5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

By the end of last week, you had accomplished several things. (Did you miss week one? Click here.) You were able to run five minutes at one time. You were also running about 18 minutes during a single workout, with very little walking. Is everything feeling good? Any aches and pains? Take a body check from time to time. Even though we’re taking things slow, you are still adding a great deal of exercise into your life. Be smart, if you’re feeling sore or tired, it is okay to take an extra rest day now and then. Your body talks to you. You just have to listen.

This week, we will be adding an optional extra running day into the mix. It will be shorter and easier that the others, but still it will be an extra day. Because of that addition, we’re not going to make a huge change in the length of your running intervals, but we will cut down a little on your rest intervals. If you have any shin or knee pain, do not add this extra day (and you should probably take an extra day off). Remember, each workout starts with an 8-10 minute brisk walk and ends with a 5 minute slower walk, stretching and icing.

Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: After your warm up, run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat both intervals.

Day Two: The point of this workout is to decrease your walking rest periods while maintaining your running intervals. Warm up, then run for four minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. This is a little less total running than we’ve been doing, but because we’re adding on another running day tomorrow, we don’t want to overdo it.

Day Three: (Optional) You may be feeling tired this morning, but unless you are hurting, try to push through it. It will be a pretty easy workout. After your warm up, run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Cool down.

Day Four: Rest Day. Strength, Yoga, Pilates, etc. are okay.

Day Five: This is your key workout of the week. Hopefully you are feeling strong after your rest day. Warm up. Run five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat three more times. Cool down.

Day Six: Repeat day five, with only three intervals.

Day Seven: Rest Day. You can take it completely off if you’d like, or do some weights, etc.

Congratulations! You’ve been running for a month! Great job! Next week we will lengthen the intervals, and one of the workouts will be all running (except the warm up/cool down).

Running Faster

 

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: This week add one half mile to your run on one day of the week.

The Interval Workout: We’re still on the track for this workout. Warm up for about a mile. This is a ladder workout. Each interval will be a little longer than the previous. You will be running each interval at about the same pace, about 90-95% of your max effort, though, so be careful not to go all out on some of the shorter intervals then not be able to keep the pace on the longer ones.

Interval 1: 200 meters (halfway around the track)
Interval 2: 400 meters
Interval 3: 600 meters
Interval 4: 800 meters
Interval 5: 1000 meters
Interval 6: 800 meters
Interval 7: 600 meters
Interval 8: 400 meters
Interval 9: 200 meters

Finish with a cool down and a good stretch.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: We are back on the road for this workout. After your warm up, increase your pace to about 85-90% of your maximum effort. Maintain this pace for one mile. Drop the speed and jog for about 3-5 minutes. Repeat one to three more times, depending on you current mileage (don’t exceed the distance of your long run). Finish with your cool down and stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workout, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week four is in the bag! Great job!

Honolulu Marathon, Blog School, Mimi Kirk and More!

I have a few (kind of random) things that I want to share with you. From the educational (Blog School), to the healthy (Mimi Kirk), to the (for me) exciting (Honolulu Marathon), to the mundane (health insurance), I decided to just jam it all in one post.

Going Back to Blog School

Blog Genie’s Blog School is back and if you’re a blogger, you really should think about signing up. Rita Berry kicks off school season on February 2 with a free, three part “Road Map” to blogging.

Blog-School-Screenshot

The Blog School Traffic Roadmap, 3 part training is totally free and will give you the tools and strategy you need to start building your traffic, whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years.

  • The 2 critical components you must get right before you build your traffic
  • Why promotion is the last thing you do to build your traffic and why most people try it first (and why they get frustrated)
  • The most valuable blogging exercise you’ll ever do, it’s what I still do every time I start a new blog or product
  • How to blog less for more traffic
  • Why the way we think about blog traffic is backwards and how correcting our mindset makes traffic so much easier to generate
  • The difference between high and low quality traffic and why you can create a better and more successful blog with less pageviews than you might think

I was a student in the first session of Blog School, so while this is affiliate link, I speak from experience that it is totally worth the investment.

Honolulu Marathon

In case you missed my Instagram post:

(I thought it was kind of cool that @HonoluluMarathon reposted this!)

Yes indeed, I signed Alan and myself up for the Honolulu Marathon! It seems like spur of the moment, but it really wasn’t. We’d hoped to go last year, but the stars did not align, so when a friend tagged me on a link to the early registration (only $55!), I took the plunge.

