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Friday, March 12, 2010

A Faster 5K

So you've done your hard work. You've conquered the distance and now would like to go for a PR (personal record), or maybe medal in your own race category! You should have plenty of opportunity now that 5K season is upon us so here are some tips to increase your speed.

1 - Increase your mileage. I know what your thinking "What?!?! I'm finally able to do the 3.1 miles and you want me to do more?" By slightly increasing your weekly miles your aerobic system becomes stronger. A good rule of thumb is to increase by no more than 10% each week.

2 - Add a long run once a week. This is 33% longer than your typical run. So if you normally run 4 miles, try to run 5 1/2. To allow for recovery, rest the next day or shorten your mileage.

3 - Add speedwork once a week. This is my favorite! It changes up the pace and keeps my workouts from becoming too mundane. There are many forms of speedwork but here are a couple I like.
  • Tempo run - Warm up and then run for 20 minutes faster than your normal pace. This should feel challenging but maintainable for 20 minutes. Try to finish faster than you started.

  • Intervals - Alternate pace. Run hard for a minute then jog slow. This is fun to do at a track so you can measure the distance. After a brief warm-up run once around the track (400m) at a hard pace. Not an all out sprint, but close. Then jog slowly around the track to recover. Repeat 3 to 6 times trying to be consistent with your speed.

  • Hill repeats - Easy directions. Find a hill. Run up and down. Use your downhill for recovery.
After your workouts it's important to refuel properly to avoid extreme muscle fatigue. The magical ratio is 4:1. By consuming a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 15 to 20 minutes of running, the body recovers much faster.

Hope this helps with your running goals. Let me know if you want more speedwork ideas. See you on the road...or track! ;)

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