Wednesdays and I think they went better as a result.

    Ok. Great. I was thinking along thos lines. If u did do a recovery run on the m9nday , how long might it be ? 2 or 3 k or around that?

    So if u had say a 5k race on a Saturday, based on a tougher session on a wednesday, would u have an easy run on the thursday or simply rest.
    And woukd day before be a rest also?
    Thanks in advance.


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,126 Mod ✭✭✭✭adrian522


    Everyone is different and the distance of recovery runs would be based on the training history of the person. Some people may only do 2 or 3 k, other may do 12k or more. For recovery runs I'd say less is more and it should feel really easy and really slow. It's just about getting the legs moving again.

    I wouldn't copy the mileage singer is doing anyway or you will be doing 70 Mile weeks before too long :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 711 ✭✭✭conor_mc


    I clocked my first sub-20 5k during my first marathon cycle, long runs were done at 9-10 min/mile pace, no intervals or fast sessions on the boards novice plan. Would’ve started that plan after a few months of fast-ish 5-6km lunchtime runs.

    So based on my sample of one, I’d slow down your LR’s a bit, even to 6min/km, and increase the distance to 10-15 miles.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer


    pinkles wrote: »
    Ok. Great. I was thinking along thos lines. If u did do a recovery run on the m9nday , how long might it be ? 2 or 3 k or around that?

    So if u had say a 5k race on a Saturday, based on a tougher session on a wednesday, would u have an easy run on the thursday or simply rest.
    And woukd day before be a rest also?
    Thanks in advance.

    My "recovery" runs are a usually a good bit longer due to convenience, possibly counter-productively so, but what works for me possibly wouldn't work for you :) - just do some very easy running for long enough that you typically feel better afterwards. 30 minutes very easy could work well.
    adrian522 wrote: »
    Everyone is different and the distance of recovery runs would be based on the training history of the person. Some people may only do 2 or 3 k, other may do 12k or more. For recovery runs I'd say less is more and it should feel really easy and really slow. It's just about getting the legs moving again.

    I wouldn't copy the mileage singer is doing anyway or you will be doing 70 Mile weeks before too long :)

    Yeh, what I do isn't for everybody - I've generally prioritised miles over quality, well, more like made excuses for lack of quality with miles :)
    conor_mc wrote: »
    So based on my sample of one, I’d slow down your LR’s a bit, even to 6min/km, and increase the distance to 10-15 miles.

    Agreed on this. Again, small sample size but you'll get a lot out of improving endurance by extending the long run.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 591 ✭✭✭Cona


    +1 to Pac-Man advice

    I was in a similar situation to you a few years back. If you want that extra boost in performance, you need to review your current training and make some adjustments so that you are stressing your body into getting fitter.
    My advice:

    - Think and train in blocks of 4-6weeks. It takes your body time to adapt to new training stresses.

    - increase your mileage. Sub 20 5k you should be running minimum 35-45 miles a week (More is better)

    - LsR of 10-12 miles will be sufficient to break 20. Around 8 - 8.30 min per mile pace

    - include 1 VO2 max session per week e.g. Running at 90-95% max. Example: 6x1k at race pace or slightly faster.

    - include 1 tempo run per week. This session will help with speed endurance example: 12 mins @ LT pace + 10 mins at LT + 8 @ LT pace. 4 min jog recovery. LT pace should be around 7 min mile

    - Embrace the pain. 5k is 20 minutes of pure pain so you have to be used to this and need to simulate this in training.

    Mon: 7 easy

    Tues: 3 WU, 3x1000m off 2 min recovery + 3x800m off 1 min recovery + 3x400 off 45 secs recovery, WD

    Wed: 5 recover

    Thurs: 2 WU + 2 x 10 mins @ LT pace, 2 WD

    Fri: Rest

    Sat: 8-12 miles lsr


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    Great. Thanks for your advice and indded to any othera who contributed.
    Hopefully in a month or so i will have made tgat breakthrough.
    I like the idea of 4 -6 week blocks. I have tendency to rush things and overtrain as i get so close to sub 20.
    It amazes me how difficult that extra 10 seconds or so makes. Thought it was a mental thing but i really think my training is the problem and how it is structured.
    As u say i need a longer term structure to my training and adaptation to that.

    Everyone on here is dead on about prescribing more running , whether.longer long runs or regular easy runs.
    Over the past few months i have done maybe 1 speed workout a week with virtually no easy running . I would throw in hills somewhere every few weeks but it was unstructured.
    Im surprised i got as close as 20.06 on one occasion.
    Im not far away but your are all spot on about mixing up training and upping it a little bit.

    One week into it im slowly adapting to more running.
    Based on what i was doing i was probably only reaching the same plateau and my race times reflected this.

