Want To Do 5 Miles In 38 Minutes

by Don
(Nutley NJ USA)

I am about to turn 51 and I have been running seriously for about a year and a half. Last year at this time I was able to run 2 miles in an 8 min 30 second pace. I now can run 5 miles in the same 8 min 30 second pace.

Shortly I will be running in a 5 mile competitive race and would like to finish the 5 miles in 38 minutes.

Where should I be focusing my training?

Right now I run 3 times a week and weight train 3 times a week.
My three runs:
Day 1 speed as fast as I can for as long as I can (usually 3 miles in 24 minutes).
Day 2 5 miles at around an 8 minute 45 second pace.
Day 3 is longer slower paced run about 7 miles in 60 minutes.

Thanks in advance for your help


Answer by Dominique:

Hi Don,
Thanks for your running training question.

I first checked my Race Conversion Calculator and used your "run as fast as I can"-times of 3 miles in 24 minutes to calculate what your time would be in a 5 mile run. This got me to 41 mins and 14 secs.

You want to get to 38 minutes for 5 miles, which would be a stretch at the moment.

The funny thing about improving your running speed is that you first need to be able to get further, before you can get faster.

I think you are doing the majority of your running too fast.

I like your Day 3 run of 7 miles in 60 minutes. Can I suggest that you do that on Day 1 and Day 2 as well? I think you need to first develop a bit of a stronger base by doing slower, easy runs. I would also increase the length of your long run, e.g. build up to a longest run of 10 miles or so.

You could probably get there in about four weeks or so (add 1 mile each week). Maybe a bit longer, I am not sure about your background and your age may stop you from building mileage up aggressively but it sounds like you are a pretty fit guy.

Once you have got that easy slower running "under control" you can make one day a day for faster running. I would not make that an "as fast as you can"-day, but instead I would work on some tempo running or interval running.

This approach should help improve your running speed over time and get you closer to your goal.

You can get a lot of further info from my running training section, but it may pay off to get a great running training book like Daniel's Running Formula which contains advice about building up mileage, the main types of runs and pre-designed running programs that are sometimes tough to do, but pay dividends!

Best of luck, Don, enjoy your running!

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