The path to a sub 15:00 5km

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26/02/2013 at 15:16

I used to train 'with' (well, looking at the distant heels of) a guy who ran a sub-14 min 5K, he placed a lot of faith in core stability work, which took him on a definite step in his running.  This is a very strong runner who competed in the European Champs, Commonwealth Games etc in the 'chase (his PB was 8.28 for the 'chase).  His weekly mileage was a fair bit higher than yours, his Sunday run would be two hours (and then he'd swim for a couple of hours afterwards).  But he built up to that incrementally over a long period of time (and so stayed injury-free).

03/03/2013 at 22:37

Summary of the week:

Monday- AM gym PM 12x60second (45s uphill + 15s flat sprinting)

Tuesday- AM 40 minutes easy 6:25/m PM 3x(6minutes Good + 6minutes tempo) with 3 minutes recovery. Average 5:32 then 5:18 pace

Wednesday- AM gym PM 45minutes steady

Thursday- AM 40 minutes easy PM 70 minutes easy/steady

Friday- Rest

Saturday- Sand dunes session

Sunday- 75 minutes steady 12.6miles at 5:57 pace

Total of about 70 miles. Maybe the biggest week I've every done! Feeling pretty good though and happy with how things are going. Long run is steadily improving in distance while maintaining time and heart rates. Although week was high mileage quite a lot was at a reasonably slow pace.

10/03/2013 at 13:37

The final week berfore the inter counties xc in Birmingham

Monday- AM 40 minutes easy PM 15minutes tempo (5:22/miles) + 2x6x200m hills

Tuesday- 40 minutes easy

Wednesday- 5+4+3+2+1 minutes relatively hard with 75s recovery

Thursday- Rest

Friday- 30 minutes easy

Saturday- Inter counties U20 age group- 35th

Sunday- 65minutes steady


Although I didn't as place as well as last year (I came 23rd in the same race), I was reasonably happy. 10 weeks ago I was very unfit and struggling to beat people previously I would not even worry about. All heading in the right direction. 4 more weeks of training and then my debut half-marathon in Madrid!

17/03/2013 at 23:06

Monday- AM Gym Pm 40 minutes easy (6:18/m)

Tuesday- AM 35 minutes easy (6:39/m) PM 2x10minutes tempo on grass (5:30/m) + 2x6x100m hills

Wednesday- AM Gym PM 45 minutes steady (5:54/m)

Thursday- AM 40 minutes easy (6:29/m) PM 2x3x500m (82-84s)

Friday- Rest

Saturday- Sand dunes hill session

Sunday- 75 minutes steady (6:03/m)


Really strugled with the track session. Definitely could feel that I hadn't done such fast runnning in a while. Dunes session was good but also took alot out of me. Sundays run was a bit of a stuggle! A 59 mile week. Mileage will decrease slightly as I add in track sessions. 

19/03/2013 at 20:05

Hi Nash, enjoying seeing how serious runners train. Just wondering why you run so fast on your long run on sunday? all books I've read, not personal experience, suggest slow long run.

Thanks, keep up the good training.

20/03/2013 at 05:44
What heart rate are you registering on you LSR against what maxhr? What is your resting hr?
20/03/2013 at 10:50

hi nash - i kick start my 5k specific training in a fortnight so if ok with you i will post it up here for advice and feedback from all too

20/03/2013 at 11:12

The path to a sub-15 minute 5K? 

For me, it would have to be a cycle-path - complete with bike.

22/03/2013 at 18:55

Sorry for not replying to all of these. I normally get an email! I do like the comment about the bike but I have a feeling that may be cheating!? 


I do run my long run faster than most people I think, however it is still a comfortable pace which I feel I could sustain for a marathon if I had too. My resting heart rate is 42BPM with a max of  around 190. For my steady runs (including long run) I keep my heart rate between 150-155. And for me is is comparatively slow! I'm averaging about 6:00/mile pace, but racing 3000m on the track I'm running at 4:43 pace. Even for 10 miles I'm racing at 5:18 pace.

And yes Dean, feel free to post here!

25/03/2013 at 19:22

Monday- AM gym PM 40 minutes easy at 6:03 pace (felt great!)

Tuesday- AM 40 minutes easy and 6:11 pace PM 4x(3mins Good pace + 7mins Tempo) + 6x80m strides. Tempo efforts were at 5:15 pace. session all on grass.

