5K training - should I prioritize intervals or tempo runs?

Hi Folks

So this season I'm wanting a new 5k PB. I have 18:25 to beat and that was done a couple of years ago on the back of a lot of mileage for marathon training (up to 95 mpw). I'm attempting to do training with more 5k specificity so my plan looks like this. I read that for 5k racing intervals are more beneficial than tempo runs so is it worth doing 2 of them per week at the expense of a tempo run?

MON PM - Hilly long run 12-14 miles
TUES AM - Slow but hilly 8.2 miles or just bike
WED NOON - Intervals, one of the 2 interval sessions described at the bottom of here https://mensrunninguk.co.uk/top-feature/parkrun-pb/
THURS AM - 4 mile tempo run or the 'Triple 8s' exercise also described at the above link
FRI - cycle (18 miles)
SAT AM - PARKRUN
SUN - rest

The Mon/Wed/Thus runs I find hard and I have a 9 mile cycle to work each way/day (replaced in one direction with the above runs apart from Wed) so figure I need easy days around the hard sessions to be a little fresh for each parkrun. Here's the things I'm considering changing

A- Combine the long run with a 4 mile tempo or triple 8s session and then do interval training on Wed & Thurs.
B- Just replace the Thurs tempo run with another interval session and skip the tempo run.
C- Add a hill sprints session on Sunday and keep the tempo run.
D- Swap my barcode with at sub 18min runner during the Parkrun warm up.

Any suggestions would be welcome
Steve

Comments

  • A sub 18 min 5k is going to be a real sprint, so you are going to need all your fast twitch fibres working to the max so some varied workouts will help you develop. 

    I too live in a hilly area and too many long runs on the hills gets me into the habit of trudging along at a slower pace (2mins per mile over my marathon time)- which is not so good for 5k training. 

    C- above is a great idea, but I would only go for two key workouts a week.

    Keep it mixed up and vary your sessions is the best medicine and hopefully prevent injury. 

    Core work is essential- I shaved big chunks off my 5k times- have a look at this discussion: 

    https://forums.runnersworld.co.uk/discussion/346523/looking-to-add-some-core-strength-or-weights-to-my-training-plan-advice#latest 

    I am also a big fan of cadence training- 180 steps per min pushing to 190/200 for the final 400m.

    Killer K's over a few weeks slowly reducing your recovery time is also a good way to stretch yourself. 

    Good luck

    Jake 

    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • Thanks Jake, sounds sensible. 

    So I wont add an extra Sun workout but will mix up my Thurs run to be one of pyramids, hill sprints or triple 8s. I'll also look into core workouts too. I always thought of core workouts as a bit of non-essential tuning (probably wrongly) but it sounds like I'll need to leave no stone unturned do this.

    Steve 
  • The closer you get to your peak performance the harder it becomes to shave seconds off your PB. 

    There are a range of factors (stones you can turn) that can impact your time and how seriously you pursue your goal will affect how much focus you give to the other factors. 

    Sleep and recovery- have you started taking ice baths yet so you can recover faster from your hard days?
    Alcohol intake- been able to cut it out?
    Hydration- do you drink enough water?
    Diet - Cut out fat and processed food/upped the intake of fish and fresh veg, or perhaps gone vegan?
    Psychological- started training your mind to block out pain that tells you to slow down and visualize success
    Warm up/cool down- have you got a regular routine?
    Core/Stretching- Everyone knows about it and most don't bother. 
    Race day strategy- knowing the route, getting a pacer, food on the day
    Kit- got the right shoes/garmin?

    I am 10 weeks away from the London Marathon and trying to shave 10 mins off my PB. I would give myself 7/10 for my training plan, but writing the above has made me realise I am 4/10 on some of the extra factors. 

    I read at the weekend that some elite runners add a third key workout to their weekly plan, but I would be cautious to avoid injury- you know your own body best. 


    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • Hi

    So I'm on course with most of that. Ice baths I tried during my marathon training but switched to cold showers as I found them too extreme.

    The Alcohol and diet. Pretty good on this front as the wife doesn't drink and so that effectively means I rarely do either. I eat well but in the evenings have a tendency to "feast" but am getting better at that.

    Kit wise I've researched some racing flats I shall buy. And things like caffeine tablets.

    I'm not great at the warm ups on park runs but when it comes to the PB attempts I'll make sure I do.

