Want to run a personal best? Improve your 5k & 10k – Part 1

Mastering the 5k and 10k distance is challenging to find the correct balance between speed and endurance. In the first of a series of articles I’m going to look at the different phases of training and some key workouts to try in the lead up to your goal 5k and 10k race.

Training Periodisation

To get the most out of your schedule you should always periodise your training programme. Periodisation of your training basically means organising your plan so you peak in time for a race rather than training at the same intensity all year round. This is also good for motivation and your mental and physical state by giving you different goals along different parts of the process and providing the body with a different stimulus.

Base Phase

With all distances the base phase should never be neglected. You wouldn’t build a house without foundations so taking the time to focus on building a good level of fitness, while making sure you’re strong and well conditioned is vital before you start progressing onto faster more specific work.

Key Sessions

Hills –Hill training strengthens the legs for running better than any other activity I know. At the same time it can help you improve leg speed and enhance your ability to run hills in races. Hill training provides a gentle introduction to faster running while improving your capacity to perform speed work down the line. Starting at 60-second reps gradually building the length of the interval to 3mins in duration. For more help on hill running check out this article.

Progressioon Runs – Progression runs are a key part of the Kenyan training schedule but that doesn’t mean runners of all abilities can’t do them! Start off slow, almost easy run pace and gradually build the pace in blocks of 10mins or miles. Each section should get progressively quicker until you are running @ your threshold. Choose somewhere to run where you can get into a rhythm and not have to worry about stopping to cross the road all the time. Develop aerobic fitness and running efficiency, while getting ready for specific tempo runs.

Long Tempos – Tempo runs aren’t meant as a hard session as daunting as they might sound. You need only be running in the range of 60% to 70% of your 5k pace for 8 to 12 miles. Sessions like this build the sort of endurance you build with high mileage; they just build it faster.

Don’t forget to check back soon for further advice and example sessions during the transition, race specific and taper phase, including an exclusive glimpse into my own training diary with some of the sessions I’ve performed in the lead up to some of my personal best races.