It’s time to dial-in some speed work intensity. We’ve built a strong foundation the past few weeks with longer interval sessions, focusing on target 5K race pace and understanding the feel and rhythm of that pace.
This race-simulation workout compromises the second “period” of our periodization approach to developing 5K speed. We’ll perform this track session the next two weeks. There will be one more speed work “period” before we enter our 5K race season.
The emphasis now shifts to simulating the ebb and flow of a 5K race. This speed workout prepares us to manage a fast, almost-anaerobic first mile, then backing off to target race-pace in the middle section while throwing in a few shorter distance surges. We complete this session by digging deep the final half-mile, finishing fast and strong. Imagine yourself battling for the lead in the midst of a pack of top elite runners.
During this workout, our fast interval pace will be significantly faster than our overall 5K target race pace. Do your best to run consistent lap splits and keep your rest intervals relatively consistent as well. It’s challenging enough to keep track of your fast interval times so I don’t recommend timing your rest intervals; just keep running at a comfortable recovery pace.
This workout develops mental, as well as, physical toughness. Approach this session with focus and concentration. Stay relaxed in the upper body during the faster intervals – keep your hands loose and low. Another relaxation trick is to keep your jaw loose – resist the tendency to tighten-up in the upper body while running fast. Stay relaxed and you’ll run fast.
Runners to your marks…..
1. 2-mile warm-up at very easy pace. Perform 4 x 50 meter faster pick-ups after finishing two mile warm-up.
2. 1600 meters at target race pace minus 20-30 seconds, e.g., if your target 5K race pace is 7:00 per mile, you should run this interval at 6:30 to 6:40 pace. Try to keep your lap splits as even as possible.
3. 800 meter recovery interval.
4. 4 x 400 meters with 400 meter recovery intervals. Keep the fast intervals consistent and shoot for the “opening mile” pace in step #2 above.
5. 800 meters all-out. Try to keep your lap splits consistent during this final 800 meter interval. Run hard and imagine you see the finish line ahead. Don’t completely stop after this interval. Run a very slow lap before beginning your official warm-down.
6. 2-mile warm-down.
Fred Klinge works for Varsity Sports and is currently certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health/Fitness Specialist. Fred has completed 29 marathons, with a personal best time of 2:18.15. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.