Journey to a sub 17 minute 5k

I have just completed a sub 20 minute 5k challenge and I have a personal challenge to break 40 minutes for 10k, which I think will happen naturally this year.

So I've started a thread, which I believe, is a really really hard challenge. No time limit attached as it is really difficult to know if I will ever be able to run this fast.

My current PB for 5k is 19:31 which I achieved last Saturday.

In the other threads the advice I've received has been invaluable and any further advice in this thread is welcome.

Almost impossible to imagine I will ever be able to run at sub 5:27m/m for 3.1 miles.



  • 10 miles done this week at a steady 8/8:30m/m.

    Quality run planned tomorrow - 4m with 2m at 10k pace.

    Target is to run 25 miles this week and 31 miles next week. The long runs at the weekend will have to fit in without affecting the family. So probably looking at some early starts or late finish on the Sunday.

    Watching Champions League tonight and Lewandowski is quality!

  • Hi all,

    I was reading Tony's sub 20 5k thread that has already been achieved, sorry to hi-jack the thread, but I was just wondering - Would doing the parkrun everyweek be a decent equivalent to speed work training?

    I enjoy the parkrun as a new runner, but I'd really like to break 20 mins within the next month. Currently sat at around the 20:40 mark, running around 15-20 miles per week, which includes the parkrun, a long slow run (7/8 miles) and a couple of recovery runs a week.

    Once again sorry for the hi-jack, but I couldn't find any info on whether the parkrun is a good "training" method.

  • 23 mile week.

    LSR 9 miles at 7:53m/m done today

  • Can't see the problem with running a parkrun every couple of weeks.



  • Tony Hunt 3Tony Hunt 3 ✭✭✭

    1 mile time trial on the road - 5:41

    OK time for breaking 19 mins for a 10k.

    Long way to go.


  • Great, a blogger ram raiding a forum!

    That's about as popular as a poo in a swimming pool.


    ....reminds me, I must have Benson clean my trunks.

  • Tony Hunt 3Tony Hunt 3 ✭✭✭


  • 19:11 in the Poole parkrun this morning

  • Where did you get to, timewise, Tony?

  • Hi I was browsing the web for a training programme for a sub 20 minute 5k and came across your blog, found it interesting. I'm a runner who goes out an runs, no structure. I have a Park run pb of 20 min 22 sec. I now want to break the sub 20 min 5k as a colleague has started Park run and we are now becoming competitive, and both want to break 20 mins. What's your thoughts ? I've started to do Park run every week and I currently slow jog the 1.8 miles as a warm up.

  • I mean slow jogging the 1.8 miles to the Park run, and then running the 5k eyeballs out, before jogging the 1.8 miles home as a cool down.

  • Forget the sub 20 minute 5k, my colleague from work just posted a 19:52 at Parkrun today, will go back to plodding. Can't be arsed.

  • I can't imagine not wanting to improve times. It takes discipline, increased fitness and mental strength to break PB's. It can be easier to give up because you feel you might not be able to do it.

    Daeve my PB at 5k is currently 19:05. I'm running the Bournemouth Half Marathon Oct 6th so I'm tapering at the mo. Once I've run the half I'll concentrate the 5k.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    A 5k race is a time trial. Speed work is something else entirely And serves a different purpose.

    No they are not substitutes. 

  • I agree Nayan. Race pace is not training pace.

  • Thanks for the reply Tony / Nayan. I decided to kick myself up the arse and get back on it. I'm planning to run 6 days a week with 1 day complete rest doing nothing. Sunday's I'm looking at a LSR of 8 - 10 miles, 1 day designated to interval work, with a couple of tempo runs and a couple of easy runs. What do you think ? would love some feedback.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    from what I have seen, you want your training to feature training stress driven by- and body adaptations in response to-

    -speedwork (so you get used to running at a faster pace than before)

    -a 'comfortably hard' tempo run (so that you get used to holding pace and clearing lactate)

    -a long slow run where you focus more on time spent on your feet than on speed.


    You'll have to investigate training plans and coaching philisophies for yourself and experiment a bit to see what works for you. EG some like to use short gentle running to help recovery. I tended towards walking and also swimming.  

    Also, the magic happens as your body recovers from these sessions - you grow more muscle fibres, capilliaries and so on. Meaning you have to pay attention to rest, recovery and refueling, or you will just run yourselff into the ground and get injured.


  • I would build up base miles first then worry about intervals. 

  • Thanks Nayan I will look into that.I think I've got the base Tony as I've been running for about 12 years, but as I said previous never any proper structure, churning out junk miles with no quality sessions ie fast tempo's & intervals, which is why I've seen not much progress over the years. Felt really good though last night ran 6.5 miles @ just over 8 min/mile pace with a low heart rate.

    BTW Tony good luck this weekend, hoping for a pb ? if so smash it up.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    MAin thing seems to be to make sure every run serves a purpose (which includes relaxation and running just for the pleasure of it of course), and not overdoing things

  • Thank you Running. Hoping for a sub 90min time Which would be a PB as it's my 1st race at HM distance. 1:43:00 approx done in training by the way.

  • Haven't done a HM for about 7/8 years,  got a 1 hour 37 min @ the Wokingham Half which is fast & flat. Should you duck under the 90 minute mark keep the Wokingham half in mind, it's normally run mid to late February, should you want to go even quicker.

  • The Wokey Cokey is 9th Feb this year.

  • Might be up for that then.

  • Or next year.

  • Ok, I have a race plan for this Sunday. From research and my own race experience (5k & 10k) starting out too fast is far to easy to do. 1st 3 miles need to feel fairly comfortable and then hit goal pace from 4m to 10m. The last 3.1 I'm going to dig deep and see what's left in the tank. Here are my predicted splits -

    1 - 3m 7m/m
    4 - 10m 6:52m/m
    11 - 13.1m 6:40m/m

    Result - sub 90min Half Marathon

  • Id be starting out at 6:45 Tony as it will be very difficult to speed up after 10 miles.
  • I think that sounds like a good plan, main problem for me would to be so disciplined and stick to your plan, it is so hard to actually do that in a race especially if you are only altering your pace by 10 - 15 seconds per mile. Good luck, come back and let us know how you get on

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