In case you didn’t know (or didn’t read the Instagram comment above), Honolulu was my first marathon. I wrote about it here. I’ve done the race six times, but I haven’t been back since 2003. Eleven years, but our plans will be the same. Fly over to Oahu on Friday before the race. After the race on Sunday, catch an island hopper over to Kauai, our favorite island, and spend four or five days in Hanalei. It’s a great place to relax after a marathon. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually want 2015 to fly by because the 2015 Honolulu Marathon is on December 13.

Medical Insurance

It sounds kind of silly to get so excited about something I took for granted while I was employed at my former job, but my new medical insurance starts on February 1! Yes, I have been uninsured since I was fired last summer. All that time, in spite of being really healthy, I’ve been worried about getting sick. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened (or won’t happen in the next 10 days, knock on wood). Thank you ObamaCare. Before my last job, I was denied affordable health insurance because I had a pre-existing condition: exercise induced asthma (I mean, come on, how ridiculous is that?). I will sleep much better now.

Fascial Stretch Therapy

I don’t talk about it very often, but I have been dealing with chronic lower back pain for several years now. I’ve tried a few things, including a chiropractor, stretching, and medication, but it has continued to be an issue for me. I’m sure some if has to do with what I’m doing right now, sitting here typing for a couple hours at a time. I think that finally I have found something that will make a difference.

Although Stretch to Win and Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) have been around over 20 years, most people haven’t heard of this undulating stretching technique that focuses on fascial continuities, rather than isolated muscles. Fascia is the connective tissue that that form sheets or bands beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs. FST is a special and specific technique that addresses the nervous system and joint capsules to help our muscles, which are surrounded by fascia, to function better, relieve pain, and correct minor structural issues of the body.

It is very popular at my fitness center right now, and I hope in the future to get certified myself, but last Saturday I became a true believer. We had a fitness event and I, sick as I was, manned the personal trainer booth, doing fitness and body composition assessments. We also had some lectures, vitamin B-12 shots, free chair massage, and other informational booths.

We also did free 10 minute FST sessions, which were the most popular item on the agenda. I finally had a chance to take a turn at the end of the event, and I got a little extra time (about 30 minutes). The therapist worked on my lower body, since that was my main issue. Afterwards I felt fine, but nothing super special. Of course at that point I just needed to go home and go to bed.

The next morning I woke up, and for the first time in months, maybe years, my back didn’t hurt. That was Sunday. Today is Wednesday and I am still pain free. As I said, I am a believer. FST is becoming popular among professional athletes as a way to correct imbalances in the body and improve athletic performance. I really suggest that if you have chronic pain that you look into FST. You can find certified therapists in your area here.

Mimi Kirk at Bikram Yoga University Village

Finally, for locals. My friend Kim, who owns Bikram Yoga University Village in Palm Desert (aren’t I lucky to have two friends who own yoga studios?), asked me to spread the word about a special event she is hosting at her studio on Sunday, January 25. Raw food chef, author, and “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50,” Mimi Kirk will be discussing raw food preparation, along with a food prep demonstration, tasting, and book signing of her book “The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing.”

Bikram Yoga Event

By the way, Mimi herself is the best model for her vegan, raw food lifestyle. This “sexiest vegetarian” is actually 75 years young!

Have you ever tried (or heard of) Fascial Stretch Therapy? Want to join me in Honolulu on December 13?

The Best Laid (Running) Plans…

Monday is usually my day to check in with my recent week of training. After finally sharing my revised training plan for the SLO Marathon, and having a really good start to the week, I was really excited about reporting how great week two of the plan went.

Well, the best laid (running) plans…

Oh, Monday was awesome. I ran according to plan, 6.1 miles with four at half marathon pace. Done, and it felt great! Then things started to go wrong.

Best Laid Plans 3

First, my Wednesday clients changed their training time. That meant I had to shorten my workout, which wasn’t too bad. It was my first interval workout in months, so I didn’t mind have it to shorten it to four-half mile repeats instead of six. I finished with just under four miles, but that was okay too.

Then it got worse.

As I was driving home from work on Thursday afternoon, I started to feel that little tickle feeling at the back of my throat that says that maybe you’re coming down with something. I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been surrounded by sick co-workers for over a month, so it was more surprising that I took so long to get sick. I took an extra dose of Vitamin C before bed and crossed my fingers.

Best Laid Plans 2As I posted on Instagram, I had good company while I was sick.