Wednesday- AM gym PM 45 minutes steady at 5:53 pace

Thursday- 40 minutes easy at 6:37 pace (feeling tired) PM 5x4mins@5k pace with 60s recovery. Again on grass but poor conditions. Was 5k intensity but running about 5:20/mile

Friday- rest

Saturday- 55mins steady at 6:36 pace. Back home now and running on wet moorland instead of dirt/tarmac trails. Consequently easy and steady runs will be at a slower pace but will be at the same intensity

Sunday- Wrap Up And Run Exeter 10k. An illegal course at the start was 35m above the finish however 4k of the route was on gravel/dirt trails which slowed it down a lot. Came 2nd and got an unofficial pb of 31:56. Very happy!

In summary I had two really good sessions this week on Tuesday and Thursday and managed a good race too. Ran 61 miles.


25/03/2013 at 21:05


I'm having a punt at moving up from 50mpw to 70mpw to see if it improves my times. Instead of a complete rest day I'm just putting in an easy 4/6 miler to sqeeze the miles in. Do you feel your rest days are absolutely necessary given how accustomed to easy running you must be?

25/03/2013 at 22:38

At the minute I feel like I do nee the complete day off. It gives me a chance to recover mentally and physically. Thursdays tough session doesn't seem quite so bad when I know I don't have to do anything on Friday. If you feel comfortable with 50mpw then try not taking a rest day for 3 weeks. If after then you feel you are coping then continue! More running is almost always better as long as your body can still recover enough that you are not always tired. I would recommend slowing building up to 70mpw though. Adding another 20 miles is quite a lot to just do in one go. At some point I will probably not take a day off but that may not be for a couple of years! Good luck!

26/03/2013 at 08:23

Thanks. Best of luck to you too. I'll monitor how I'm feeling but whether its blind enthusiasm or something else, I'm not feeling fatigued yet, but I am only two weeks into the 70mpw. There is certainly conflicting advice on the web about rest days.

26/03/2013 at 14:02

Just after a bit of advice, do a lot of road running but now looking to start doing a few track sessions to improve my speed, lactate threshhold and V02 Max, any suggestions on what sessions i should start off with? how often should i do a track session to get the most benefits out from it? cheers.

26/03/2013 at 14:25

The type of sessions you should do depend upon the main distance you want to race. It will also determine how often you should be doing track sessions! I find that 5x1km reps with 60s recovery are pretty good for the majority of distances. The number of reps and length of recovery will also depend on fitness.

27/03/2013 at 00:46

Im looking on doing 1500m races, not done them since left school 8 years ago so want to give track another go. My fitness level: i usually run 30-40 miles per week, mixed between slow runs, tempos, hill training, 1 mile reps at race pace for 10k, that type of training i currently do. cheers.

27/03/2013 at 10:52

For 1500m I'd say you'd really want to be doing 3 quality sessions a week, two of which would probably be on the track. The one off the track should be a tempo run, or long intervals at tempo pace e.g. 3x10 mintes with 2min recovery, 4x8mins with 90s recovery etc. On the track you should be doing sessions like 10x400m at 3km pace with 45-60s recovery, 2x10x200m with 30s and 5 minutes recovery, and 5x1000m with 60-75s recovery. The aim with all reps is to keep the times the same, and to perform them at a pace where if you had to do one more you could. These sessions are always made so much easier if you are running with other people but if you have the motivation to get out the door then it is fine to do them by yourself. I do all my sessions by myself and I think one advantage is that you don't push yourslef to the absolute limit. Apart from that I would recomend getting in a couple of steady 40-45 minute runs and one 75 minute steady run a week. If time is no issue going to the gym twice a week wouln't hurt, concentrating on legs but also doing core and some arms. Hope this helps!

27/03/2013 at 13:51

Thanks for all those session suggestions, massive help. I will give them a shot and see how it goes. One last question to what hart rate % would you say to run tempo and long interval sessions to?

thanks for the help

27/03/2013 at 14:05

I do about 85-92% of heart rate max for both long intervals and longer tempo sessions. I personally do far more long intervals than one continuous tempo run. You can get more quality milage in that way without as much stress on the body.

28/03/2013 at 15:31

Can i ask what does a tempo run actually do? what improvments do you get out of it? never done them personally. I thought they were to improve lactate threshold but isint lactate threshold roughly 10k race pace, were as tempo run is done 25-30sec slower per mile than 10k race pace? cheers.

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