    Cona wrote: »
    +1 to Pac-Man advice

    I was in a similar situation to you a few years back. If you want that extra boost in performance, you need to review your current training and make some adjustments so that you are stressing your body into getting fitter.
    My advice:

    - Think and train in blocks of 4-6weeks. It takes your body time to adapt to new training stresses.

    - increase your mileage. Sub 20 5k you should be running minimum 35-45 miles a week (More is better)

    - LsR of 10-12 miles will be sufficient to break 20. Around 8 - 8.30 min per mile pace

    - include 1 VO2 max session per week e.g. Running at 90-95% max. Example: 6x1k at race pace or slightly faster.

    - include 1 tempo run per week. This session will help with speed endurance example: 12 mins @ LT pace + 10 mins at LT + 8 @ LT pace. 4 min jog recovery. LT pace should be around 7 min mile

    - Embrace the pain. 5k is 20 minutes of pure pain so you have to be used to this and need to simulate this in training.

    Mon: 7 easy

    Tues: 3 WU, 3x1000m off 2 min recovery + 3x800m off 1 min recovery + 3x400 off 45 secs recovery, WD

    Wed: 5 recover

    Thurs: 2 WU + 2 x 10 mins @ LT pace, 2 WD

    Fri: Rest

    Sat: 8-12 miles lsr


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 591 ✭✭✭Cona


    The fact you got so close to 20 minutes on an unstructured plan is quite good. Increased volume and added intensity will see you smash through 20 mins. You will start to know find out what works for you then and can target sub 19 soon enough.

    Keep us updated on progress. I've just started back running after a 2 year hiatus so my first goal is to go sub 20 as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    quote="Cona;106735555"]The fact you got so close to 20 minutes on an unstructured plan is quite good. Increased volume and added intensity will see you smash through 20 mins. You will start to know find out what works for you then and can target sub 19 soon enough.

    Keep us updated on progress. I've just started back running after a 2 year hiatus so my first goal is to go sub 20 as well.[/quote]


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  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    Cona wrote: »
    The fact you got so close to 20 minutes on an unstructured plan is quite good. Increased volume and added intensity will see you smash through 20 mins. You will start to know find out what works for you then and can target sub 19 soon enough.

    Keep us updated on progress. I've just started back running after a 2 year hiatus so my first goal is to go sub 20 as well.


    Thanks again just a quick question. . May seem irrelevant. . .
    But i have always trained and thought in 1k blocks particularly for intervals but also in terms of a race.
    Do many here recommend training / racing while using a pacer in miles as opposed to KM?
    Is it helpful to break a race into 3 parts rather than 5?

    I just think psychologically it may help to go with miles ? I just recently acquired a garmin.
    It has interested me how runners alway pace accordinf to miles even when preparing for km-specific races?
    The thought came to me when u mentioned mile intervals rather than km intervals.

    I suppose in training miles may push the runner to another level of discomfort thus increasing endurance.
    ? Or is this a non- issue?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 591 ✭✭✭Cona


    Absolutely no harm in thinking or training in miles.

    What you should try to understand is that your body doesn't really know what a kilometre is nor does it know what a mile is. It only responds to the time it has to run for. For example;

    Workout 1 consists of 8x400m reps running each at 1500m race pace or say 75 secs. After this you would be tired but would only have done about 10 mins of work, of which maybe 7 mins will have been at the most effective intensity for VO2 increase.

    Workout 2 however consists of 5 reps of 1200 m at slightly faster than 5k pace, say 4.15 mins.
    5 reps here will give you a total of 21 minutes at race intensity, with about 17 minutes at optimal intensity for improved vo2 performance.

    Workout 1 will above will target and stress your anaerobic system which can help make target race pace feel a bit easier. Workout 2 will more optimally target Vo2. So in summary, try to think in time spent at optimal training intensity versus the length. What you may find is that by running miles, you may become tired too soon and not complete the session as the last few reps you would slow down and thus ruin the training benefit. But, if you can manage it, 4x1 mile at race pace is fantastic session. But it's all about hitting a session, recovering, repeat. Smashing a ridiculously hard session might make it harder to keep training at the right intensity.

    Hope that helps somewhat


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭pinkles


    I tried the 3x1 Mile Intervals instead of 5×1KM ones.
    I know i am covering the same distance
    over the the respective sessions and maintaining the same pace.
    BUT i found the 3 repeats tougher which i actually think will stand to be longer term.

    Id love to be able to hit a 4th mile repeat but im a long way off that. Really tough going today and very windy.
    Managed to hit 6.25 / 6.26 on repeats 2, 3
    While the first one was my usual over keen self
    doing 6.09.
    I feel really did take the wind out of my sails for the remaining 2 repeats. I wont be doing that again as its unwise and poor race strategy.

    But despite that 3x mile repeats will be a weekly session for me. Good buzz.
    Cona wrote: »
    Absolutely no harm in thinking or training in miles.