To no avail. Not only did I wake up with a full-fledged cold, I also had a migraine. It started about 11 pm on Thursday night and lasted until I went to bed the next night (though it had improved a lot by then). I had to call in sick to work and just lay pathetically in bed most of the day. Obviously, no running got done.

Saturday morning I woke up without a headache, but my cold was horrible. Unfortunately I had to work. We were having our January “Fitness Fling,” one of our busiest days of the year and I was needed. The four easy miles on the plan did not get done. I could just barely hold myself up, and when I finally go home I fell into bed.

Sunday was scheduled to be my 12 mile long run. That did NOT happen. Though I felt better in the morning, I had a terrible cough, runny nose, and just felt tired. I felt proud of the mile long walk I managed with the dogs.

Best Laid Plans

The upcoming week isn’t looking much better either. On the plan is seven miles with 6-half mile LT intervals. Yeah, right. I might have been able to get a few easy miles in, but that clients switched her appointment to 7:00 am on Monday and Wednesday, so I will need to make accommodations for the rest of the week too, even as I feel better. On Wednesday I have an hour between clients in the morning, so I can head out the door of the fitness center, warm up and do some hill repeats right outside the front door. The club where I work is on the incline up toward the Santa Rosa Mountains, so there are great inclines within the gates.

Of course that’s presuming my cold is gone. Or I can run a few easy miles.

So basically, by the time this all plays out I will lose about a week of my training plan. Not too bad since it is early on, but I really want to build the mileage up, especially on my long run. I’m not worried about the speed work. There is still plenty of time to reap the benefits, even if I miss a couple weeks.

It’s just annoying. And I didn’t feel very brave.

Brave

How was your training week? I hope it was better than mine!

3 Smoothies and a Juice plus my Revised Marathon Plan

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I won a Blendtec Blender in a giveaway on the Fitfluential blog. Well, it arrived last week and I have been busy creating smoothies and juices since then. Here are a few of my favorite blends.

Three Smoothies and a Juice

Rader Farms Fresh Start Morning Vitality Fusion Smoothie (Fresh Start Vitality Smoothie for short).

I had a chance through Influenster to sample Rader Farms Morning Vitality Fusion frozen fruit and vegetable blend. This Fresh Start blend contained nectarine, mango, sweet potato and carrot,  and is picked and frozen at the height of freshness. I have so say that it is an easy way to get delicious and healthy ingredients into your smoothie (or juice, or whatever you choose). The Morning Vitality Fusion is and excellent source of Vitamin A and C and is loaded with fiber.

Fresh Start Vitality Smoothie

Silk-alicious Smoothie

I recently had a chance to try the new Silk non-dairy Yogurt Alternative. Of course I had to make a smoothie!

Silk alicious Smoothie

Berry Avocado Smoothie

Adding avocado to a smoothie is a great way to add healthy fat to your diet. While I love the taste of avocado, it isn’t my go-to flavor for a smoothie. No worries. You don’t taste the avocado, but you do get a creamy richness in your smoothie.

Berry Avocado Smoothie

And Finally! Ultimate Green Juice

One of the reasons I was excited to win the Blendtec was to make juice. Even though I’m a vegan, I’m not a huge veggie eater (yeah, I know, irony). Juice is a great way to get your vegetables, and when made in a blender you get all the goodness and fiber. This was my first juice, improvised following a couple recipes and adding my own flair (the cilantro and arugula). While I loved it, Alan wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. He thought it had too much celery. Working on it.

Ultimate Green Juice

My Revised Training Schedule

Training Plan 3

When I first put my schedule for the SLO Marathon together, it did it rather quickly (blog deadline, you know). On reflection, I’ve changed it up at bit. I said that I wanted to rock this marathon, so I added a second speed workout during the week. That is the main change. My Monday run will serve as a second longest run, plus a longer, slower speed training day (like half marathon pace, marathon pace, etc.), while Wednesday will be a little higher intensity, long intervals and hills.

