Running 5k in 25 Minutes - What Do I Do?

by Jay

I have been running since I was 10 yrs old... I was in school as well as college basketball and the athletics team....

Now I'm in a training program where I am supposed to do 2.4 kms every day in 9 mins and 5kms once a week in 25 mins...

But I am unable to do so because my calves and lateral muscles of my shins keep cramping up after 3 kms or so...

This has brought my timing to around 28 mins or so...

Please help...

I have 6 weeks before the second phase of this training schedule starts when I have to do 5kms in less than 25 mins...

Please guide me...

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thank you for your question about your 5k running program.

I am a bit confused. If I am not mistaken the goal is to hit sub-25 in the 5k. The way "they" are preparing you for this is by doing 2.4k runs in 9 minutes. This is not an optimal running program.

But it is unclear to me whether you have to do this or if you can choose your own plan?

If you are allowed to deviate, then I would stop doing the daily fast 2.4k runs and replace them by longer, slower runs first and foremost. You need some speedier workouts as well, but you need to increase your stamina first.

You need to be able to comfortably cover that 5k and more than that. Suppose you'd be able to run 8k straight-out. Not necessarily fast, just being able to run it.

If you can do that consistently, then running 2.4k or 5k is a lot easier. It might help you get rid of those muscle problems at the 3k mark as well.

So, build up the distance you run slowly but steadily. There is not much time to do so, but you may have enough time, you never know.

Given you only have six weeks, I'd suggest doing nothing but slow and steady running for the first three weeks.

Then the next three weeks you could add in some speedwork, two workouts per week max. This can be in a variety of ways as long as it is at or below goal pace (i.e. at or faster than 5k/min).

Hopefully this type of training will provide you with a better aerobic base and a better chance of completing your 5k within 25 minutes.

Useful links which I highly recommend you read and study:

Increasing Mileage Safely - about the right way to increase your mileage.

Base Running Drills - about the importance of building your base.

Fartlek - introduction to speed workouts.

Interval Running - interval running explanations.

Goal Pace - about some workouts you can do to prepare for your goal race pace.

Best of luck.
Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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