Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 6

Final week – bringing it all together

Session 1: Speed workout

Warm-up, 3 x 400m @ 5k goal pace, 100m recovery, then 400m jog, 3 x 400m @ 5 seconds faster than goal 5k pace, 200m recovery, 400m jog, 3 x 400m @ up to 10 seconds faster than goal 5k pace, 400m recovery, warm-down. This is a little complicated, basically 3 sets of 3 x 400m at progressively faster pace with progressively longer recovery and a 400m jog between sets.

You will find the later 400m runs get quite tiring and you should need the longer recovery. You will also find this easier if you’ve got a roughly measured 400m distance to use & then extend the recovery either side of that as you run back & forth – be prepared for some strange looks as you run up and down a small section like a lunatic!

Session 2: Fartlek run

5 x 60s @ 5k-10k pace, 60s recovery. Don’t forget to include a warmup and warm-down. Concentrate on your running form on the fast sections, keep your shoulders relaxed and you head up and remember not to sprint but to keep to the pace.

Session 3: Easy run

30 mins. Nothing more than an easy shake out of the legs to remove any stiffness and keep the legs moving ready for race day

Session 4: Race day

If you’re not running one of the virtual 5k events such as the Yaxley parkrun or the Isolation Fitness 5k then just run this as a benchmark run. Remember though that this one IS a race, so go for it. Remember all you’ve built up over the last 6 weeks and let’s see what the improvement is.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 5

This week is a tough week, sorry.

Session 1: Fartlek Run

10-12 x 60 seconds at 5k pace, 60 seconds recovery jog between each rep. Include a warm-up and warm-down. This needs to be a fast session and it will be tough. Try to hit your current 5k pace or, if you can your target 5k pace. Remember to keep the pace equal across all the hard sections, change the recovery if you’re finding it too tough. When you’re running the hard sections try not to sprint and remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and don’t grip your hands – try to imagine you have something delicate in your hands such as a crisp. If you feel too much tension in your shoulders then shake out your arms, you might be able to get away with that tension for a minute but if you did it over the whole 5k it would impact your speed efficiency and you’ve worked too hard to lose efficiency over easily fixable things. If you feel stiffness in your neck or shoulders after your run then it’s probably tension you’re holding.

Session 2: Speed workout

Warm-up, 2-3 x 1 mile at speed with 3 mins recovery between reps, warm-down. This is a tough session and is going to test your mental fitness as well as your running fitness. Remember to keep your arms relaxed and remember the fast sections are fast but not sprints and there’s a relatively short recovery in between reps too.

Session 3: Easy Run

45 – 60 mins at an easy pace. You’ve worked hard this week so take it easy for this session.

Session 4: Progression Run.

60-70 mins, finish the last 10 mins at a medium to hard effort finishing the session strong.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 4

This week is a slightly easier week after a tough one last week, nothing too complicated and mainly easy runs with one stamina session in the middle of the week. Weeks like this are important to allow some recovery to your body ready to get the focus back on track. It’s important to hit peak performance at the right time but also not to rest too much otherwise you’ll lose the fitness. It’s about balancing fatigue, fitness and form.

Session 1: Easy Run 45 – 60 min

Continue building endurance to get you through the race.

Session 2: Tempo Run 50 – 70 min

Warm-up, then 3-5 miles at tempo pace, warmdown. This session is working on your stamina, it needs to be at a pace slower than your 5k pace. As a guide breathing should be laboured but you should be able to snatch one or two work sentences and your heart rate will be in the zone above your endurance pace. At the end you should feel like you’ve had a good workout but shouldn’t fall through the door and collapse in a heap. It will be a good solid pace but not your race pace.

There’s lots of different methods for calculating your HR zones and you need to find the one that works for you. I’ve shared mine in the pic, but they change all the time as my fitness levels change (and at the moment as the pollen levels change). Some methods have fewer zones, I use a Lactate Threshold method and from this I’m also able to determine my pace zones which helps when I need to calculate training zones during speed sessions and help me to estimate a target pace that I can work towards. But whatever method you use, just remember it’s a guide, on the day things might be different. There will be lots of factors that will change from training day to training day such as the weather, pollution and pollen levels, humidity as well as how you feel.

Session 3: Easy Run 45 – 60 min

Same as session 1. Session 4: Long run up to 2 hours. Don’t worry if you want to do less that’s fine, just do what you want but the main thing is it should be a gentle pace, jogging not running today.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 3

This week is quite a tough week, but power through & you’ll get the benefits.

