View Full Version : Help with training for a 5k... with a catch.

Chris Forbis
08-04-2007, 10:50 AM
My school hosts a 5k race every year. I've never trained for it, and have posted times from 20:40 to 22:30 (3 times total). I would like to construct a 12 week training template for it. Race is 10 November, so training should begin 19 August.

What's the catch? I have no desire to completely dedicate every workout of the 12 weeks to the running of this race. And I'd like to break 20 minutes.

Currently my training each week consists of:
2 days Starting Strength lifting
1 day of sprints
1 day of a decent (8 or so miles) SS bike ride
several short walks and bike rides (1-2 miles)

I would really like to keep the SS lifting days (at least once a week) and sprinting day. I can add or subtract SS bike rides as needed.

My initial thoughts (per week):
2 days SS lifting
1 day of sprint work
1 day of longer running (pace work?)
1 day of Crossfit style metcon (max rounds in 20 minutes of something?)

Do any of you more knowledgeable people have any ideas? If it is necessary, I could justify dropping to 1 day of SS lifting a week.

I have no idea how the sprint work and longer running days should be structured to maximize performance for a 5k, so ideas there would be greatly appreciated.

Mike ODonnell
08-04-2007, 10:59 AM
Not a running expert but I have trained with an Ex-Pro triath guy. What's your idea of "sprinting"....I wouldnt waste time in 100yard running as it's not what you are training for. I would look more at 400-800m repeats (1-2 track laps) on your short days. Build up the quantity each week. Then do a longer day which may consist of mile repeats. It's only a 5k....I really don't think you need to run that distance to get used to it more than 2-3x over 12 weeks. I'd keep your training schedule flexible to judge recovery and times. Get a good stopwatch to wear and time all laps. If you are not seeing improvements weekly then you may be overdoing it. Like I said, not a pro but I would go with something like this (and it will depend on your base right now for volume)

Week 1-2
Sprint Day (1x/wk) - warmup 800, timed 400x3-4 with 2:1 rest ratio (if you run for 1:30, rest for 3)
Longer Day (1x/wk) - warmup 800, timed milex2-3 with 1:1 rest ratio (personally I don't like tracks, so I have a 1.5 trail run I do repeats on and time every lap)

then as the weeks progress either add 1-2 800s into your sprint day, add more repeats, lower the rest ratio, etc..etc..etc. Really you should see all times going down and down.

If you want a base value for 5k, run it week 1, 4, 8, 12 on your long day....to see times. You will start knowing what your sustainable race pace should be.

Hope it helps....this coming from a hockey player....who hates running...and loves beer....

Chris Forbis
08-04-2007, 01:49 PM
These are the kind of ideas I'm looking for.

Everyone else please chime in with additional thoughts.

Neal Winkler
08-04-2007, 03:08 PM
So are you just wanting to go to a maintenance level of strength? If so, you can get buy with a one day per week, and then follow a power running (http://powerrunning.com) type program .

Mon - Strength

Wed - 5k

Fri - Intervals (100's, 200's, 400's, 800's whatever). Just try all the different distances, more distance = more recovery time, then over the weeks decrease the recovery. You can even mix and match the distanes, e.g. Run 800, rest 3 minute, run 100, rest 30 sec., run 400, rest 1:30 min, ect.

I put the strength day after 2 rest days because you seem more concerned with not getting weak during this whole thing.

Or if you want 2 strength days:

Mon - Strength

Tue - Intervals

Wed - Off

Thursday - Strength

Fri - 5k

Sat/Sun - Off

Again, I put the strength after rest days since you seem to not want to get weaker.

I also like Mike's idea of not doing 5k's every week. You could change all your running to sprints with long rest and the short rest intervals.

You could also exchange some of the interval days with CrossFit metcons that include a run in them.

Neal Winkler
08-04-2007, 03:22 PM
Or I just thought of something else. You could put a few short sprints before your strength days, and then do all intervals for your run days.

William Hunter
08-04-2007, 05:24 PM
I also thought it would be a good idea to include your short sprints just prior to one of your strength WO's.

1. Sprint/Strength (maybe decrease squat volume)
2. Off
3. Intervals (400's and 800's)
4. Off
5. Strength
6. 2-3 mi run
7. Off

Robb Wolf
08-06-2007, 06:32 AM
I'm with MOD, 400-800m repeats will get you there without crushing everything else.

Chris Forbis
08-06-2007, 12:06 PM
Would 400m and 800m repeats (once a week for each) along with one longish (20 min) Crossfit metcon each week be sufficient? And throw in a 5k every 4 weeks to gauge progress...

Despite the fact that I am running a 5k (it's fundraiser for the booster club), I'm not overly fond of running long distances. Getting a good time on a steady diet of 400s and 800s would be pretty satisfying...