Date Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total Mileage
1/5-1/11/15 7.5 miles Rest 5 miles Half Marathon Pace (HMP) Rest Rest 10 miles 3 miles 25.5
1/12-1/18/15 6 miles 4 @ HMP Rest 5 miles ½ mile intervals 3 miles or Rest Rest 4 miles 12 miles 30
1/19-1/26/15 7 miles6 x ½ mile LT intervals with ¼ mile recovery Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 13 miles 5 miles 34
1/27-2/1/15 6 miles Marathon Pace (MP) Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 15 miles 5 miles 35
2/2-2/8/15 7 miles
5 @ HMP
Rest 5 miles
½ mile intervals
3 miles or Rest Rest 6 miles PS Half 34.1
2/9-2/15/15 4 miles Recovery Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 16 miles 6 miles 35
2/16-2/22/15 7 miles
5 @ HMP
Rest 6 miles
1 mile intervals
3 miles or Rest Rest 16 miles 6 miles 38
2/23-3/1/15 8 miles
MP
Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 18 miles 6 miles 41
3/2-3/8/15 8 miles
6 @ HMP
Rest 6 miles
1 mile intervals
3 miles or Rest Rest 6 miles Redlands Half 36.1
3/9-3/15/15 4 miles Recovery Rest 6 miles
4 @ LT Pace
3milesor Rest Rest 20 miles 5 miles 38
3/16-3/22/15 8 miles
MP
Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 16 miles Neg Split Run 6 miles 41
3/23-3/29/15 8 miles
6 @ HMP
Rest 5 miles
1 mile intervals
3 miles or Rest Rest 20 miles 6 miles 42
3/30-4/5/15 8 miles
1 mile LT intervals w/2 minute rest
Rest 6 miles
4 @ HMP
3 miles or Rest Rest 22 miles 6 miles 45
4/6-4/12/15 8 miles MP Rest 6 miles Hills 3 miles or Rest Rest 15 miles Neg Split Run 5 miles 37
4/13-4/19/25 8 miles
6 @ HMP
Rest 5 miles
½ mile intervals
Rest Rest 10 miles 5 miles 28
4/20-4/26/15 6 miles Rest 5 miles MP 3 miles Rest 2 miles SLO Marathon 16 + 26.2

This week I ran 25.5 miles. I’m a little behind where I wanted to be on my total mileage, but I’m happy with that. It will be increasing soon! I did not make to yoga at all this week, but I’ve got a class on my schedule for today. I really don’t want to let that go now that I’ve started back. Here’s my recap:

Monday: I ran 7.5 miles on the road. I was making up for missing a longer run the previous Saturday. It was cold, but I didn’t have a client in the morning, so I could start a little later.
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: After a one mile warm up, I ran three miles at half marathon pace. My goal was about 9 minutes miles, but I actually ran 8:53, 8:49, and 8:45, so I was really happy with that. And surprised! I took one break, at the halfway point, just walked for about 30 seconds.
Thursday/Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 miles on the road. The hardest part, because Alan is a little behind me on his schedule and was only running 8, was to add that extra 2 miles. It was important though, not so much for the extra mileage as for the mental aspect of pushing through.
Sunday: Doggy run (and recovery) day! Two miles with Penny and Johnny, one miles with Lily, Olivia, and Coco.

Not bad. Now that I have my schedule I am getting more excited for the marathon. You still have time to join me if you want! Remember you get a $10 discount with the code WOODAMB.

SLO Marathon

Do you make a lot of smoothies? Do you have a favorite recipe for a smoothie or juice that you’d like share? Link it up if you’d like!

Create Your Own Marathon Training Plan

Seven steps to making your own 16 week training program.

Marathon Training Plan

Are you planning to run a spring or summer marathon? Well, good for you! Do you have a training plan yet? It’s never to early to start planning your training, building a base, and mentally starting to prepare. While many of us can’t afford a coach (though it may not be as expensive as you think), a generic internet training plan doesn’t have to be the only option.

Believe it or not, you can create your own effective and safe training plan whether you are a beginner, looking to improve your times in your second or third marathon, or an experienced runner who wants to run at a high level. Just follow the steps below to create a 16 week marathon plan. Beginners, follow just the first five steps. If you have longer than 16 weeks until your marathon, use that time to build your base mileage. By the time you start the training plan, you should be able to run 10-12 miles for your long run, and about 25 miles per week.

Getting Started

Before you create your marathon training plan there are a few things you need to think about. First, you need a goal time. This can be based on a previous marathon or races of other distances (check here for a useful chart of time calculations). This time will be used for several purposes, including marathon pace runs, determining your long run pace, and giving you a guideline while you’re actually running your race.

It would also be helpful to know your race paces in the half marathon and 5k. If you don’t have those, that’s okay, you can gauge your training pace by effort level. Use a recent time, not your PR from two years ago.

