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    • Zola.
    • By Zola. 26th Jun 17, 9:34 PM
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    Zola.
    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.
Page 1
    • indesisiv
    • By indesisiv 28th Jun 17, 3:52 PM
    • 4,808 Posts
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    indesisiv
    • #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
    • 112 Thanks
    Stu_N_
    • #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
    • 412 Posts
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    spikyone
    • #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
    • 1,107 Posts
    • 429 Thanks
    Zola.
    • #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
    • 119 Posts
    • 5,541 Thanks
    max99x
    • #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
    • 94 Posts
    • 69 Thanks
    amfan
    • #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.
    • Jamiehelsinki
    • By Jamiehelsinki 24th Sep 17, 1:40 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 151 Thanks
    Jamiehelsinki
    • #8
    • 24th Sep 17, 1:40 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Sep 17, 1:40 PM
    Out of interest how old are you op?

    Age plays a big factor.

    In my mid 20's sub 18 was nothing but as I get close to 40 it's getting more difficult to get sub 20.

    I found backing off and not running so hard every run helped me get quicker.

    If it was me I would do speedwork and a long run each week and try and fit in a few extra runs in between these.
    • singhini
    • By singhini 24th Sep 17, 3:28 PM
    • 199 Posts
    • 122 Thanks
    singhini
    • #9
    • 24th Sep 17, 3:28 PM
    • #9
    • 24th Sep 17, 3:28 PM
    Trying to run 5k in 20mins is a quick time IMHO (that's equivalent to 15kph).


    In my early 20's I managed 5k in 21mins but now I'm nearly 50 years old its more like 25 mins.


    Anyhow to answer your question I would pair up with someone at your Saturday park run who consistently runs that distance in 20mins (as your looking for a 5% improvement in time which is achievable, I found running with slightly faster runners helped me reach my time goals, they were the motivation for me to keep up).


    Good luck and BTW I'm impressed with 21 mins
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 24th Sep 17, 10:33 PM
    • 13,095 Posts
    • 17,313 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    I didn't think it was even possible for a human.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • Twist6015
    • By Twist6015 25th Sep 17, 9:49 AM
    • 2 Posts
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    Twist6015
    If you get 5k under 20 mins, your speed need 4.2m/s. I think it is hard to keep this speed for a long time.
    • spikyone
    • By spikyone 25th Sep 17, 12:24 PM
    • 412 Posts
    • 571 Thanks
    spikyone
    I'd forgotten about this thread, how's it going with getting sub-20 Zola?

    I ran a 19:48 back in August, so finally achieved that goal! I ended up achieving it at a different parkrun to my usual one - mostly flat, and tarmac, whereas my local one has a bit of a hill and is on gravelly paths.
    As luck would have it, the parkrun I set that sub-20 had a 20-minute pacer on the day. I chatted to him before the start and told him I was aiming sub-20 (I'd run the same event a couple of weeks earlier and managed 20:12); I asked if he was going to run an even pace and he said he was aiming for as close to 20:00 as possible. And then he started like a speeding bullet, and after a couple of hundred metres we'd been running at 5:45/mile! So I backed off and ran at a more appropriate pace. After 3k I felt like I was nowhere near the pace I needed for a sub-20 and it was still destroying me, I just wanted to go home. But as I turned the corner with maybe 600-700m to go, there was the pacer - he'd stopped and waited for me!
    He paced me to the finish, offering words of encouragement whilst I whined about how close to death I was and that I couldn't do it (a bit pathetic, with hindsight!) He also very kindly let me finish before him, and I was a seriously happy bunny when I crossed that line and saw the time.

    So, finding the right parkrun is definitely helpful, and the first sub-20 will probably take a lot out of you! If there are pacers, beware that they might not be running at an even pace, though they'll still be trying to get an accurate finish time. I'm still about 15s away from a sub-20 at my local parkrun, but that's the next goal. As an indication, I've been averaging over 100 miles/month this year, with about 120+ miles/month for the last couple of months. It isn't easy, but it's so satisfying!
    • yying0203
    • By yying0203 26th Sep 17, 3:01 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    yying0203
    I think this is a challenge, but also a difficult challenge...Maybe you can do it with your persistence, I have no idea for you,sorry... And good luck for you!Fighting!
    • indesisiv
    • By indesisiv 26th Sep 17, 9:30 AM
    • 4,808 Posts
    • 16,043 Thanks
    indesisiv
    Good effort @spikyone
    I refused to go and do a different parkrun until i had done a sub 20. We have a flat one near us that is around 40 secs - 1 min quicker.
    Still haven't got around to doing the flat one yet, but I did manage an 18:46 at a different one.
    I found once I realised that I could actually run a sub 20, I have never run slower than that again.
    “Time is intended to be spent, not saved” - Alfred Wainwright
    • spikyone
    • By spikyone 27th Sep 17, 4:17 PM
    • 412 Posts
    • 571 Thanks
    spikyone
    Good effort @spikyone
    I refused to go and do a different parkrun until i had done a sub 20. We have a flat one near us that is around 40 secs - 1 min quicker.
    Still haven't got around to doing the flat one yet, but I did manage an 18:46 at a different one.
    I found once I realised that I could actually run a sub 20, I have never run slower than that again.
    Originally posted by indesisiv
    Thanks! I only run different parkruns when I'm away from home or my local run is cancelled; the sub-20 was set when I was visiting family. I'm still determined to go sub-20 at the local one, as that was where I set the goal so it will have more significance. I've improved by almost 6 minutes in the three years that I've been doing parkrun there so it's close enough to taste now!
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