    Sleep wise I certainty try for early nights but 3 young kids and work life can sometimes skupper that and leave me tired.

    I think you made a good point on the previous post about volume of the hard workouts as I am struggling. So I'm giving the Thurs session a miss and counting the parkrun as a tempo run meaning 3 key sessions a week and will add one if and when I adapt.

    If you're taking your marathon prep seriously I should think you'll get your 10min marathon improvement... unless perhaps you went to ñth degree with all your training and milage last time. Then I'd take a 1 min improvement as a massive result. When I applied some research/science to my marathon training I took 30mins off my PB.

    Steve
  • Thanks Steve- I managed to do a couple of 50 mile weeks and added my first 20 mile run in last week only to be struck down with a cold a few days later. I have had a couple of days off and hope to start on some easy runs on the treadmill tonight and will start ramping it up again at the weekend- hopefully the snow goes soon. 

    I have got three kids too, but 30 mins off your PB is pretty amazing!  I trained pretty hard last time, but this time I am starting with a lot more base miles so I feel I have more endurance. 

    Incidentally - I have just released a new album of cadence training music. Check out my other thread...

    https://forums.runnersworld.co.uk/discussion/346919/cadence-training-and-getting-up-to-180-steps-per-minute#latest 
    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • Hey, it depends what exactly are you training for. If it`s short sprint or long run. In your case I`d go for tempo runs.
    I don`t` remember the name of the olympic runner, but using these trainings he managed 2 medals (bronze and silver) last time.
    However his odds of achiving that were not really bright before the tournament according to the famous online bookmakers in the UK
  • Am down to 18:14 now. Hopefully another couple of training cycles and I'll be there.
  • SteWood78 said:
    Am down to 18:14 now. Hopefully another couple of training cycles and I'll be there.
    Wow! That is totally awesome! Great work Steve. :smiley: Every second gets harder the closer you get to your goal, so don't expect it to happen over night. 

    I have the London Marathon on Sunday- It is looking like it is going to be very hot. Hopefully all the hours of training will have been worth it and I will get a sub 3h. :) 
    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • You need to have a balance of intervals and tempo sessions. 


    The parkrun on a Saturday, is that an all out effort every week ? 

    2 x intervals weekly then rotate a tempo run in every 4th workout

    I'd never do 2 tempo runs back to back in the same week - You wouldn't be doing them properly 
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • You have to move the interval and tempo sessions apart too, and also keep the long run a day away from sessions. 

    If you can't switch the days I'd just run easy on the Wednesday and have Thursday / Saturday as sessions 

    Your body is depleted from long run, then more from hilly medium run, then intervals and tempo run aren't quality and won't have desired effwct... Then trying to run parkrun fast isn't going to happen .
    Pain is weakness leaving the body
  • Thanks Scott. I've ended up splitting the main workouts up although at the weekend things can get a bit stacked up e.g Parkrun Sat, Hill session Sun and a long run on Monday. I don't go all out every Parkrun though and try to target ones for a PB.

    That said, Yesterday I actually got my PB target after a 3 week lay off due to injury picked up whilst doing hill sprints. My PB is now a 17:54 at Brighouse Parkrun #86

    Thanks
    Steve
  • Jake FrickerJake Fricker ✭✭✭
    Steve- that is amazing- so glad to hear you hit your target of sub 18! 

    I am am still stuck at 19.02- but now marathon season it over I can focus on speed. 

    What do do you think helped you the most? 

    Congratulations

    Jake
    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • Hi Jake

    Thanks, here's what I attribute it to in order of effect.

    1) Interval sessions
    2) Hill sessions (despite the fact that I got injured doing them)
    3) Having a rest/taper before the 5k
    4) Cometition / pacing (I was chasing the 1st place guy all the way round who was a good pacer and then had a 200M slog at the end racing for the finish)
    5) General consistency of training over a 4 month period.

    Steve
  • Jake FrickerJake Fricker ✭✭✭
    Thanks Steve. I pulled a hamstring doing hill sessions a year ago and it still niggles a bit now. They are brutal, but they work- just need to make sure we warm up properly. :) 
    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/AM-RUNNER-marathon-months-training/dp/1520530323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488549043&sr=8-1&keywords=i+am+a+runner

    PB’s
    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
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