Then sit down and figure out what days you can run. Think of your work and family schedule, then write down the days of the week that you can use for your training plan. Be honest with yourself. If you think you want to squeeze in a run on a weekday afternoon, but you know that you hate to run after work, don’t write it down.  Ideally you will plan to run a minimum of four to six days. You will need at least one day for a long run, so make note of that day. You will eventually need three to four hours for that workout.

Finally, make a chart that extends all the way to your marathon date. An Excel or Word table works just fine, or you can use a real calendar. See below for my revised SLO Marathon training plan. Label it Monday-Sunday, and date it through to your race. If you have any planned races, write them in. Now you’re ready to make your plan.

1. Long Run. The first step is to take a look at your long run. Working back from your marathon date, give yourself three weeks to taper. That will be your longest run. I would recommend at least 20-22 miles. For the first long run, write in your current long distance. Now, working back and forth, increase that mileage 1-3 miles per week. Every third week or so, give your body a break and cut back the long distance run by about 25%. Try to work in at least two runs of 20 miles or more.

Long runs should be run at an easy, slow pace, a minute or more below your goal race pace. During the second half of your training, plan to run about 5 or 6 miles of your long run at Marathon Pace, somewhere in the second half of your run. This will give you an idea of what race pace feels like, especially when your legs are already tired.

2. Recovery run. Ideally, the day after your long run will be a short recovery run or complete rest. A recovery run should be around 3-4 miles.

3. Speed Training. The second run to schedule in is your speed training run (more advanced runners will have a second hard run, see #6). Schedule this run so that you have at least one recovery day between it and your long run. Two is even better for beginners. The total mileage will be about 4-8 miles and you can choose from any of these workouts:

a. Hill Repeats
b. Tempo Workout: The link has directions on how to find your tempo workout pace and effort level.
c. Half Marathon Pace run: Warm up for about 10 minutes. Run 20-40 minutes at your current half marathon pace. Cool down for 5-10 minutes.
d. Interval Training: Longer intervals of 800-1600 meters, at a pace about 15 seconds per mile slower than your 5k pace.

Try to vary these workouts. If you know that your marathon has a lot of hills, you might want to schedule more hill workouts.

Note: If this is your first marathon and you “just want to finish” I still recommend this workout. It will help you feel stronger throughout your race.

4. Easy/Moderate runs. The other two or three days can be easy to moderate runs. Cross training is an option, especially for beginners. On one of those days, build your mileage a mile at a time to about 8 to 10. Just like the long run, drop the mileage by about 25% every third week to give your body some recovery time.

5. Taper time. Starting after your last long run, three weeks out from your marathon, you will start to taper your distance and intensity down. The first week, drop the long run by about 30%. That is the only change. Two weeks out from your race, drop your long run again, to about 40-50% of your longest distance. About 10 days out from the race, you will also start to drop the mileage of your other runs.

The last week of your marathon cut your mileage way back. Take an extra rest day. No speed work during this final week, though you might want to try a three mile marathon pace run several days out (that is exactly what it sounds like. Warm up for a mile, run two to three miles at your goal pace, then recover for a final mile.). Running the day before the marathon is optional. Called a “shakeout run,” it can help loosen up muscles (and shed some nerves), but it is up to you. Keep it short, and try to stay off your feet for the most part the rest of the day.

6. Second Speed Workout. If you have run a marathon or two (or three or four), and want to improve your time, add a second speed workout during the week. You can pick another option from above or try one of these:

SLO Marathon 4Don’t schedule your high intensity runs back to back. This includes your long run. Insert an easy or rest day in between your hard runs.

7. Run More. If you really want to set a PR or even qualify for Boston, you need to run more. Run at least 5 days a week, and 6 is optimal. That doesn’t mean to run through injury, or to disregard your body’s signals that you are overtraining. Be smart, rest if you need to, but to really run at a high level, you need to put miles on your legs.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to create a personalized marathon training plan that will be perfect for you! It will fit into your schedule, progress at your pace, and get you where you want to go. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments or email me at debbie [at] livefromlaquinta.com. And if creating your own plan isn’t your thing, I can create a program for you that will be designed to get you to your goal.

Disclaimer: I am a coach, but I’m not your coach. Marathon training is challenging and you need to be in general good health (see a doctor if you’re not sure!) and have a solid running base to attempt it. Rest is very important, and if you notice any minor running aches and pains, or other injuries, take appropriate action to resolve the issue. Injury prevention is not addressed in this article, but it is a risk during marathon training.

