Advice on the Victory 5

My 5 mile PB was in the Victory 5 in 2004 - 32'33" at which point I was 2lbs lighter and only 17!

Anyway, things have moved on rather a lot. The day after my birthday this year (22nd June) I decided to take up base training. I got through about 8 weeks of this, and it all came crashing to an unfortunate end with a horrible gastric flu thing for a week, and what felt like the early onset of ITBS and soft tissue damage in my hip flexors.

After the week off for injury, I realised that I had my 4 remaining races of the year coming up, and that I needed to start thinking strategically about my training. The first race was the Overton 5, last weekend. A hilly 2-lap course, I managed to struggle round in 34'44". While I felt I couldn't have pushed it much harder, I still felt slightly concerned that this was so far outside my PB, especially as i'm trying to beat my PB this December. The other 2 remaining runs are the GNR and the GSR. The GNR will be treated as a LSR, because i'm pacing my mum, who is 33 years older and needs someone to help drag her round, as it's her first ever half. The GSR on the other hand is a different matter - i'd like to set a 10M PB on this of under 70 minutes if possible.

 At the moment I will just be working to maintain my condition until the GSR.

AFTER the GSR however, I was trying to come up with a schedule to get some hard and fast performance increases in during the weeks leading up to the Victory 5. What I came up with was basically a template 10k programme, which I assumed would give me both the speed and endurance to get me through a decent 5 miles.

My target is 32'00" OR under.

Day 1 - Hilly run: 4-5 miles inc. warmup and warmdown
Day 2 - 1 mile warmup, 12 x 400m @ 1:36, 0.5 mile warmdown (run at target 5k pace, 60 sec rests)
Day 3 - 1 mile warmup, 12 x 800m @ 3:20, 0.5 mile warmdown (run at target 10k pace, 90 sec rests)
Day 4 - LSR of 12.5 miles (totally aerobic pace, somewhere between 5.6 - 7.0mph)

Weekly total: approx. 25-35 mpw (including recovery runs if done)

On the days off I intended to include one Body Balance class and then possibly either an hour-long circuits class OR a 20 minute weights session followed by 25 minutes on the stationary bike. I would probably have one day of complete rest a week; however there is some possibility of adding random 30 minute recovery runs on the days when I am not doing the above four work sessions.

Can someone please criticise/praise/advise/scold etc.




  • Anyone? I'd really appreciate some suggestions, particularly from the sub-19min 5k crowd and anyone doing under 41 minutes for 10k.
  • Hi Paul,

    Definitely praise, not criticism! It sounds like you are very organised and well motivated, and have an excellent plan to perform well at the Victory 5. I'm no speedy runner but have a lot of experience (been running for 16 years) so just a couple of points for you to consider / mull over:

    1.) The speed sessions you do sound good - I take it you have about a 1 or 2 day gap in between? For variety you could vary where you do the session (sorry if you do this already) i.e grass 1 week, road the next, track the following.

    2.) The 5m race you were a bit disappointed with - I'd say dont give up heart, it was a hilly course, and I'm guessing the Victory 5 will be flatter, so you'll go faster on the day. Also as you've described your recent illness / ITBS problem, you were probably still not 100% on form on the day.

    3.) I'd keep up with 1 complete rest day per week. Over the years I've tried to run / train everyday, but after 5-6 weeks of this the body eventually gave way, and injury set in.

    4.) Recovery runs - I agree stick to about 2, between 20 - 35 mins in length, will help sustain your mileage for the week. Sometimes I mix in a few faster strides at the end, but you already have some good speed sessions in place, so not mandatory.

    5.) In terms of the GSR, where you'd like a good time and the Victory 5 race - how much gap is there between these races? Definitely realistic to aim for PB's in both if they are a few weeks apart.

    6.) Finally just keep up the good work - you have youth on your side so I'd say go for it!

