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How to improve 5K time?

luckylilmama2012-01-23 01:14:44 +0000 #1
I did my first 5k the first week of Oct. and my time was 34:08. The course was very hilly and my uncle who has done 2 Ironmans said it was very difficult. So I didn't feel too bad since it was the second time I ran since spring (I've been riding 3-4 times a week since June). But today I've been playing around on some running forums and now I'm downright depressed with my time!

My neighborhood is pretty hilly, and that's normally where I run. I have been doing a ride once a week (which has suffered since I started running) and a ride on the trainer (when my toddler naps) and then running 2.8-3 miles 2 or 3times a week. I guess I thought since I've been riding all summer that would help me to not suck as a runner, but then I'm pretty slow at cycling too (my fastest average was 15.9 over 28 miles). I guess I just want some advice at how I can improve my running while still riding some too-that's DH's and my "special time" together. Should I go back and try to do a C25K program or something?

jessmarimba2012-01-23 01:17:41 +0000 #2
I want to say from the start that there is nothing wrong with either your running speed or your cycling speed

But if you are interested in being a faster runner, the best way to improve is to run fast. Duh, right? But what I mean is, most people have a set "pace" where they feel comfortable, and they (especially newer runners) will default to that pace no matter what their distance. You can speed up that pace by pushing your body even harder for short distances = interval training. (And also, tempo runs - where you run for a longer period of time at a level where you can't quite carry on a conversation). Your current default pace will start to feel easy and you'll naturally speed up a little at a time.

I have been a slacker as far as speedwork trainng goes lately, so I'm going to refer you to the internet in order to find appropriate workouts for a 5K time improvement. Or for a less-structured idea, try speeding up for short intervals - say, running faster (not a sprint, but faster than you'd feel comfortable) for half a block, then slowing to recover for a block and a half, then repeating 4 or 6 or 8 times. Vary the distances of your fast sections from week to week.

Also try a tempo run one day a week - try doing a 5-minute warmup, then running for 10-15 minutes at the slightly-too-hard-to-chat pace (or, if you're alone, the too out of breath to sing along to music pace), and then doing a 5 minute cool down.

Let me know if you have any questions or anything. I'm not a fast runner, but I'm faster than I used to be. My first 5k was about 35 minutes, I think, and it was miserable. Miserable enough that I don't run shorter distances anymore

P.S. - I lived in Murfreesboro, TN for awhile & just picked an old college roommate up at the airport here today...had an interesting time reminiscing - but I am certainly familiar with the hills in parts of the state!!
HillSlugger2012-01-23 01:59:08 +0000 #3
Among other things, I believe in training beyond the distance you will be racing. For 5k's I recommend training to at least 3.5 miles, and 4 miles would not be pushing it.

Most of your running should be at a slow, easy speed, a speed where you can easily hold a conversation. With running 2-3 times a week, at most one should be an uptempo run.

Also, you've got to give it time. Keep up a consistent training schedule and I can pretty much guarantee you'll be faster in the spring.




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