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Running a 5k race in Under 19 Minutes - 5 Cents
Posted by: Mark Nichols

13 Nov 2011

Theres a 5k (3.1 mile) race every Thanksgiving morning I like to run. Every year when spring arrives I start to think about that race and how I need to train in order to beat my goal. This year my goal is to break 19 minutes. Last year I ran a 19:34.


I dont think it would normally take me a whole summer to train, but I am getting older. So even before starting running I stretch for a week or two for about 15 minutes a day. It eases the pain once I start to run. I include sit-ups and pushups in that routine. Then I get my body used to the exercise by running 3 to 5 miles a day five or six times a week. Its not stressful running. I dont include any intervals (like 800 meter repeats).


As I feel myself getting stronger over the summer I start to concentrate on how each part of my body is feeling. What is holding me back? Are my lungs burning while I run? Then I might want to work them harder by including a long hill or two in the run. Are my legs tired? Then I need to push them harder. Ill run the longer 5 mile distance more frequently. I realized this summer after a race that my quadriceps were weak (because I was sore the following day due to the sprinting start nature of races). So I started mixing in some short uphill sprints and focusing more of my stretching on that area. Now I find Im more flexible which will also help my stride. I think concentrating on a longer stride has helped my time improve over the last few months.


I could or should still include a more rigorous interval schedule that forces my lungs to work harder for a longer period of time (800 or 400 repeats). In high school we probably averaged 5 miles a day (with Sundays off), but we mixed up the training much more. Given that takes more time than I have (and admittedly more commitment), Im left to my rudimentary training adjustments (distance or path adjustments with only a few sprints thrown in).


I just timed myself last week at a 19:28 so I still have some improvement to make (granted it was a different course but very similar terrain). With a week and a half left before the big day I need to:


1) Run some longer distances (6+ miles) to keep pushing my legs;

2) Run a few tough hill repeats to keep pushing my lungs;

3) Get a good nights sleep of 8 hours two nights before the race (the race is Thursday, so Tuesday night);

4) Stretch well and take a very easy 1 mile run the day before the race in order to let my body recover;

5) Get at least 6 hours of sleep the night before the race.


Hopefully these steps will push me over the top. Itd also be nice to have favorable weather: little wind and perhaps 40 degrees Fahrenheit by the 9 am race time.


Wish me luck! Ill report back how I do.


© 2011 Dime Brothers
Category: Diary    

Reader Comments:

Only 5 days before the race. I timed myself this morning at 19:22. Not great strides, but considering I'm tired and a little sore, I might be in good shape.
19 Nov 2011
I just timed myself at 23 seconds to eat two fruit-by-the-foots. While watching Over the Top. I'm ready.
19 Nov 2011
Tomorrow's Your Day
Run, kid, run!
23 Nov 2011
I ran a 19:19. That's a 6:13 pace per mile. It was about 32 degrees at race time, sunny, with a slight breeze (that hit you both ways somehow in the middle of the race, up the long hill and back down it).

So, my time is exactly what I've been running.

In college (for the one year I tried running) my coach was a fan of using heart rate training. Basically you run at some percent of your max heart rate. I don't think it worked for me. I think I need to practice like I race - run as fast as I can, basically.

So next summer and fall I'll need to pick up my pace in practice so my pace in races is also faster.
24 Nov 2011
Not too shabby! I'm, uh, just around that pace myself...
24 Nov 2011
I tried again this morning, under-rested, still sore actually from Thursday's race, and with a deep cough. 19:34. Oh well. Not to be this year.
26 Nov 2011
Saw some article on Yahoo! where it said training very hard in short bursts helped more than medium paced training over an hour. I think it was called Tabata training. Which backs up my thought that you should practice how you want to compete - all out!
03 Jan 2012
But what about very hard over an hour? Or staged training: medium-paced over an hour to lose weight for a month followed by very hard short bursts? Or...
03 Jan 2012

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