Speed session for 5k

Whats the best range of distances for reps to get quicker over 5k? Is anything over 1k helpful? Also what kind of volume should the session be, 5k? Or less?


  • Hi LSH-

    I can offer some insight to sessions I have done and will do to improve my 5 and 10km time - this summer I will target 5km on track but I need to build endurance too

    Few ways to go about this

    1) shorter sessions to target pace

    2) longer sessions to build speed but more focus on speed endurance so to speak

    3) tempo runs

    4) base build

    I won't go into detail about too much stuff and I'm no expert - speed comes with endurance, most people can run quickly it's a question of how long for

    Anyway - down to the answers

    Anything from 400 upto 1 mile is fine - to build speed the volume should be near race volume but ran faster -

    To make things easy for me I so the same session every week just aim to reduce pace/recoveries over time - I take my current PB and work from that on pace


    Firstly it's important to hit target pace , take the recovery you need but be consistent in both pace + recovery

    1) 10 x 400 off 60 seconds (to be at least race pace)

    2) 6x 800 off 90 seconds (race pace at least )

    3) 4/5 x 1 mile off 2 minutes ( at race pace) I do 6 x a mile at 10km pace)

    4) 4 mile tempo run - 20 seconds slower than race pace - per mile (to start with)

    I do sometimes do a 3x2 mild session - this can be ran at a little quicker than 10km pace and will be great for strength

    This will be around warm up warm down

    Any questions feel free to ask
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Forgot to add 5 x 1 km at race pace is perfect too

    Would advise between 90-120s recovery
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Ideally the plan would be to alternate a session per week - note target times and recovery times and start to settle hitting the target times and then reduce recovery - say by 5-10 seconds every so often -

    For overload / progression throw in an extra rep and build to say 6-8 km volume

    The idea is you'll be running slightly more than target race volume at at least target pace and then be able to reduce times

    For the moment tempo runs and steady runs will give you the base as long as you are nearing target race volume in training
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Cheers Scott interesting sessions - do you never work under 5k pace?

  • So (sorry to keep adding) the shorter the reps the quicker they are to be run - even by a few seconds -

    10x 400 is 4km volume

    6x800 is 4.8km

    And so forth -

    I'm sure your capable but I can work target times out based on a PB if you wish

    Slower than 3km pace quicker than 5km pace
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Yes sorry LSH down to near 3km pace

    Towards spring I will do even quicker stuff but I'll be something like

    4x800 at between mile/3km pace with longer recoveries (to start) as you progress they come down then perhaps on top of this

    2x 8 minutes threshold running (would say about 5mile pace for 5km)
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Thanks scott they look like good sessions I will let you know how I get on. Current PB is 18.04 (parkrun) and I'd love to be mid-17s this summer! Is there any benefit in 200m reps or are they too short?

  • 200s are ok I think close or once into track season you can introduce shorter stuff

    Soton AC did a 20x200 session few weeks back but I chose to do some threshold running on grass and it was something 4x2 minutes 2x6 minutes 4x2 minutes( all off same recovery and quicker than 10km pace-30 mins volume) over time reducing recoveries and increase the smaller reps (this was for a bit of XC speed)

    I've done it once before but wouldn't break reps too much but adding 2-4 200s at the end of a session flat out are ok - with jog recoveries and adds a nice mile onto volume

    I like a pyramid session such as


    Repeat 3x

    Or 1km/ 600/400 - speeding up (harder to do and trains body well)

    6 k volume ran at slightly quicker than race pace

    Lots of variations - simplicity to start with helps bu
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Going for say 17:30

    Breaking it down it's 5:38 pace overall

    So 84 seconds a lap-

    Here's an example of what I would plan -

    As emphasised - hitting target pace 1st then recovery time - after a few sessions you'll get a good idea of what suits - and if you can complete this just drop the times, or if your finding it hard/ hitting pace/ volume/ taking extra recovery - just slow it down a tad

    10x400 @ 83-85s (5:35-5:40m/m)

    6x800s @ 2:50-2:53 (5:40-5:45m/m)

    5x1km @ 3:34-3:38 (5:45-5:50/m)
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • As for tempo running

    - if you do some great -

    If not if definitely do it!

    Start on say 2/3 miles and build to 4/5 if targeting 5KM

    just 20 seconds slower than 5km pace so is guess around 6:10 m/m for you which would be a 19min 5km
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • I can't stress enough about core work too-

    I'm no coach but had fair amount experience

    Keep an eye out on my thread I'll be uploading sessions not just for me but to help others too- I'll just get them from my coach or be trialling my own when back running and stuff.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Thanks scott I'm ok with core work and tempo, just need some regularity in my speed work. Will start with the 400s in the week and let you know how I get on

  • How'd the sessions go?

    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Knee injury suffered over xmas flared up again Monday so been resting up and cycling! Cant string more than 2 weeks together at the moment. Cycling is fun, but don't get the same satisfaction as running! Gonna give it another week and start easy running I hope

  • Really hard with setbacks! Had it looked it?

    1st run in 3 weeks today - got alot of stick for it and pushing harder than I should have. Ran to feel though but now its 2-3 easy/steady weeks for me then re evaluate and see how I feel

    Hoping it settles down for you. I used to love cycling when out with a mate but on your own I find it a struggle.. 

    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • I saw that - take it easy would be a shame to ruin your rehab and patience so far

    Physio said it was a minor tear where my inner quad meets the knee (can't remember the technical term lol) both times its been after running XC which is a shame as I love it!

  • I will do!

    I love XC too! 

    The tear sounds like it's in a very nasty place! If its reoccurred I'd be tempted to get second opinion and also see what I can do to prevent it... But positive side were heading into track season image 

    Pain is weakness leaving the body
Sign In or Register to comment.