The path to a sub 15:00 5km

I am in my first year of uni, but have been running practically my whole life! I love to train and race hard and have been fairly successful over the last few years. Current pb's: 5km 15:33, 5 mile 25:49, 10 mile 52:59. After a forced break due to injury I have started my comeback and have set myself the aim of running a sub 15:00 5000m by the end of the summer 2013. The thinking behind this thread is to share ideas with people of similar goals or who have already achieved this time. I also plan to document my training and so if I am successful it will give people an idea about the type and amount of training needed to run a sub 15:00. I hope people find this interesting and any comments will be gladly welcome!


  • So to start this off, currently I run 6 times a week covering around 40 miles but from now I will be increasing this back up to 9 times covering 50+ miles. I do three faster sessions a week, which are all off road at the moment but will move to the track come spring. One of these is always a sand dunes session with short sharp hills (unless there is a race). The others are intervals between 2 and 10 minutes ranging from a strong tempo pace down to a bit below 3km race pace. As well as this I do a 12 mile long run in 75 minutes plus two steady runs of 45 minutes. As I increase the number of sessions I will add in extra morning runs also of 45 minutes. I have one day off so by the time I am running 9 times a week I will do three double days. I am also starting again this week to do two gym sessions which I'm hoping will keep an injury I recently sustained at bay. Cardiff cross challenge tomorrow in the snow! Not as fit as i'd like to be but it will be good training (that what I keep telling myself at least!). 

  • So here is what I have done this last week:

    Mon- 40 min easy 

    Tue- 5x6min @ tempo with 1min recovery on grass

    Wed- 45 mins steady

    Thu- 4x50m strides + 5x4min @ 5km pace with 75sec recovery. Again on grass

    Fri- rest/flexibility

    Sat- 45min steady

    Sun- Cardiff Cross Challenge 6.9km


    Felt a twinge in my knee on the Tuesday but with ice and antinflamatorys it seems to be OK. Feeling unfit after having to take time out but not a bad week.

  • I know nothing about being able to run fast...........but personally if i was coming back from an injury i would not be doing any speed work for the first few weeks..........i would be building up my base miles and keeping an eye on the injury to check i'm not going to fast too soon.......

    have you got a coach at the uni to give advice.......and do you use park runs at all

  • I did complete a couple of weeks of easy running first before adding any speed sessions. I have a coach who gives me a schedule to follow, however he now lives abroard. I get a schedule emailed to me but there is no one there to oversee the session. I have done a couple of parkruns since september.

  • Nash01 - you've obviously got lots of talent but are young and need to be under the watchful eye of a decent coach to help you make the right decisions, steer your training and give you proper advice based first hand on working closely with you. It sounds to me like it's time to find a new coach that you can work with directly and give you the expertise you need. Best of luck.

  • It is under the coach I have now that has seen me make great improvements. We have had the same setup for two years now and it has worked well. He is very experience and has coached many athletes to international level. Obliviously it would be better if he was there to personally oversee sessions however, I would prefer to have an absent knowledgeable coach then a present poor coach.

  • Not quite sure I was implying you should swap a good coach for a bad one. Anyway, I'd obviously read the thread wrong and thought you were asking for advice on how take the next step towards a sub 15 5k. My bad. Remote coaching is obviously working for you which is great.

  • Sorry Johnas. I wasn't trying to shut you down. Any advice is appreciated! When I moved to uni I did join a local coach but I didn't feel that the training was specific to my main events. It did help training with people and a coach but the type of training I felt was more suited to 800/1500m runners. I decided to go back to my original coach as I knew his methods worked for me.

  • Is this thread a wind up?


  • How good is 15 min 5k.Is it better than a 1:55 800m

  • No, this thread is not a wind up, and Nash01 is a decent young athlete looking at his profile on Power of 10.

