Change of Pace (Heh Heh): Training for a 5K

So… I am signed up for my first ever turkey trot.  I am not sure how I’ve avoided doing a turkey trot in the past, but I guess it boils down to the fact that if I want to run three miles, I usually just go do it.  Anyway, my husband and I are going to run one near his hometown along with his family this Thanksgiving, and I think it should be fun.  And of course I am not trying to break any world records… but I thought it might be a nice *change of pace* to focus for the next few weeks on increasing my speed at a shorter distance.  But it begs the question: what would my pace be for 3.1 miles?  And how do I improve it?

According to trusty Athlinks, I’ve run two 5Ks.  I am sure I’ve done a few more than that, but this is all the data we have.  I ran one of the two 5Ks with some friends, so I’m not going to factor in that 33-minute race as a precedent.  We are down to a sample size of one.  In 2011, when I was in pretty darn good shape, relatively speaking, I ran a 5K in 23:29 (7:33 per mile).  And as I’ve mentioned, I once ran a single mile in 6:30 for a challenge at my gym.  For our final data point, my most recent marathon pace was 8:56 per mile.  I plugged my marathon time into the Runner’s World Race Time Predictor, and it suggested that I could finish my 5K in 24:24 (7:52 per mile):


Considering all of this from a completely unscientific perspective, and discounting Runner’s World’s underestimation of my badassery, I think it’s a good reach goal to shoot for a 7 minute pace.  That would put me at 21:42 for a finish time.  I have no concept of whether that is reasonable.

OK, so now I need to start training.  I know that I can do the distance.  But what about that pace?  Here’s what I’m planning to do.

(1) Intervals. Intervals.  More Intervals.  (I’ve been meaning to do a whole post on intervals, so I promise that is coming soon.  Here’s an abbreviated discussion.)  Today at Orangetheory, I increased my pace in the first block to test out some faster intervals.  I used 7 mph as my recovery “base” pace, and I pushed it to 9 mph for “push” segments and 12 mph for “all out” segments.  Whew.  Not easy.  But I didn’t fall or barf.  I think these 1-3 minute intervals will help make a difference in my 5K time–they help me work on quick leg turnover, driving with my knees, keeping good form, and working that heart for more intense bursts.  So I’m going to keep pushing the pace at Orangetheory and I’ll maybe even do some of my own intervals at the treadmill gym.

(2) Relatedly, Orangetheory Hell Week.  Next week is “Hell Week” at Orangetheory, which means I am signed up for 5 consecutive days of extra intense Orangetheory classes.  And I get a t-shirt at the end!  I’ll write a blog post about it once it’s done.  But this will be a good mix of intervals and strength training for power, speed, and endurance to supercharge my training.

(3) Next, probably after Hell Week, I’m going to add some hill repeats.  I know a few good hills of varying difficulty around town.  So I’ll work on doing some easy runs with more intense bursts up the hill (and repeat, and repeat).

(4) Shorter but faster “long” runs.  I’ve been training for a marathon, so I’m used to 15+ mile runs on the weekends.  For the next few weeks, I’ll do more 5-7 mile runs but try to push the pace a bit more on them instead of “settling in” like I do on my longer runs.

(4) Stretching and core.  I’ll keep doing my yoga and pilates, because they are important!

Thoughts, tips, and suggestions are welcome! 

8 thoughts on “Change of Pace (Heh Heh): Training for a 5K

  1. Awesome! I just signed up for my first turkey races too…we are doing a 5K the Saturday before and a 10K on Thanksgiving day…it will be my first ever 5K and my last marathon paced at 9:08, so will be interesting to compare notes! I have no idea what pace to aim for…I did run intervals about once per week training for Chicago and got down to 7:05 but only sustained for 1/2 mile. I’m starting my next marathon cycle though next week so was thinking more of the same and maybe targeting 23:00 for the 5K and 48:00 for the 10K. Or something like that!


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