William Hunter
08-07-2007, 09:03 AM
You might try working in a timed 1.5-2 mi run in the next week, just to determine your current pace. If it is way off your goal pace, I would include at least a couple of longer efforts in your training cycle. If you're close, 400s and 800s will work out just fine.

Also, have you run much since you gained 20+ lbs? Makes a difference.

Chris Forbis
08-07-2007, 12:25 PM
Luckily (for running purposes), my gain of 23 pounds has dwindled to 16. Haven't run a whole lot aside from short sprints since the gain, so I think the first few times out are going to suck.

Am I completely insane for finding the idea of progressively adding weight via a vest over the 12 weeks compelling? Am I an idiot for thinking this?

Current thoughts...
Sunday: 20 min of Crossfit metcon (no running)
Tuesday: 400m x 5, start at 3:1 rest:work in week 1 and work it down to 1:1 by the end
Thursday: strength
odd numbered weeks: 800m x 3, start at 3:1 rest:work at week 1 and work down to 1:1 by the end
even numbered weeks: week 2, 2400m (@ target pace); week 4, 5000m; week 6, 3200m (@ pace); week 8, 5000m; week 10 4000m (@ pace)

Not a whole lot of strength training there. Whatever. I'll have all winter to work on that.


William Hunter
08-14-2007, 08:15 AM
Not trying to hijack your thread Chris, but I've just been informed by my wife that there's a local 5k at the end of September that we're both doing. I'm in a somewhat similar boat as you being that I'm historically skinny and have spent much of the last 2 years devoted to strength/weight gain with occasional forays back into CF style WOD's. I used to run quite a bit, but was never that fast, running 5k's from anywhere from 22 to 28 min, depending if I'd run at all in the preceding months. My jogging background succeeded in royally messing up my knees with chronic tendonosis and the combo of weighttraining, sprinting and abandoning the heel strike have helped me immeasurably. I've gone from 5'11 lean 160 up to 192 (bulking), now back down to 175 with the same leanness I had at 160 and running definitely feels different with the extra 15.

With only 6 weeks I don't have high expectations but I'd like to prove that I can run in the low 20's w/o any real running program, and with the extra muscle. Here's the plan I've been working on:

M - Lower body strength (I've been using lots of unilateral stuff b/c my sore knees really seem to thrive on this, and at the bottom of a heavy squat I catch myself shifting over to the left b/c of rt. knee wonkiness)

T - Upper body (vert push/pull)

W - 400's, maybe some 800's (but probably not)

Th - off

F - Upper body (horiz push/pull)

S - Roving 5 mile mountain trail loop with the dog. A combo of hill sprints, 2-5 min tempo runs with an unsustainable pace, and lots of walking. Often, I just do what the pooch wants (she hates jogging - smart dog)

Su - off

Again, not trying to hijack, just thought I'd throw this out there. I'm just going to see how this 37 yr old body responds to a moderate ramp up in mileage. Hopefully this will provide a nice break from the SS type training I've done recently, and I'll be able to hit the weights again hard in October/November.

Oh, and in answer to your last post, I don't have any experience in running with a weight vest but I personally wouldn't do it. Then again, my knees are tempermental and I'm not willing to take the risk. YMMV.

Mike ODonnell
08-14-2007, 08:33 AM
Hijack #2...Ha.

If you hadn't read it, an excellent article on running barefoot

I'd bookmark his main site for daily info...always full of great info considering too he is an ex-carb-loving-distance runner now coming out as someone who preaches lower carbs, sprints and weights.

Hijack over...go back to running Chris....

Chris Forbis
08-14-2007, 10:39 AM
Dr. G passed along a link to me. It is a (free) book (64 page pdf) by Gordon Pirie called Running Fast and Injury Free. He covers all kinds of stuff: diet, weight training, technique, etc. Some really insightful stuff.

This may be old hat to everyone, but there is quite a biit of useful info in it.

Right now his site is down as it seems it has exceeded its daily bandwidth. http://www.gordonpirie.com/
Once the site is back up, it is definitely worth checking out.

Chris Forbis
09-01-2007, 02:41 PM
Thought I would provide a bit of an update on my progress here. My training log has full details: http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=641&page=16

My diagnostic 5k run (on the actual course) at the beginning of training two Saturdays ago did not go well, with quite a few periods of walking needed. Time: 26:45.

I did 400m intervals on Tuesdays, strength on Thursdays, 800m intervals last Saturday, and Crossfit metcon (Cindy) on Sundays.

Today I ran 2400m with a goal of hitting my target pace (of 20min for the 5k). Target time was 9:36, actual was 10:08.

I'm pretty happy with my progress after two weeks (and basically building from scratch conditioning wise). I'm keeping with the same training for the next two weeks, just cutting down on rest ratios (from 3:1 to 2.5:1).

I'll check back in here after two more weeks, when I'll be running 5000m to gauge progress. I'll keep all the workouts in my training log.