Session 1: Fartlek run

Try to do 16 x 1 min hard with 1 min recovery in between. Include a warm up and warm down. Try to get the same pace on the last effort as the first. To help with this it might be easier to decide on the pace you’d like to aim for in the hard part of the effort. This needs to be a smallish window of pace, say 10 seconds either side of your target. It’s also easier if you programme the session into your watch before you start, including the pace. If you have a Garmin you might find this easier to do via the website rather than the app or watch and then you can also save the workout for use later. The picture I’ve included shows when I last did this session. I’m quite pleased that the pace remained fairly consistent during the efforts (green line), there was a little drop in the middle (as I was weaving around people) and generally my pace was at the lower end of my window (blue blocks, still recovering). My heart rate followed the pattern I wanted (red line), higher during the efforts and recovering slightly during the recovery. The recovery sections slowed down to a walk in the last few and that’s ok because my focus was on maintaining the effort sections. I did this over the same section of path so I could keep a fairly even pace over even ground. The wind direction has an impact as does the number of people on the path and tree covering can impact GPS delays to your watch. But over time you’ll get used to what your pace feels like rather than have to rely on your watch. Analysis at the end will show that your what your watch actually recorded was maybe different from what pace it was showing at the time & this is normal – so get used to the feel of your pace.

Session 2: 800s

5-6 x 800m with 3 min recovery in between. This session can be very hard. for your 800m pace your looking to maintain your target 5k pace, so this might be a little quicker than your current 5k pace, but again, decide what your target is before the session and try to maintain this in each of the efforts. This pace shouldn’t be as fast as you were doing on the Fartlek session earlier. Include a warm up and warm down to help prevent injury. We’re focussing more on our speed endurance during this session and your breathing might get more laboured than the Fartlek session even though the pace should be slower. This is because your body will be using more aerobic energy during this session and for that it relies more heavily on oxygen than the short fast sections which use anaerobic energy sources. With a mix of sessions we’re trying to improve all our energy systems (but only one at a time). I’ll post about that later (I’m also aware I still owe a post on fuelling and refuelling – it’s a bit hectic at work but I will get it done).

Session 3: Easy run 45 min – 1 hour

Nice easy pace, your legs might be tired from the 2 speed workouts this week so nice and slow on this one, it’s a recovery session as much as anything else – just to keep your legs moving and get the blood circulating.

Session 4: Progression run

Same as last week, try to increase the pace for the last 10 mins before the cool down. So maybe, 10 min warm up, 60 min jog, 10 min higher pace, 10 min cool down, 1 hour 30 mins total. This is your long run for the week so if you want to go for longer then do so, but still try to increase the pace for those 10 mins. The rest of the run should be at a nice easy pace, getting some miles in ready for the sessions in week 4!

As always, stick to what you can do, remember to refuel, warm up and stretch afterwards. If you need to drop a session from this week I would miss the Fartlek session.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 2

Here’s week 2 of the 5k plan and a little on fuelling and refuelling. Don’t forget the strength and conditioning classes that Duncan is running on Issolation Fitness. You can do these to supplement your training or instead of a session (see the bit at the end) if there’s too much running here for you.

Session 1: Fartlek run

Try to do 10 reps, 30 seconds at 5k pace followed by 1 min recovery. Try to keep the recovery moving rather than stopping but slow it right down to a jog. The hard sections should be tough and try to keep the same pace for the last one as you did on the first. Don’t forget to include a warm up and warm down in this session too.

If you keep a consistent pace over the hard sections what you should notice is that your heart rate is higher on the final few compared to the first few, this is normal and shows the additional work that you’re putting in on those sections. The aim is to increase the efficiency of our body in using anaerobic energy – this is energy used without oxygen. You will get 2 effects from these type of exercises over time: your body will become more efficient and effective at using glycogen for sprints and your heart will stop trying to push oxygen round your body so you won’t get out of breath as much. The anaerobic energy system provides energy for typically up to 45 seconds before the lactate system starts to be the dominant energy provider, then after about 2 mins the aerobic energy system becomes dominant. To start with though, your glycogen stores might get depleted quickly and for the last few repetitions of this session your body might try to use your other energy sources which can’t do this sort of exercise as effectively. So you get 2 levels of fatigue – depleted glycogen and fatigue from using ineffective energy.

So this is why refuelling is important – if you’d had a heavy weights session you’d take protein to repair your muscles but also to rebuild stronger muscles. Well it’s similar for energy stores, you need to replenish your glycogen (and other energy stores) but also improve them for future efficiency improvements. I’ll post more about fuelling and energy systems later but for now you have a window of opportunity to make maximum efficiency improvements and it’s quite short – try to refuel within 20 mins of finishing your exercise. The ideal ratio is 4:1 carbohydrate to protein and around 1g carbohydrate per kg of body weight. That’s quite a lot, a banana has about 25g carbohydrate and 1g protein, 100g chicken has 9g carbohydrate and 25g protein. So shakes can be useful, as can chocolate milk – Yazoo has 17.6g carbohydrate and 6.4g protein per 200ml serving (124 cal), a 500ml bottle of Lucozade sport (Fruit punch flavour) has 32.8g carbohydrate and 0g protein (137 cal). You need to be careful and refuel when you need to but not overeat especially if you’re using running as part of creating a calorie deficit in order to lose or control weight. Only you will know where the balance is for you, but if you often feel unwell a few hours after running it might be that you’re not refuelling properly or enough. I’ll post more about this later.

