Components of a Successful 5K Plan
Here are the components of the 5K plan I’ll have you do:
#1) Speed Zone workouts
I mentioned these above as well. Since the race occurs between your VO2max pace and lactate threshold pace, you must improve your VO2max in addition to your lactate threshold.
Traditional speed workouts as they are called are designed to boost your maximum oxygen consumption (aka VO2max) but they also help with a a few other performance enhancers. First, you improve your running economy. This will help race pace feel easier. Second, you get a lot for mental toughness training. Speed workouts really challenge your brain to keep going even when you are suffering. This, too, is great for improving your racing ability.
Lastly, speed workouts break up all the stamina and endurance training that half-marathoners and marathoners do and I dare say are fun – often because runners get together to do speed workouts and the camaraderie really helps these tough workouts go by faster. Plus, there is a big sense of accomplishment when you finish a speed workout.
Again, after entering your information into the McMillanRunning.com calculator, you’ll see the Recommended Workouts section where you can see examples of the types of workouts I recommend you include in your training plan if you aren’t using one of my plans.
#2) Stamina Zone (aka Lactate Threshold) workouts
I talked a lot about stamina training above but will reiterate it here. You must improve your lactate threshold speed to race a faster 5K. Include the full spectrum of stamina zone workouts – steady state runs, tempo runs, tempo interval and cruise intervals in your plan. And start to learn which type you excel in and which ones you struggle with. This starts to give insight into your runner type.
After entering your information into the McMillanRunning.com calculator, you’ll see the Recommended Workouts section where you can see examples of the types of workouts, I recommend you include in your training plan if you aren’t using one of my plans.
#3) Pace practice
A great training plan includes goal pace workouts. Grooving your goal pace keeps you from going too fast too early in the race. Plus, goal pace workouts make you more economical at race pace. Plus, your brain learns what goal pace feels like when you are fresh at the start of a run as well as when you are fatigued later in a run.
My plans include a sequence of goal pace workouts that start with short, easily accomplishable goal pace workouts and build and build across the training so that by the time you get to the race, you really have goal pace dialed in and know with confidence that you can achieve your goal. (And if your goal pace workouts aren’t going well, you’ll know to adjust your expectations so you can still have a positive race.)
If you aren’t using one of my plans, just enter your information into the McMillanRunning.com calculator. You’ll see the Race Pace Workouts section where you can see examples of the types of goal workouts I recommend you include in your training plan
#4) Sprint Zone Workouts
I mentioned that tolerating lactic acid is a big part of racing a fast 5K and sprint zone workouts are perfect for improving this. You’ll do a few (it’s doesn’t take many) sprint workouts where you run fast, take a long recovery jog then run fast again to help flood your system with lactic acid then allow the body to remove it during the recovery jog.
Now, if you get a hamstring twitch when you hear the word “sprint,” don’t worry. I’ll ease you into faster running with leg speed workouts and form drills so you’re more than ready for these short, fast workouts. And as mentioned, it doesn’t take much lactic acid tolerance training to really improve the system.
As with Speed Zone workouts, if you aren’t using one of my plans, just enter your information into the McMillanRunning.com calculator. You’ll see the Race Pace Workouts section where you can see examples of the types of goal workouts I recommend you include in your training plan
Don’t get hurt. I’m going to say it again. Don’t get hurt. A few years ago, I made it my mission to reduce running injuries. If you’ve seen any of the research, it shows that 50-80% of runners get injured every training cycle to the point that it interrupts their training. That’s unacceptable.
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