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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Running plans: beat the 5k!

I transition into summer running in an unusual position.

I have no races coming up and I am teetering on the brink of injury.

This, to me, sounded like the ideal time for a little break. I mentioned once before that my hip/groin has been bothering me. For several months I've felt like my adductors are strained. I feel them sort of pulling on bone. During RnR NOLA I thought my lack of gym time was the culprit, perhaps my lack of abdominal strength. I do still need to work on that. I was ignoring the pain since it only occurred when I ran long miles and went away when I stopped running. However, now I am feeling pain at rest, and it's mostly my right side. It isn't bad, but I think I need to take care or it could become a problem.
Timely reading
So, my plan is to take this week off of running and see how I feel after that. After that, if I feel better, I'll pick running back up.  I will keep my miles a little lower and go for speed. Lucky me, Runner's World has an article on running a fast 5k. It has some suggested work-outs which will do just fine for my time goals.

Controversial question: The article says, "Busting the 25 minutes barrier marks you as a "serious runner." Discuss. 

Since the 5k is so tough for me, does anyone have any good tips for training for them? Also I have no idea how to warm up before a 5k. That's something I need to learn, too.


  1. The 5k is my crack.
    I'm not a "good" 13.1 or marathoner, but I am a decent 5k-er... Case in point: my half marathon pace implies that I'd run a 28 minute 5k. My current 5k PR is 24:04.

    What works for me:
    - Interval workouts every other week (my favorite is 8x400s)
    - Strides to warm up before the race. I run 10 minute "easy" then do 4-5 sets of 50 step strides AS FAST AS I POSSIBLY CAN. I finish this warmup 15-20 minutes before the start. It gets my body used to the exertion before the race starts, but gives me time to recover before I have to run hard.

    PS - IMHO a "serious runner" is anyone who runs on a regular basis. Pace is not an indicator of "seriousness."
    PPS - If you want more tips, send me a note! I could talk about this all day!

  2. doing 400m repeats really helps with the speed portion. On long runs, keep it under 10 miles and do a mid tempo pace for it.

    On 5k race day, it helps to warm-up for a mile or two. I notice it gives me a better leg turnover throughout the race.

  3. I hope you enjoy your break! I have no idea how to "train" for a 5k, but my training schedule usually consists of a mix of long runs, 800m intervals and hills. Lots and LOTS of hills.

  4. I hope you get better asap and this week off will be really good for you. I can't wait to see what crazy times you will pull off in the 5k!

  5. I don't have much advice since it's been about a year since i have ran a 5k, but you should drop Ana-maria an email or comment. She just trained a full cycle for the 5k and went 17 something (on a slightly short course).
    Are you up for running doubles? It's helpful so you can do more frequent speed work sessions followed by a short recovery run.

  6. You're making a smart move with the time off. I hope it does the trick.

    Can of worms with that sub-25 "serious" runner question! Lips sealed here.

  7. I have only ran one 5K and did it in 26 minutes. That was HARD. I also hadn't done any 5K-specific training though. I think it would be fun to train specifically for a fast 5K but I'm really NOT a fast runner at all and that's why I mostly stick with distance running.

  8. Weak adductors! My husband got injured recently and his PT told him he had the adductor strength of an 8 year-old girl. Since my adductors are shit usually, I have been doing his PT exercises with him. Start doing side planks with clam on your break (You Tube It). Much pain!

  9. Woohoo. I count as a serious runner - according to that article.

    I hope you can sort out your injury soon. It's no fun running with pain and it's even worse when the pain is there all the time.

  10. Oh I like controversy!

    What makes you a serious runner is what you put into it. If you run twice a year and can run a 21 minute 5k, you aren't a serious runner. If you run 2x per week and run a 27 minute 5k, you ARE a serious runner. DUH. Times are only important relative to your own capabilities.

    I've never run a 5k, and probably a good idea that I don't, because I don't warm up for anything. It would psych me out. I like going from GO!

  11. I can see how breaking 25 minutes could seem more "serious." Basically you'd have to run at 8 minutes or faster to break 25 minutes. But I think it all depends on what we think is a serious 5K time. To me if I hear anything sub 18 I think it is serious. SO it's all relative..

    As far as good workouts, tempos, track repeats (200, 400 & 800) and mile repeats just to name a few. After my 2 week break when I start back again, I'm going to get in some mile repeats. I want to do them faster than my goal split. (So since I want to hit 6-6:05 I'm going to aim my repeats to be around 5:55 or so....) Sample workout: I will do 2 mile warm-up. Then 4 x 1600 with 800 recovery jog in between each set. Then a 2 mile cool-down. 10 miles total.

  12. I consider myself a serious runner, because I run at least 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I won't ever break the 25 minute barrier for a 5K, and I am completely fine with that.

  13. I think anyone who trains consistently is a serious runner. I kinda hate the 5k because I'm uncomfortable the entire time...which probably means I need to run more of them!

    For your hip/groin, I would try some strengthening exercises. This is a great video from youtube that really helped me when I was in physical therapy for tendinitis!

    Good luck! I hope you feel better soon!

  14. I have never warmed up for a race in my life, I don't believe in warmups for some reason. Need to do some reading on this.

  15. I've read a few articles on warming up for 5ks and basically, the shorter the race, the longer the warm up. What's worked well for me is a 10-15 min EASY jog about 20 min before race start and then 4 or so quick, short strides.

  16. I just started training once a week with an insanely fast group (I'm way slower than everyone, but I know it will make me better). Here was our schedule the past couple months, to give you an idea of the different work outs. Plus this same group does a tempo run together once a week.

    4/3 3 x 1 mile
    4/10 12 x 400
    4/17 Mile Down
    4/24 20 x 1 minute
    5/1 6 x 800
    5/8 hills
    5/15 400/400/800/800/1200/1200/400
    5/22 1 mile time trial plus 4 x 800
    5/29 hills

  17. I am currently training for a 5k, it isn't my first one but it is the first one I am training for. I have never even come close to a 30:00 5k but I am a serious runner. It has nothing to do with pace.