My 5k Running Time

by Eric
(Belding, Michigan, US)

I ran cross country my freshman year. My best time was a 19:20 for a 5k. My sophomore year I played football instead of cross.

Then the same year I ran track and I ran the 400(67), 800(2:28), 1 mile (5:19)and the 2 mile (11:15).

Now this summer I have been running and I have a good base of about 200 miles so far. I have ran 4 5k runs so far this summer. I got a 19:30,18:41,18:39 and lastly 18:38.

I would really like some tips to get my time down to 16:59 by the end of the season.

It may be extreme but trust me I will do whatever it takes, as long as it doesn't cause injuries or death.

running tipsAnswer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your 5k running time.

Great to see you have got your priorities right and that death should be avoided... :)

You should be getting better over the next period. Of course, I can't predict whether you get to this goal of 16:59, but I am sure you'll be able to bring your current 5k time down considerably.

It's hard to get very specific. I don't have a magic running program sitting on my shelf, it's very dependent on how much weekly mileage you are doing now, number of days per week you are running, injury troubles in the past, any cross-training activities you undertake, etc, etc.

I am not sure over which period these 200 miles are measured. It sounds like a lot as one number. But when you start breaking it down and consider this could have been the result of 8 weeks of running or so, i.e. 25 miles per week, then it is good for the average runner, but a bit on the low side if you have got very ambitious running goals.

Having said that, I need to stress again that I don't know how much cross-training is involved and if running more would be beneficial for you.

If you need a full-blown analysis done on your running I can refer you to my running coaching service.

However, in general, I can say that I wouldn't do too many time trials at the moment. Your summer running should be used to develop your base. Also see my base running drills page for reasons why slow, easy running is so important.

So, I am hoping your running training over the summer has mostly been slow and easy running, logging miles over anything else. You really need that strong base of slow running and doing time trials or faster running now should not be on your agenda.

This type of base building approach then sets you up very well to introduce faster forms of running training like tempo runs and interval training later in the season.

You do need that faster running in the racing season, but without a proper aerobic base you will not be reaching your full potential.

So, for now, run easy, run long and start doing speed work when the season starts.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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