    Adam:  if you look at the WAVA tables (link below) the 1:55 is slightly better than a 14:59 for a 20 year old male...

    wava tables

    It is, of course, hard to make comments after looking at just one week's training, particularly in the post injury phase. Also i would need to know more about height, weight and any forms of other training such as weights or circuits. A few points though:
    - Build your long run up over time
    - Train with others where possible...OK, you may have to compromise some of the sessions, but it always seems easier when not on your own.
    - Incorporate a daily injury prevention routine  (flexibility especially) into your daily life!
    - Look at the bigger picture, and don't try to do too much too soon.

    How did you find the Cardiff XC?


    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • Thanks alehouse. Firstly I tend to do a 75mins long run every sunday covering about 12 mile (when fit). With regards to stretching I tend to stretch after every run but not for a great deal of time (~5mins). Will increase this as time permits. Last winter I was going to the gym twice a week working the running specific muscle in as similar an action as possible to when running. Core work too. I havent done any strength work this winter and I think that could partly be why I got injured. Am starting again this week and will slowly build it up. I found the cross challenge tough. I do all my training by myself except one easy run a week. It is definitely easier running with other people however it is hard to find people of similar pace to run with who also want to do similar sessions. Last year I ran it tired but still managed 11th place. This year I didn't do nearly as well. I wasn't expecting to though due to lack of fitness and recent racing experience.

  • With regards to weather a 1:55 800m is better than a 14:59 5km, last year 51 U20 men ran quicker than 1:55 whereas only 13 U20 men broke 15:00 for 5000m. You do have to take into account though that the 800m is a more popular event for an U20. 

  • Nice thread Nashy, there's probably only a couple of posters on this whole forum who could properly relate to your ability, and share tips.

    Those are guys like Marigold and Marders on the sub 3 thread. They're massively from the work exceptionally hard category with mileage,

    If you can keep injury free, you sound like you have more potential, and could really go places.

  • I was wondering if there is anyone on these threads that would have the experience or knowledge that could help......

    seems like you are doing well under your coach...not sure if there might be some better forums for any of the fast running clubs in the country have forums on their websites that you could read and join in even if you live nowhere near them.


    good luck and i hope you have a good and injury free year

  • Seren - I think Alehouse might just fit that category image

  • Thanks Stevie G and Seren Nos. To be honest I trust in the training that I am doing now but obviously there is always more you can learn and ideas you can try. And of course its not just the running but everything else that goes with it e.g. nutrition, strength work, mentality, stretching etc. I wanted to start a thread that interested people who don't necessary have outstanding times but still want to reach the best of their abilities. 

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    There's a running site called 'eightlane' which is aimed wholely and exclusively at elite runners. It may or thinks it may be better for coaching fast runners.

    I used to look at it simply for the forums where the postings were largely anonomous and mostly insulting.

    Ironic that the site was cleared up on account of the insults whereas the site inadvetantly insults every runner that can't do sub 5 minute miles on mud.


  • One of the other issues is, of course, getting in the right races! For some this can lead to a little soul searching re changing clubs. Either that or be prepared to travel to get to appropriate open meetings/BMC etc.

    Thanks for the kind words, PRF!  just for info for others, I don't really coach much these days, but used to be team manager and part of the coaching set up for a Premier League track club, so was involved with a range of internationals.

    One of the keys to successful coaching is knowing the runner: what works for one doesn't work for someone else. Hence I think we have to be careful giving or receiving advice on forums!

    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • Last year I didn't have that much of a track season but I have done a few BMC's and they definitely provide a good enviroment to pb. Saying that I ran my 5000m pb at a low devision mens southern league meet where there just happened to be one fast guy I could race against. 

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭
    Nash, I will be following your thread. I ran my first 5k last yr and got a 15.57 and intend to spend late spring trying to reduce it. Whilst a sub 15 will not be my target I'm sure there will be plenty of tips I can pick up / share.
  • Thanks Dean. That is a pretty impressive debut! Good luck.

  • Nash01 - just wanted to wish you the best of luck for the sub 15:00 and I hope you have an injury free year & achieve your goal.

    My current training is geared towards breaking my own 5k pb and getting sub 20 - I know it's way slower than your pace, but like you I will be improving my training over the coming months to hopefully achieve it.

