Shaving Two Minutes Off of My 5k. Is it Possible?

by Niko Root
(Ankara, Turkey)

I've been casually running for about two years now, and am living in Ankara, Turkey at about 6,000 feet elevation. I have discovered that I'm kind of a natural at running. I do weight training and cardio work often and I have plenty of time to train and facilities to do so at, yet I have a specific question about a time goal I need to reach.

I ran a 18:47 5k recently for the European Department of Defense Cross Country Championships. Now, I'm a sophmore this year and by next year for the next championships in October, or senior year if you don't think my goal is possible, I would like to take off at least 2 minutes, preferably 3 in order to win.

Sorry if you don't accept this question, there's just no one here that can help.

Answer by Dom:

Hi there,

Thanks for your 5k running question.

You are quite the speedy fellow! Now, clearly you have got a lot going for you. You are young and only running casually. Who knows how much faster you could go if you got serious about your running?

Definitely faster than you are now. Shaving off two or three minutes on a 5k is a big thing. It's a 10-16% improvement you are looking for and that's not impossible, especially for slower people, but it is quite the jump. Depends a lot on how much dedicated running training you have been doing to date. If the answer is, not a lot, then yes, I'd say it is doable.

The only way to find out? Start doing something about it!

It sounds like at the moment your focus is weights and you do cardio as an extra. If you want to get the maximum out of your running, running needs to become the main sport. Sure, you can still do weights. In fact, you should continue doing weights for running injury prevention and to build a powerful stride. And you can do additional cardio, but running needs to become your sport.

Keep at it and keep building and I am sure you will see improvements over time. Lastly, educate yourself on the different types of running and why we do them. I'd recommend looking at the running training section on this site and taking in a lot of the information about the different types of running workouts. It takes a bit of study and experience to create an optimal running program, so if that is too much work or you don't have the time or energy, then I'd recommend you start working with a running coach.

Clearly, I can provide you with that service online through the BRT coaching page, but I am sure that there are face-to-face running coaches available where you are at well, if that's what you prefer.

All the best. Now it's time to go big or go home!
Kind regards,

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