Improve 3000m Time by 2 Minutes

by Sam

improve 3000m time by 2 minutes

Hello, my name is Sam, and I started running track in grade 10. I trained for about a month and a half with the track team, and I could not run more than 400 metres without being so exhausted. I had to walk in between every time we had long runs, intervals, and tempo runs. I did the 800m as my track event and got a time of 2 minutes and 54 seconds. I was extremely tired, fatigued, and painful, and that was it for my track season as I came dead last and did not qualify for regionals. Summer had started, and I did not do training during the summer or anything.

Three months later, school started, and I joined the high school cross-country team for the first time and trained for a month and a half. I ran 6.2km with a time of 34 minutes. I had to walk in the race, and my cross country season was done, and it was the end of October. Once again, every time we did intervals, tempo runs, long runs, and so on, I had to walk because of how tired I was, and all my teammates would be so ahead of me in the workouts and even in the 6.2km race.

Five months passed after XC season, and during those five months I did not do any training or anything and ate a lot of junk food throughout. However, at the end of the five-month mark, I joined the track team for a second time and started training, and I found that all of a sudden I had so much stamina, did not get tired easily, and could run for longer. Even for the workouts, I would be so much faster than everybody else. I've been training for a month and a half for track season, and my events for track I did were the 800m again and got a time of 2 minutes and 18 seconds, as well as the 1500m with a time of five minutes and the 2000m steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes and 21 seconds. I qualified for regionals, however, I did not qualify for provincials.

improve 3000m time by 2 minutes
After the regional meet, the track season was done for me, and three months passed. I did not train for three months at all; however, I later started and joined cross-country for the second time. I trained for a month and a half and was faster than every single person on my team in the workouts and races. I raced the 6.2km with a time of 23 minutes and 37 seconds and qualified for regionals, which was a week after that and I ran the 6.2 km with a time of 22 minutes and 37 seconds at the regionals because I wanted to PB, and it was on the same cross-country course.

Five months passed, and during those five months, I did interval training every Wednesday for 45 minutes, and that's it. Now it's track season, which started for me weeks ago, and I've been training for weeks so far and I still have not lost my fitness. I ran my fastest 800-metre time, which is 2 minutes and 13 seconds, and I felt absolutely no lactic acid burn; I only felt a bit of discomfort and pain. Same for the 3000-metre race. I felt no lactic burn, only a bit of pain and discomfort, and ran a time of 10 minutes and 45 seconds. Within a week, how can I try and run the 3000 metres in 9 minutes flat if that's possible considering I felt no lactic burn.

If you tell me that decreasing my 3000m time by two minutes in a week is unlikely, impossible, or unattainable, do you think I can run the 2000m steeplechase in 6 minutes within a week? I ran the 2000-metre steeplechase last year in 8 minutes and 21 seconds. However, I did not know how to hurdle over the steeplechase; instead, I used my hands and legs, which I think cost me a couple seconds.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Sam,
Thanks for your question and very long story. In a week, not much improvement is possible. End of story. I was kind of going to ignore your question, but you wrote so much, that I wanted to address your question and also provide some longer term advice as follows:

1. "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard."
2. Improvement within a week
3. Seeking longer term improvement

"Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard"

improve 3000m time by 2 minutes
You clearly have some talent for running. You now have a choice to make. Do you really apply yourself or not? If not, then you may be able to continue to claim a bit of local fame and run faster than your school mates. But not much more. You see, hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard!

But if you do decide to apply yourself and train well (consistently, all year round), you will be able to get faster and really test what you are made of. 2:13 is a really good 800m time. Your 3,000m time of 10:45 is pretty fast as well. And you are very lucky if you are achieving this on very little training. It sounds too good to be true. And I am not sure how serious to take you when you claim that you ran those times without really trying. But assuming your story checks out you are pretty fast without making much of an effort.

Improvement witin a Week

Within a week, you will not make a big improvement. And you are wanting to run reasonably elite level times without having done elite level training. So, I don't think your chances are very high to improve by as much as you'd like.

You are suggesting you were running your 800m and 3,000m times without really trying. So the best suggestion I can make to you is to pull your finger out and run that 3,000m like it is your last. You should be faster than the 10:45 you have run before. Can you be two minutes faster? Not sure, I am not Nostradamus. And my chrystal ball has gone missing recently. So, why don't you try, give it a red hot go and report back to me next week!

Same applies to the steeplechase. Doing the steeplechase in six minutes again, is elite level. You are running the 800m in 2:13. That's a pace of about 2:46 / 1,000m. So your challenge is to run not much slower than that for 2.5 x the distance whilst scaling a bunch of barriers and doing water jumps. Tough challenge, but then again, you weren't really trying on that 800m, so maybe you can do the 2,000m steeplechase in six minutes.

Seeking Longer Term Improvement

improve 3000m time by 2 minutes
In the longer term, if you want to get serious about running, I can recommend reading through the running training section of this website for a start. Get some consistency into your running. Not for a couple of months. 3-4 years of consistent runs.

Building your mileage. Working hard. Doing good quality sessions. You will just improve and improve and improve over that time. Not always in a linear way. There may be some stagnation at times, you may have some frustrations to deal with. Some injuries maybe. But, it's only through persistent, consistent hard work, that you will get a chance to get a glimpse of your potential.

In that way, running is a metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. Not my wise words by the way, it was Oprah Winfrey who said that.

Hope this response has given you something to ponder. Best of luck with your running.
Kind regards,

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