A while back now I raced a pre-planned 5km route around Rugby. The idea being that six weeks of 5k specific training would follow, before reattempting the same route to see if I had improved during that time. Today was six weeks later.

In truth, it was more like five weeks of training followed by a taper week, with the effort coming at the end of that taper week. During the training period I maintained one easy run per week, of either 4 or 6 miles depending on time constraints, one club run of varying sessions and one hard interval session each Friday. I began with 400m reps (x12) and built up through 6x 800m, 5x 1km and 3x 1 mile. See below for my average splits for each workout.

400m – 4:00 per km

800 – 4:06 per km

1km – 4:09 per km

1 mile – 7:00 per mile

The ultimate goal is to go sub-20 minutes for 5km. However, I am aware that I am some way away from that just yet, so the aim is to put in some initial groundwork and try to bring my times down slowly but surely. Six weeks ago then my initial effort clocked in at 22:08. With the splits above, I was hoping for a 15-20 second improvement on that.

Up until the final 1 mile reps workout, I felt like the training was going well and that I was making good progress. When doing reps such as these though, the idea is to always aim to run faster than race pace. I struggled during that final session and the pace was only 6 seconds per mile faster than my previous benchmark effort. I was hoping to run 6:50’s on average.

Anyway, following two easy runs earlier this week, I set out today with the aim of running 4:20 kilometres, resulting in a time of 21:40, giving me a PB in the process. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Whether I set off too quick or whether it was the hills, I just couldn’t maintain the effort, particularly towards the end, which does involve a 30 second long steep hill. In terms of miles I clocked a 6:58 and a 7:00 before a final mile at 7:12. In new money, this was 4:17, 4:24, 4:19, 4:27 and 4:29. Bang on target until the final two kilometres. The final time was 21:58, a 10 second improvement on six weeks ago. Not what I was hoping for but not bad by any means.

This next week is going to be a relatively easy one for me, aside from Tuesday nights club run, which just happens to be 5x 1km. After that, I’m going to go for another five week training block, followed by a taper and another effort on the same course at the end of the taper week, which will be around 15 December.

Given the drop off in pace during the final two kilometres, I think I need to work a bit more on my endurance, particularly running at these speeds. I think I will do largely the same training again, probably dropping the length of the recovery in between reps. I’m hitting the speeds that I want during the reps, it’s just maintaining, so maybe taking 15 seconds of rest out in between the reps could help. Definitely some hill training too. That final kilometer contains 14 metres of elevation gain. A bit more strength in the legs could help during that final push. I still want to maintain three runs per week though, and maybe add in a day of cross training if I can. I have access to a spin bike that I don’t use as much as I’d like to, so I could incorporate some strength training using that.

My overall 5km PB is 21:52. Next time I want to break that, and preferably hit 21:40.

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