  • ditch the shorter intervals for some proper length reps of a mile. You'd be better off trying to develop your VO2 max in this way than the shorter reps which seem to be weighted towards a track runner's programme - 1500m runner perhaps?
    Don't do your intervals on the track either - do them out on the road where the road goes, down, round corners,etc. You're aiming at real world conditions that replicate the conditions and terrain of the target event - track is not good for this in my opinion.
    Mile reps will be about 6m30s in length which (with 2 or 3mins rest) will develop your engine in the most efficient time. Knock out 3 of these in week 1, 4 in week 2,etc then when you get to 6 reps, start reducing the rest between reps (from 3 mins to 2 mins)

    Other real world intervals are 2 x 20mins at target 10k pace with 5mins rest inbetween

  • Forgot to mention 1 thing  - Do a 5m time trial about 3 - 4 weeks before the 5m race. As M M above says select a route which will be similar to the course of the Victory 5, so you get an idea of how you will perform on the day.

    And for the weeks when you are racing, I'd knock the speed sessions down to one per week - i.e a Tuesday with a race on a saturday or sunday.

  • Paul - essentially what you should be doing is looking at VO2max intervals to develop your top-end speed. Just google VO2max intervals and see what comes up - cycling and running are very similar in this regard with the length of the intervals being the same (between 4-8mins) so have a look at the cycling stuff as well.
    I'd also suggest a tempo session once a week as well - the kind of pace you could sustain for an hour and no more. the type of pace where if you raised the HR by a few beats you'd be stopping within 20yds or so. It's an unpleasant run tbh and mentally v hard but the rewards are well worth it. Start off with 30mins first, then add on 5mins a week as you get used to it and then stop when you get to an hour.
    Stick in your long run at a pace where you can hold a conversation in paragraphs;ie steady. For you this would be about 8min miling I would think.

    Outside of these three key sessions, just run easy as and when. You seem to be fairly clued up with non-running training from your posts so keep with these if you feel it's benefitting you.

  • Thanks for the input all-round guys, excellent stuff. I'll get on those links straight away.
  • MM: In line with what you were saying.. should I be following a schedule that's similar to the FIRST 3-a-week type thing? I liked your suggestion of a 2 x 20 min tempo session and the idea of doing the mile reps as speedwork... and also lengthier tempo runs of 30 mins or so.

    EMA: There's 5-6 weeks between the two events, so i'm hoping it's a big enough gap. I'm not sure about recovery runs.. or whether to cross-train. Any thoughts on this at all? I'll definitely stick to the one day off a week though, I think that's sensible.
  • I agree with alot thats been said, except I wouldn't ditch the 400m reps. 400s can improve your leg speed and if the intervals are short enough, stimulate your VOmax too. Personally I'd run them faster than 5K pace, between 1500m-3K pace would be better.

    Have you actually done a 12 X 800m session? I doubt it, I think this is way to optimistic. 5-7 X 800m would be enough and I'd run them faster than 10K pace, 5K pace would be ideal.

    Longer reps of upto a mile would be great If you can do 4 at 10K pace, thats ideal. Tempo session as described above 2 X 20mins (5mins recovery) are great too. Don't run your LSR too slow, 2mins slower than 10K pace, no slower.

    If you are prepared to train for 6 days/week then why don't you run them all. Easy sessions between your tough sessions will do far more good than the other stuff you've suggested. It would get your mileage upto 40/week which is what you need to improve. A couple of weight sessions on your easy days would be good too.

  • Hi, I don't really do as much speedwork as I should do... at the minute it's once or twice a week but I was base training pretty much all the summer until a couple of weeks ago.  Managed to crack under 40 mins for the 10k last weekend (woo!)

     I agree that the amount of reps on the 800m sessions is possibly a bit high, I would usually do 800s at 5k pace and the most I've done has been 7.

     The lactate threshold tempo run is a very useful one though... it can be very hit or miss though depending on how you feel at the time.  2x 20 mins is good, as is 1 x 30, doing it probably around 7 min miling or slightly less would be ideal.  It's the best thing for practising speed endurance at racing speed, as in a race it feels much easier just to give it that extra bit.

