Saturday, April 5, 2014

Reflections on 5K training plans

As I made my racing plans for the first half of the year, I realized that the timing of races and vacations meant I'd be able to — and probably should — use a 5K-specific training plan.

It's been only recently that I aimed for speed at 5Ks, and in my running career almost every 5K has fallen during half-marathon training anyway.

So this spring, I was intrigued, excited and hopeful to implement a speed-specific plan.

Looking back, though, I have to say that I don't think I'll do that again. Or at the very least, I'll try a different routine.

Part of the fault lies with me, I'll admit that. I lost a week because of illness, and I made a few changes to the program that I thought would improve it.

But I do know, however, that I'm not alone. When I wrote earlier about adjusting my expectations for the 5K, I received a supportive tweet from Karla:
I always run my best times deep into training for longer distances. But to be fair, I've never properly trained for a 5K.
It made me wonder: Was it maybe not a coincidence that I shattered my 5K personal record at an event two-thirds of the way through half-marathon training that was going great?

The alterations I made to the training plan were an attempt to make it more speed-specific, but maybe I erred in dropping off some of the longer, easier runs (longer being relative, of course) — the half-marathon plan that I like does incorporate weekly speedwork, in addition to mid-distance and long runs.

Then again, running is definitely a head game, and I think that's especially true right now for me, considering the years of consistent running and biking under my belt and my age.

I could always try a 5K plan again. I might. But the next competitive 5K I have my eye on is during half-marathon training, so it won't be soon.


  1. Am back commenting on your some point you will bar me no doubt. Generic 5k training plans are just that an effort to one size fit all and that is likely how shoes are sold to you? First in setting forth a training plan look at those detailed log books and journal entries, which you must have you are a writer, these will tell you both where you are at where you have come from what you are ready for and what you should put together for training for that 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon or any other race. Pace, distance, foundation, all go into the formula, for instance we take the children to the track to run intervals in preparation for State Street Mile but they do not all do the same workouts so in doing your speed workouts how many, how fast, how often depends on all those notes you have kept. It is very common for people to run PR's for 5k and 10k's while training for 1/2 and full marathons. Many use those races for tempo and speed workouts as well as markers to see where there fitness is. Typically you can take that 5k time add around 30-40 seconds per mile and come up with a 1/2 marathon projected time if you have of course done any distance training. Make sure the next 5k plan you try is one developed for you. As always fun to read your comments.

  2. Hi Mike, glad to hear from you! (I promise the delayed response was because I was out of town ... not out of exhaustion haha.) I love the shoe analogy — makes total sense — next time I shoot for a 5K PR when I'm not already training for a half, I'll do more research and report back to you.