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    • Zola.
    • By Zola. 26th Jun 17, 9:34 PM
    • 1,037Posts
    • 383Thanks
    Need help getting 5k under 20 mins
    • #1
    • 26th Jun 17, 9:34 PM
    Need help getting 5k under 20 mins 26th Jun 17 at 9:34 PM
    I am not really a runner, but over the past couple of months I have been jogging once or twice a week. I also do the occasional park run on Saturday mornings.

    I am an office based worker, but I am an active person at night and weekends.. I do BJJ three times a week often for 2 hours at a time, I also play football on Wednesday nights and try to squeeze in strength training at the gym twice a week.

    I have an ambition to get my 5k under 20 minutes. The best time I have gotten in 21.15. I am usually in and around the 21 mark and I am going pretty hard (for me!).

    What do I need to do to get this time down under 20? I am juggling a lot of hobbies, so I know I cant do them all, and something has to give. I don't know if I am overdoing it in some areas, or what I need to do.

    Would a session of sprints up long hills once a week and a 5k run be enough to get speed in my legs?

    Any help is appreciated.
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    • indesisiv
    • By indesisiv 28th Jun 17, 3:52 PM
    • 4,631 Posts
    • 15,540 Thanks
    • #2
    • 28th Jun 17, 3:52 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Jun 17, 3:52 PM
    I would suggest that its probably not the speed that is the issue but the actual stamina to hold the pace you need. Simple solution is to increase weekly mileage.
    You don't need to do long hill repeats really although some short hill reps are useful, along with some shorter interval speed work.
    Should get you closer.
    My PB was 21ish before I started increasing mileage as part of my marathon training, PB currently 19:07 but that's not on a flat course.
    “Time is intended to be spent, not saved” - Alfred Wainwright
    • Stu_N_
    • By Stu_N_ 29th Jun 17, 9:23 AM
    • 195 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    • #3
    • 29th Jun 17, 9:23 AM
    • #3
    • 29th Jun 17, 9:23 AM
    Upping the mileage is a good suggestion - just a steady run of 6 to 8km once a week will help. Try more speed work: once a week, run at your target pace for 3 x 1km repeats with a 500m jog in between. As you get faster, do those 1km repeats faster than your target pace, and throw in a couple of sessions of 2 x 2km repeats instead.

    I found though that I absolutely destroyed my 5k PB after I started cycling to work. I dropped it from 19:45 to 18:13. I do cycle up a big hill on my way home, seems the cross training/leg power really helped. Is that an option for you?
    • spikyone
    • By spikyone 29th Jun 17, 3:04 PM
    • 404 Posts
    • 567 Thanks
    • #4
    • 29th Jun 17, 3:04 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Jun 17, 3:04 PM
    Good luck Zola. I'm in a similar boat trying to get under 20 minutes, although currently training towards a couple of half marathons in September and October so already building distance. My PB is 20:36 but that was a big effort and in perfect conditions - no wind, and fairly cool (~10-12 degrees C).

    I've previously struggled to run slowly on training runs; it's always been a case of "run fast enough that you're knackered by the time you finish whatever distance you're planning"! I'm currently experimenting with trying to run slower outside of races and parkrun, around 8:00/mile. I did some reading around improving aerobic performance, which is mostly done at lower levels of effort, and the benefits on muscle recovery of running a slower pace. That could partially explain Stu_N_ getting faster after starting to cycle, which tends to be less strenuous than running unless you're going out like Bradley Wiggins...

    I've also read articles that echo indesisiv's comments on stamina being important even over a distance as "short" as 5k.

    Oh, and if you run, you are really a runner! Plenty of runners would be delighted with a 5k PB as quick as yours.
    • Zola.
    • By Zola. 17th Jul 17, 4:54 PM
    • 1,037 Posts
    • 383 Thanks
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 4:54 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 4:54 PM
    Thanks guys

    I have started upping the miles somewhat, mixing it up between 6k-12k. I am logging it all on Strava.

    I will try to implement a few runs per week, and perhaps sprint work at a track every other week.

    I would love to do this by Christmas, have to get working.
    • max99x
    • By max99x 27th Jul 17, 10:47 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 5,366 Thanks
    • #6
    • 27th Jul 17, 10:47 AM
    • #6
    • 27th Jul 17, 10:47 AM
    For me the key was music, a good sound track gave me the extra motivation to push myself, that and look to increase each stride very slightly and it can make a big difference!

    Also try different times of the day, you may have more energy etc. I've got my best 5/10k times at times of the day I thought I didn't have the energy/motivation at!
    • amfan
    • By amfan 8th Aug 17, 4:41 PM
    • 71 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 17, 4:41 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 17, 4:41 PM
    Wow, around the 21 minute mark for a "non runner" is pretty impressive to be honest! I've been running pretty regularly for years and I can't get my park run to come in under 24 mins!

    Hills definitely help with speed, if you can incorporate either hill sprints, or a couple of runs a week in a hilly area it will improve your speed over time as your stamina increases.
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