     Although getting up to about 40 mpw is the 'ideal' thing, you don't want to be doing it if you're setting off those injuries.  I would only throw in the recovery runs if you feel good, any signs of getting infections or niggly injuries and they can be scrapped without too much of a loss.  Also, I prefer to think of them as 'easy aerobic' runs rather than recovery so that it feels like I'm actually getting something out of it!  You seem pretty up on the stability, weights and cycling which is all good.  Keep that (more if you can't increase the running... although the stress on your body may lead to overtraining too), and the stretching after runs is always very important...

     have you been to a specialist running shop about whether your shoes are right for your gait? Also, even specialist running shoes get worn out a lot quicker than you think (I'm told it's every 400 miles by a professor in sports medicine... I hope not as I really can't afford 400 quid a year on running shoes!)

     Not even sure why I'm talking... you'll know more that I do, I've just being doing a module in sports medicine so I won't shut up about it!

  • Okay I'll bin the idea of doing 12 x 800m reps! I thought when I wrote it that it may have been a mite crazy.

    Re: Recovery runs - my knees are the only thing putting me off this... they are notoriously stubborn with mileage. I've tried learning POSE and running in flats, running regular in neutral shoes, running in support shoes etc. None of which worked. .... and i'm definitely getting the least knee pain at the moment with Mizuno support shoes (I pronate) with an angled wedge in one.

     I'm happy with what I can and will do weights-wise. It's just other aerobic activities that i'm not sure about. Whether I should stick with 4 harder runnign sessions and complete rest days... or supplementary aerobic work on the bike/rower/pool.

    I'll admit that the 800 session was a substitute for the tempo/threshhold run... simply because I'm not that keen on tempo/threshhold runs, but always quite enjoy track intervals and repeats. I find that they don't take that much out of me. For example, about 4 months ago I did 12 x 400m at the track and all fell between the 1:10 and 1:30 range. I took 60 seconds rest between each. At the same sort of time, I'd really struggle to run for 30 minutes at 7mm or quicker in a tempo run.

    I heard 400-600 miles for shoes too, which doesn't last long. Depends on the build quality of the shoes though. I had some Nike Structure Triax's and they packed up after about 3 months of doing 25mpw. Pile of overpriced rubbish.

  • I discussed this situation with another RW Forumite - "<a href="" title="Visit mmmm...marmite member profile">mmmm...marmite</a>", who suggested a schedule along the following lines:

    Tue - 10M including 20-30 min @ threshold
    Thu - 10M including eg., 4-6 x 1200m @ 10k pace or 4 x 2000m @ 10k pace with 2-3 min jog
    Sat - 8M with 8-12 x 150m strides
    Sun - long run eg., 15M progression run, start steady finish at ~marathon pace

     I quite like the sound of this I have to say. It'd bring me up to over 40mpw, which can only be a good thing, and has more of an endurance bias than own suggested schedule.

    Any thoughts?

  • The above looks far better than what you originally suggested, my only concern is that every session looks reasonably tough, with nothing easy. But if you've had a good base, and are injury free you should be fine.

    Sat. is the easiest session, so don't overdo the strides. Personally I'd do an Easy session on Wed. 5/6miles, but if you prefer to cross train then thats up to you.

    The above schedule looks very good for 10K - half distance.

  • I'll try it with no cross-training first, just to see if my body can handle it as-is. I'll give it a go this week in fact. Though I might play down the thursday session somewhat to make it a bit more manageable. I'll keep the mileage (43ish miles) the same as the above schedule though.
  • I've managed to talk to the girlfriend into coming out with me on a bike tomorrow for this:

    Tue - 10M including 20-30 min @ threshold

    Hopefully I can use her to pace me and help me hold the pace on the faster section in the middle of the run.

    Had a complete rest day today, and feeling good, so we'll see what happens.
  • Did 10 miles on a hilly route with my girlfriend cycling...

    Took almost exactly 75 minutes.. so pretty pleased with that. Did it as per the scheduled Tuesday run, with the middle 20 minutes being at tempo/threshold pace.

    Actually feel surprisingly good now.
  • Don't even feel too bad now! Quite glad not to be running till tomorrow mind.
  • Found out my 10M the other day was actually more like 9.5. There's an inconsistency between Google Earth, the GPS on my phone and the ergometer on my girlfriend's bike.

    So I did a slightly longer route today - more like 10.3M to make up for it. Took 1hr 17mins... and for the first 60 mins I alternated between 5 mins slow and 5 mins at 10k pace (6'46" miling).