Session 2: Tempo run

After warming up and an easy pace jog (say 10 mins) try to maintain a tempo pace for 2-3 miles (3-5km) and then jog for a further 10 mins and finish with some stretching. A tempo pace should be fast enough that you can only manage snatched 2-word sentences but not so much that you struggle to breath. Your breathing should be hard but if you find maintaining the pace is tough then slow it down a little. If you need to walk for a little then do so, improvements will come over time.

Session 3: Easy run

45 mins to 1 hour at an easy pace – it’s important to keep the pace easy for this one, if you’ve done sessions 1 and 2 already then your body needs an easy session to help build your endurance capability – remember, not every run is a race.

Session 4: Progression run

A long steady (easy paced) run up to 1 hour 30 mins including a warm up and warm down. The final 10 mins of the run should be at a faster pace – this is going to help with strong finishing. For me I do 10 min warm up jog, 60 min easy pace run, 10 min at 5k pace, 10 min warm down jog. For the 5k plan you’ll see these progression runs become a feature of the long slow runs.

Remember you don’t have to do all of the sessions, if you need to miss one this week I’d recommend dropping the Fartlek session and stick with the other 3. If you need to drop another then drop the 45 min easy run and maybe slot in a strength and conditioning class instead. Have fun and let me know how you get on.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Week 1

This plan will be based on 4 runs per week with the longer run on Sunday (I do it on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with a complete rest day on Monday and alternative training on Wednesday and Friday). You will need to make the changes that work best for you – do less if that works best for you, don’t be afraid to take more rest days or switch the days around.

Feel free to PM me if you need specific advice on any aspect of the plan. If you have Strava then don’t forget to post your runs there also. The plan is based around a plan from McMillan Running that I’ve used before and I’m currently doing again and is fairly generic but offers improvements to relative beginners and advanced runners.

The 1st session is: Easy run (45min – 1 hour).

A simple one to start but remember this is an easy run, not a race. These sessions are the backbone of any plan and are used to enhance your endurance. The pace should be comfortable enough that you don’t struggle to breath at any point, you should be able to have a comfortable conversation in full sentences. You need to get good at a comfortable pace so that we can adjust pacing for the different sessions. If you have a HR monitor check it at the end to make sure you didn’t overdo this type of session – it will also help you to determine your pace for the future sessions.

Session 2: Speed Workout.

10-16 repeats of 400m with a 3min recovery in between. Include a warm-up and Warmdown. The 400m sections should be hard but you should be able to maintain the same pace on the last one as you did on the first. Use the 3 min recovery wisely to bring your heart rate right down. These can be jogged or walked but try not to disintegrate into a heap on the floor (your hard sections are too hard if you’re doing this). You might find that you can jog the first few recoveries but need to walk towards the end – this is fine, the 400m is the important part. This can be a long session, set yourself a target on the number of repeats but if you need to cut back don’t worry as you’ll have a benchmark for later sessions.

This is a good session to programme into your watch beforehand.

For ease of reference, once round either the larger or smaller lake at 8-lakes is roughly 400m. Or you could use the path to Dobbies, but try to find a fairly level path & use the same path for the whole session (using your jog to and from as the warm-up, warmdown).

Session 3: Easy Run.

Same as session 1.

Session 4: Long Run.

About the same pace or slower than the easy runs from this week. 1-1 ½ hours in total.

Adrian’s 5k Training Plan – Introduction

Some general tips for the sessions

Hard sessions should be hard, easy sessions should be easy. It sounds obvious but too many will treat each training session as a race, save the racing for race day. Whilst training, your PBs should be “I did better than last time I did this session” and that might not be faster, but shorter recovery, more repeats, felt better at the end, didn’t have as much aches and stiffness the next day etc.

If you want to programme the session into your watch use the website rather than the app or the watch – it’s easier and you can save a library of sessions that you can pick from later.

It’s ok to move the sessions around as you need to but don’t feel you need to do all of them. If you miss a planned session then miss it, don’t feel you have to catch-up because you’re increasing the training stress when maybe your body needs a rest.

Always warm-up and down properly. Include some dynamic stretches and a gentle jog to warm-up and stretch-out at the end.

Refuel at the end of your session. This should be appropriate to the session and to you personally. There is a window of opportunity to absorb protein and carbohydrate after a session – try to eat and drink within 20 mins of finishing. I’ll do a separate post on this later.

Hydrate! If you need to take water on your run, do so. When you’re doing repeats you might want to take water with you, leave it somewhere & top up during recovery parts of the session. It’s especially important in warm weather.

Mix things up. Don’t keep doing the same route for the same session. It can be tempting to keep running the same 8k route because you know it’s exactly 8k but it can hamper your efforts if it becomes too repetitive. So have a variety of routes in your arsenal and mix it up if you’re feeling like you need a change.

Plan your plan. It will become easy to lose your focus over the weeks and even things like ironing and painting the bathroom can become attractive options. Make a plan when you’re going to train and do your best to stick to it. That said, don’t feel guilty if you miss a session, life happens, just get back on track asap.

Injuries or niggles. Only you will know if it’s a niggle and can train or if it’s something more serious. If you’re not sure then change the session to something simpler that you can stop if you need to. If an injury needs rest then rest it.