“Just” 5K Training and other stuff…

“Just” 5K Training and other stuff…

I’ve been asked several times what my running plans are now that Boston is over and I’ve often found myself saying that I’m “just working on some 5K stuff right now.”  Yes, obviously 5K training and marathon training are different but I’ve come to the realization that there is nothing “just” about it.  5K training is serious business and is in no way inferior!

I decided last month to order a customized 5K schedule from the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project.  You may recall I used this program last fall during my NYC training.  It uses a very similar training format as the programs found in Advanced Marathoning– a.k.a. my favorite marathon book.  In fact, Pete Pfitzinger (author of Advanced Marathoning) references Jack Daniels (Run S.M.A.R.T.) many times in his book.  At this point in my training I feel fairly confident in my ability to customize my own marathon training schedule using one of the plans in the back of Advanced Marathoning.  However, a 5K  plan is a whole different story.  I have not officially trained for a 5K since my senior year of track in college which was over 12 years ago. 

Senior year cross country season (2000-2001)

So here I am 12 years (and 4 kids) later wanting to run faster and hoping I can pull off a PR! I have yet to officially break my college PR 5K time.  18:36.  I’ve come very close and in one race would have done it had the race distance been accurate.  18:36 is my time to beat and while I’m at it why not try to break 18? Never in a million years would I have thought that would be a goal of mine but I’m trying to dream big.

I am only 3 weeks into 5K training right now but I am really enjoying it.  The track workouts can be a little intimidating but so far I like the challenge.  I love the feeling I get when I run my last set and I’ve nailed my times.  I love the mental challenge of trying to stay focused every. single. second while I’m running my 200’s or 400’s.  Sometimes in a tempo run I can zone out for a few seconds and it work out ok but in a short sprinting distance every second is accounted for and I cannot afford to lose focus.

Below are just a few of the differences I’ve noticed in my recent marathon training and my current 5K training:

5K Training
Marathon Training
Weekly Mileage: 40-55
Weekly Mileage: 55-80
Shorter training schedule (12 weeks)
Longer schedule (16-18 weeks)
Two speed sessions on track
One track session, one tempo session
Weekly long run: 10-14 miles
Weekly long run: 15-22 miles

Both schedules usually include 6 days running a week with one rest day and 3-4 easy run days.

I truly love marathon training but I must admit that I am enjoying this brief change of pace.  The lower mileage is a lot easier on my sleep and family time.   The track workouts are hard but fast!  I know the lighter mileage is good for me right now- my body needs a little break.  I needed a break mentally from the marathon as well and racing 5 or 10K’s is challenging but in a very different way.  I recently registered for a 1 mile race next month in Little Rock.  I have not raced this distance since high school so it should be interesting.  I am all about trying to embrace my speed this summer!

Last year I wrote a post called “Switching Gears: A Marathoners Unofficial Guide to Running 5K’s. This may help some of you marathoners get ready for 5K season.  It’s coming so you might as well enjoy it!

And on a completely unrelated note- yesterday was Mother’s Day which has become one of my most favorite days of the year! I had a very enjoyable day with my crew and even got in a little nap- which was wonderful! I will throw in some fun pictures from yesterday below.

What distance are you currently training for?

Have you ever raced a mile?

My mother-in-law and I after church Sunday morning. We take a Mother’s Day picture together every year.

A sign Abi and I found but she added the “Runner.”

Me with all my kiddos

One of my favorite salads ever.  Savannah salad from McAlisters

A Mother’s Day massage from Abi

11 thoughts on ““Just” 5K Training and other stuff…

  1. This post is perfect timing for me right now, Tia. I just ran my very first 5k on Mother’s Day and, wow, was it hard!! I always prefer long-distance races because I am so much more comfortable running longer and slower. 🙂 The 5k I ran had four different U-turns around cones so that seemed to slow it down a lot but overall, it was just so hard regardless.

    I will admit, however, that I have caught a little bit of the 5k bug because now I want to run another one — mostly because I know I can do it faster. (The one I ran on Sunday was 3 days after a 20 mile training run so my legs were tired.) After I run this next marathon, I’d like to try some shorter races to see how fast I can get.

    Thanks so much for sharing a link to a training plan, too. I will have to get a good plan in place this summer and see how it goes!

    Your Mother’s Day looked fabulous and your kids are so cute. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment! Wow- a 5K 3 days after a 20 miler! I’m pretty sure that would wipe me out. 🙂 Excited for you as you getting ready for marathon #2 in this double header!

  2. So impressed by your speed:) This year I am focusing on 5k’s too. Takes less time in my busy schedule. I love that there are so many fun goals to be reached in running!

    1. You are so right about that! Takes up less training time and there are always plenty of nearby by 5K racing options! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  3. I would love to train just for a 5k – maybe next year. I haven’t run a marathon yet this year, so getting my mileage up is important and in a few weeks I will be full into marathon training mode! Are you running a fall marathon? I’m sure you’ve talked about it. Good luck with the 5k – sub 18 is closer than you think!!:)

  4. I really enjoyed backing off distance to work on speed this spring. I got in 6-8 weeks of consistent speed before the 5k and 10k. I was hoping to keep going, but my legs have let me know they’re ready for a break so I’m doing more cross training for now. I’m excited to watch you train for a 5k!

  5. Thrilled to see you doing this! I noticed that when I started to do 2-3 speed days (inc races), I really needed that rest day. And the shorter runs are great for recovery. You will blast that old college time, I bet. All you need are the right workouts and a good course….none of that extra .2 garbage!

    I ran a mile race ONE time. Loved it- was 5k/10k training at the time. Wish I could do a 1 miler with the right training. It would be fun! You will do very well at it. I can’t wait to see how you do. What were your old mile times?

  6. I immersed myself in 5K training after my fall marathon last year and I loved it. I was actually sad for it to end because I was improving my speed so much. I hope to do this towards the end of summer, maybe line it up with my kids’ xcountry season, which always inspires me! Good luck, and I have no doubt that you will crush that PR.

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