    Don't feel too shabby now, but some of the race-pace uphill sections were killers. Various almost-throwing-up moments.

    Once again, glad to be having a day off tomorrow.
  • Current weight is 143lbs.... I want to be between 135 and 140 by the time the GSR comes around, so 5 weeks to knock a couple of kg off!
  • Paul,
    Sounds like everything is going in the right direction - good stuff!

    Just to clarify, the sessions I suggested were just the core workouts for the week. As Feel the Pain pointed out, some easy running in there would be good. Suggest working towards something like the following:

    Mon - 5M easy
    Tue - 10M incl. 20-30 min @ threshold (1/2M race pace/effort)
    Wed - 5M easy
    Thu - 10M incl. e.g., 4-6 x 1200m @ 10k pace or 4 x 2000m @ 10k pace with 2-3 min jog
    Fri - 5M easy
    Sat - 8M with 8-12 x 150m strides
    Sun - long run eg., 15M progression run, start steady finish at ~marathon pace


  • Even without the easy running, im topping out at the highest weekly mileage i've ever done! So I thought i'd just do a week of the core workouts to begin with, then add the easy running in over time.
  • I'm struggling with measuring routes... as I've said before i'm comparing what my phone GPS (Nokia Sports Tracker) says, alongside the ergometer on my girlfriend's bike... and neither correspond with Google Earth.

    Any how... today's run ended up being a hilly 2-lap route... took 59'31". I didn't bother with the 150m strides, because I really didn't feel too great when I woke up.

    Originally planned on doing 8M.... but according to Google Earth, the route was 7.2M. My GPS measured it at 7.86M. So who knows. But a good hour's workout anyway, on a reasonably tough course.
  • Bleugh... i've got a problem as far as tomorrow goes which might just mean I have to bin the LSR altogether.

     Got to take my dad to southampton to sort out the car my sister just bought... and then off out at 7pm for a friends birthday. And sometime between 8am and then i've got to sleep!

    Might have to retry this schedule next week with a few adjustments.

     Trying to fit a 15-miler in between two night shifts was always a bad idea.

  • 4.5 hours sleep did nothing to help me out!

    Went out aiming for 15... did 10.4 feeling absolutely terrible and gave up.

    1'29"32" - not impressed.

  • Right, in an attempt to stop my schedule for next week getting screwed, I have devised a plan to cover the next 7 days. My two nights off work are again wednesday and thursday.

    Mon - Rest
    Tue - 10M inc. 20-30 tempo
    Wed - Rest (some weights/gymnastics work with a personal trainer)
    Thu - 8M inc. 8-12 x 150m strides
    Fri - 15M progression run
    Sat - Rest
    Sun - 10M inc. 4-6 x 1200m at 10k pace

     Which should bring me up to 43 miles! Unlike the 35-38ish I did last week. I really do need to find an accurate way of measuring routes. Suggestions people?

  • Finally worked out a suitable 10M route for tomorrow! Actually equates to 300-400m over, but who cares... it's an improvement on last week.

     Given the GNR next week, i'm not entirely sure how to rework my schedule. Bearing in mind the fact i'm not going for a time, I think i'll just label the GNR as a progression run and do the rest of the week as normal.

  • Today:

    10.2M - Hilly Course - 1'23"33"

    That's a tad better! This is definitely a bona fide 10.2 miles, I checked with Google Earth and then my car. Knees feel a bit worse for wear, but other than that I felt pretty strong at the end.
  • Disappointing today. Rough nights sleep and poor eating...

    5.25 miles in 43'35" (was meant to be 8 miles)

    I'll catch the other 3 on saturday.

    15 tomorrow!
  • Small advice patient, it takes time and your approaching a fairly tough schedule.

    Personally if I go out for 8 miles I will do at least 8 miles, unless injury prevents it. I think it strengthens the mind. I think its bad practice to cut your run short while you're in the middle of it. If you feel rough, then decide BEFORE your run what you intend to do. Then if you start to feel better you can always increase it.

    Its probally just mental games, but running can be very mental too. Just try talking to TNGM!

  • Lol!

    Today - 15.26 Miles, hilly course, 2hrs 20 mins 58 seconds

    Very pleased with this... the longest run i've ever done!
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