    What you should try to understand is that your body doesn't really know what a kilometre is nor does it know what a mile is. It only responds to the time it has to run for. For example;

    Workout 1 consists of 8x400m reps running each at 1500m race pace or say 75 secs. After this you would be tired but would only have done about 10 mins of work, of which maybe 7 mins will have been at the most effective intensity for VO2 increase.

    Workout 2 however consists of 5 reps of 1200 m at slightly faster than 5k pace, say 4.15 mins.
    5 reps here will give you a total of 21 minutes at race intensity, with about 17 minutes at optimal intensity for improved vo2 performance.

    Workout 1 will above will target and stress your anaerobic system which can help make target race pace feel a bit easier. Workout 2 will more optimally target Vo2. So in summary, try to think in time spent at optimal training intensity versus the length. What you may find is that by running miles, you may become tired too soon and not complete the session as the last few reps you would slow down and thus ruin the training benefit. But, if you can manage it, 4x1 mile at race pace is fantastic session. But it's all about hitting a session, recovering, repeat. Smashing a ridiculously hard session might make it harder to keep training at the right intensity.

    Hope that helps somewhat


  • Registered Users Posts: 197 ✭✭novarapid


    this is well worth a read, you should pick out some helpful information that you can use to tweak your own training and find what works for you.
    i was as a similar level for a while and found this helpful
    Your very close to breaking 20, good luck with it.
    https://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/solving-the-5k-puzzle


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,968 ✭✭✭blindside88


    This is great reading guys. I’m a good bit off this pace but finding some great tips. I only started running 5ks about 3 weeks ago but have already seen times tumblr. Going to use of of the sessions mentioned above to try and drop the times further


  • Registered Users Posts: 921 ✭✭✭benjamin d


    pinkles wrote: »
    I tried the 3x1 Mile Intervals instead of 5×1KM ones.
    I know i am covering the same distance
    over the the respective sessions and maintaining the same pace.
    BUT i found the 3 repeats tougher which i actually think will stand to be longer term.

    Id love to be able to hit a 4th mile repeat but im a long way off that. Really tough going today and very windy.
    Managed to hit 6.25 / 6.26 on repeats 2, 3
    While the first one was my usual over keen self
    doing 6.09.
    I feel really did take the wind out of my sails for the remaining 2 repeats. I wont be doing that again as its unwise and poor race strategy.

    But despite that 3x mile repeats will be a weekly session for me. Good buzz.

    It sounds to me like you're basically there, you just need to keep up the work and for it to happen on the day now.

    I don't have any advice but I will say that since I started running 6 or 7 years ago I've now done a couple of marathons, plenty of races, some triathlons and so on, but the thing that put the biggest smile on my face was my first sub 20 5k. It's a great feeling and you'll hit it pretty soon I think!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,396 ✭✭✭Shedite27


    It may sound obvious, but setting a PB will involve "busting a gut" at the race in question. I always had a romantic idea in my head that you train sensibly with a plan, then show up on the day and can keep up the desired pace. In reality, when you're at the ~20min range at parkrun, the majority of "normal people" are maxed out.

    I've found when I'm going for a time lke that, you have to set into a pace, and hope you can keep it up for 5k, some days you'll feel goosed and only survive 2k, some days you'll feel great and still be on track at 4k only to fade, eventually you'll hit the magic day where you, the weather, the crowd all work in unison and you'll get the time.

    Also, try to find a pacer, a lot of parkruns organise them from time to time


  • Registered Users Posts: 716 ✭✭✭Reesy


    Shedite27 wrote: »
    ...I've found when I'm going for a time like that, you have to set into a pace, and hope you can keep it up for 5k, some days you'll feel goosed and only survive 2k, some days you'll feel great and still be on track at 4k only to fade, eventually you'll hit the magic day where you, the weather, the crowd all work in unison and you'll get the time.

    Also, try to find a pacer, a lot of parkruns organise them from time to time
    Thanks - think I'll try that at Parkrun in my goal to get under 21 mins.


  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭echat


    3 rest days are too many so I would lose one of them and after a few months lose another rest day. Work your way up to 30-40 miles a week if you have time and do some on grass.

    Doing intervals on the Thursday followed by a rest day and a race is not ideal. You should have an easy run between both.

    I would introduce a weekly run over 40-50 minutes at a solid pace throughout. This gives you consistent exposure to running at pace whereas the intervals can get you used to easing off after 3-4 minutes. Replace an interval session with this hardish run.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,893 ✭✭✭deisedude


    Good to see a few more in the same boat as myself trying to break the 20 minute mark. Got as close as 20.04 last year in the build up to Dublin Marathon but cut down on the shorter stuff 2 months previous to Dublin.

    Did my first 5K of the year last night and clocked 20:24 on a challenging enough course.

    Did the first mile at sub 20 pace but lost the momentum on the hills on mile 2.

    Anyway if I can keep consistent with my mileage and keep at the intervals I think I can crack it

    Best of luck to everyone going for the Sub 20!


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