    If you can get to a parkrun on a Saturday morning, they are a very good way of testing fitness over 5k.

    will follow this post with interest. All the best! image

  • Thanks for the comment. I think the park runs will be a great tool to monitor fitness and improvement. I have done a couple since being at uni, but previously I had no local event.

  • So here is my diary from last week:


    Monday- 45 minutes with 20 minutes at a good pace

    Tuesday- 4x8 minutes tempo with 90s recovery + 5x80m strides

    Wednesday- am 45 minutes steady pm gym

    Thursday- ill

    Friday- still not 100%

    Saturday- am 45 minutes steady pm gym session

    Sunday- long run 11.9mile in 75 minutes


    I ware a heart rate monitor for all my runs and that is how I judge my pace. The run on Monday is not a tough session. What I call "good pace" is roughly marathon pace. Tuesdays session was all on grass but was made a little difficult by all the snow. Thursday I woke up to a horrible cold and still wasn't feeling great on Friday so didn't run either day. I felt really good on Sundays long run. The snow had finally gone, the sun was out and I was feeling strong. I covered about 35 miles over the week and if I hadn't missed Thursday (where I was going to do 2x6x400m) it would have been easily up to 40. Overall fairly happy and feeling like I'm getting fitter.

  • An overview of the week 28th-3rd Feb:

    Monday- a.m. 45minutes steady (7mile) p.m. gym

    Tuesday- am 40 minutes easy pm 1200m tempo with 200m jog recovery

    Wednesday- 45minutes steady

    Thursday- 65minutes easy/steady (didn't want it to be this long but got lost!)

    Friday- rest

    Saturday- BUCS xc 72nd in the long race. Reasonably happy considering I had done a hard week of training. Found the race tough not helped by ridiculous amounts of mud!

    Sunday- 75 mintes steady (12.2miles)

    Total weekly millage worked out at about 64 miles. Only one hard session but also did a tough race. A reasonably productive week.


  • Stay uninjured whatever it takes (hours of pre-hab, stretching, foam-rolling, weights work etc. - you should probably be spending more time training whilst not-running than you do running), work on your stride (form drills help) and keep on gradually progressing your training over the space of years not months.

    Take advantage of the fact you're at uni and have the time to train pretty much full-time.

    I've had a look at your power of 10 profile. You're very young and have the potential to be a truly excellent runner. Your 10 mile time is exceptional and suggests that you've got a real future as a marathon runner. For now though keep honing your speed.

    *Should note that I've not run a sub 15 5k myself although a 31:38 10k and sub 70 half puts me in the same ball-park at least.
  • Thanks Hobbling Harrier. Appears to be sound advice. What do you mean by foam-rolling exactly? I do add in drills to some sessions but I must confess to normally just doing 10 minutes of easy running to warm-up. I do agree with you that my future is probably in the marathon, and also that I should concentrate on the speed. The idea is to really work on getting a low 5km time over the next couple of years.


  • This weeks training:

    Monday- 40 minutes easy running

    Tuesday- AM Gym session, PM drills + 6x6mins@tempo with 60 sec recovery + 5x100m strides

    Wednesday- AM 45 minutes steady PM 40 minutes easy/steady

    Thursday- AM Gym session PM 4x3mins@5k pace with 45 sec recovery.

    Friday- Rest

    Saturday- Gwent League at Bath. 5th

    Sunday- 75minutes steady run. 12.4miles

    Struggled with the Thursday session. I was planning on doing 6x3min but felt completely rubbish. Pleased with the result at Bath. First race post-injury where I have felt like I was going well. Didn't get the tactics right as was fading badly by the end but that can be worked on. 55 miles for the week

  • Go to start fitness and look at either "the grid" foam roller (original) or "the beast" which is the start fitness own brand version. Both are designed for you to roll on (hamstrings, ITB, quads and calves) and basically do the same job as a sports massage except you can do it without paying 40 quid each time. Also a really good core work-out.

    Any paces for the runs/workouts?
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