Improving my 5k time

Hi there,

I've been running with little structure for nearly 10 years. Recently, however, I discovered Park Run and have been somewhat addicted to bettering my time. At the moment I'm coming in at 19:30 - without killing myself. My target is 18:30 and I wondered what techniques I could work into my schedule (see below) to help me towards that.


Monday: 6-7 miles at a moderate pace

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 6-7 miles at a moderate pace

Thursday: 45 minutes of effort training

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5k

Sunday: 10-11 slow miles


Thank you in advance!




  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Can you give a bit more detail on the

    6-7 at moderate pace and also what the 45 mins of effort training is comprised of.
  • Hi,

    My 6-7 mile runs are roughly 8 minute miles or 7.5 if I've had some Weetabix. I tend to stick to flat surfaces with a little hill work for good measure. I try and maintain a consistent pace. My efforts are basically 100m walks followed by 100m of hard running. Hope that answers your question.

    Many thanks



  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Do you just do the same effort session every week? If so they need varying, and you need to do some tempo running ie longer intervals of effort but not flat out. IMO 100m efforts is not the optimal max effort session or improving a 5k time.

    In the first place you should visit mcmillan running website and get your training paces so that you are not randomly creating your speed. This will tell you based on current time, how fast you need to train at all types of training ie easy run, long run, tempo run pace etc.


  • Give your effort training a bit more structure - 400m, 800, 1200m with 90s rest. You're doing almost 30mpw so make the fast bit total 3 miles. Look at Macmillan for suitable paces.

    Perhaps swap your Thursday and Friday sessions to give yourself a bit more rest before your race on Saturday.
  • And make sure you warm up properly.
  • Introduce a long slow run. An hour plus. Even for 5k the difference will be massive.

    my week and a lot of runners week consists of 3 key sessions and easy running.


    tempo, long run and some form of reps. The difference structure will give you will be massive.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Also warming up properly. Running a 5k at that pace requires your heart and lungs etc to be fired up fully. Someone posted a professional 5k warm up on another thread along the lines of-

    2 miles running, with last 5 minutes at half marathon pace. Stretches and strides, then another 1 mile easy run, all aimed to finish about 5-10 mins before the start. You then essentially hit the race fired up.

  • All good advice - just need some longer intervals than 100m efforts, usually for most 5k runners 200m efforts are the shortest.

    Loads of combinations you can do - 5 x 1 mile is a good'un  if you can find a measured mile somewhere, or 10 x 400m on the track 'top and tailed' with a mile is another classic.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    If you look at the top guys, they will come out for a good hour to warm up for relatively short runs ie 10k's. I know many intermediate level; club guys who will warm up for 20 plus minutes for an 800 metres. I would not suggest it for anything more than 5k, however that and below are hard fast races and generally the shorter the distance you run the more likely your warm must be longter than the race.

    I think it depends where you are in the chain. If you are a 35 min 5k runner and that i pushing the edge of your limit then it would be a bad idea. I think for a race of any level there needs to be some steady running in the warm up just to get the oxygen and blood circulating through all the muscles. Even in a half marathon i would do strides and strtches and perhaps 5-6 mins steady at easy pace.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
  • you've got some good advice above. lots of +1's IMHO. I reckon what you do is good BUT you are used to it and as per the earlier comment I think change will be good. although, again, what you are doing in itself is ok.


    There MIGHT be a place for your beloved 100m. Use them as strides at the start of each session. 


    if you are looking to gain time over the coming couple of months I doubt the additional long slow run will make a jot of difference. f you are going to do a long 'slow' run make sure you know what 'slow' actually is.

    your sunday run I guess won't hurt. nice recovery



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