Have you made your own training program before? What is your current training goal (running or otherwise)?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 2

Run a 5kYour 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 2

It’s time for week two of 5k Friday! This plan will help you train for and run (really run!) your first 5k! (Missed week one? Click here to get started!) I hope that you are feeling pretty good. Any aches and pains? If so, make sure that you are using that ice I recommended, and also be sure to stretch those hamstrings, quads, calves, and hips after each workout. As promised, at the end of this post I will have some advice and workouts for runners who have some racing experience and would now like to run a little faster.

At the end of last week, you were (after your walking warmup), running for 90 seconds, alternating with walking for 90 seconds. This week we will both increase the running time, reduce the walking time, and increase the number of cycles. Don’t worry, we won’t be doing all of those things in the same workout.

Run a 5k 2

Day One: Following your warmup, run for 90 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds. For the second cycle, run for two minutes, then walk for 60 seconds. Repeat both cycles. For the last cycle, run for 90 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, then run for 60 seconds. A little complicated, but you are pushing yourself here a little, with less rest and more running. Finish with your five minute walk and don’t forget the stretching and the ice!

Day Two: Repeat day one with one change. Repeat the first two cycles one additional time (total of three), then finish off as before.

Day Three: Rest. We’re not adding any more running days this week, so your rest days will be the same as last week. Some strength training or Yoga, or just some simple stretching is fine, but no running.

Day Four: Here is a bit of a challenge. Warm up. Run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat four more times. One additional cycle is optional. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Five: Rest completely.

Day Six: Repeat day four. This time, do that extra cycle.

Day Seven: Rest day, although like day three, you can do some weights, Yoga, Pilates, etc.

Week two is now complete! Hopefully, you have purchased some good running shoes by now (if not, do it now!). Have you found that goal race?

Running Faster

CIF

This is for those of you who are still basically beginners, but you can run at least three or four miles (or even more), have run a few races, and now would like to improve your time, possibly even earn a medal in your age division.

To help you run faster, we’re going to add three workouts to your running schedule. One of these will involve adding extra mileage. For example, if your longest run is currently three to six miles, this week, following the 10% rule, you will increase the distance by a half mile. This workout will increase your endurance.

The second workout will involve some interval training. This will entail some short to medium distances of really fast running, which will improve your VO2 Max, which is a measurement of your body’s ability to use oxygen. (Google it if you want more info.) Although there is a lot of hard work involved, you will see your overall running speed improve as if by magic.

The third workout is not quite as intense as the interval training, and will vary from week to week, but basically can be called a lactate threshold run. Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body has built up enough lactic acid and responds by needing to slow down or rest. This workout will increase your stamina, your ability to run fast for a longer period of time.

(This is a very simplified description of the science behind the above workout types. I will give you the workouts, you will get faster. To advance from that point, there are many resources that you can use to continue your progress.)

The Workouts

It is helpful to pick a “goal time” for your race. Be realistic. If your current time is around 27 minutes, aim for a 5k time of about 25 minutes. If your goal time is 25 minutes, then your goal pace per mile is about 8 minutes per mile. if your current time is 24 minutes, you may have a goal of 22 minutes. That would make your pace about 7 minutes per mile. Remember these times (calculate by: goal time divided by 3.1)

The Long Run: As mentioned above, increase your current long run distance by one half mile on one day of the week.

Run a 5k 3

The Interval Workout: Preferably, you will do this run on a track, so head on down to your local high school. Warm up for four laps. Run one lap at your goal 5k pace (divide your per mile pace by four). This should feel hard. Or even very hard. Walk or jog for 200 meters (half lap). Repeat three or four more times. Finish with a half mile cool down and stretching.

The Lactate Threshold Run: Back on the road for this one, warm up for a mile. Run the next half mile at a pace about 20 seconds slower that your goal 5k pace. Recover for about a quarter mile. Run another half mile at the faster pace. Finish with about a half mile of cool down and stretching.

In addition to these three workouts, you can run another two to three days during the week, basically an easy to moderate paced run. Try not to run two hard workouts in a row. A sample workout week could be something like this (adapt for your own schedule):

Sunday: Long Run
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Lactate Threshold Run
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Interval Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Moderate Run

Okay, now you have it. Get out there and get going. Next week’s workouts will increase your running time and distance (for beginners) and add a couple interesting speed workouts for current runners. Stay tuned!

This post is revised and updated from a beginner 5k program I created several years ago.