5k Workouts

 

5k Workouts that challenge your aerobic threshold for the 5k

The 5k race is a fast paced endurance race that is roughly around 80% aerobic and 20% anaerobic.  When a runner is training at a heart rate of around 130-150 beats per minute (bpm) or 65% of Vo2 max, their body’s aerobic system will use fatty acids as the primary fuel source.  Once the runner increases their effort near or above this rate, their body’s primary fuel needs will shift from fatty acids to glycogen without any accumulation of lactic acid or hydrogen ions.  Training with workouts at this intensity will challenge the aerobic system to use fatty acids and save glycogen for higher intensities.

Below is a list of a few 5k aerobic threshold workout intensities that will help train the aerobic system to use fatty acids and glycogen without the accumulation of lactic acid and hydrogen ions. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 5k training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 5k athlete and try to run these 5k workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 5k event specific workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

20-30min run @ 50-70% of recent timed mile (lower percentage = fatty acids – higher percentage = glycogen)

As athlete’s capacity increases over the 5k season:

  • 30-45min run @ 50-70%
  • 45-60min run @ 50-70%
  • 60-80min run @50-70%
  • 80-100min run @50-70%

Important:  Make 10-15% total weekly volume increases to reduce the chance of injury due to heavy increases in mileage.


 
 

5k Workouts that increase your anaerobic threshold for the 5k

The 5k race is a fast paced endurance race that is about 20% anaerobic.  Once a runner goes over a heart rate of around 170 bpm or 85-90% of their Vo2 max, their body’s aerobic system will no longer be able to completely supply the energy necessary to sustain that intensity.  The runner will have to rely on the anaerobic system to help assist the aerobic system in order to maintain an intensity that is greater or equal to the 170bpm or 85-90% V02 max.  Training with workout intensities near the anaerobic threshold allows a runner to maximize their aerobic systems efficient use of glycogen while expanding the aerobic system to higher levels.

Below is a list of a few 5k workouts at intensities near or just below the anaerobic threshold (150-170 bpm).  Training at or just below the anaerobic threshold will develop and increase the efficient use of glycogen as the primary energy source. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 5k training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 5k athlete and try to run these 5k workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 5k event specific workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

20-25min run @ 70-80% of recent timed mile pace

As athlete’s capacity increases over the 5k season: 

  • 25-30min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace
  • 30-45min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace
  • 45-60min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace

 
 

5k Workouts that increase your aerobic power for the 5k

The 5k race is a fast paced endurance race like the 1600m or 3200m track events, but has a little more aerobic requirements as the 5k is around 80% aerobic, which is 15-30% more aerobic than the 1600m and 3200m.  In order to maximize your racing abilities aerobically, you will need training workouts that increase your aerobic power.  Aerobic power is also known as VO2 max which is the highest rate that oxygen is consumed or used during exercise.

Below is a list of a few 5k aerobic power workouts that will help train the VO2 max energy system. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 5k training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 5k athlete and try to run these 5k workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 5k aerobic power workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes and ” = seconds.

 

100-200-300-400-500-400-300-200-100m @ 90-100% of 800m race pace with 60-90″ rest


8-12x 200m @ 90-105% of 800m pace with 90” rest


3-5x 600m @ 85-90% of 800m race pace with 1-2’ rest


 Advanced


1200m/1000m/800m @ 85-90% of timed mile pace with a recovery of equal time


1200m/1000m/1200m @ 85-90% of timed mile pace with a recovery of equal time


3x 1-mile @ 85-90% of timed mile pace with a recovery of equal time


 Anaerobic Endurance / Lactic Acid Tolerance Repetition Training


800m/800m/800m @ “mile race pace” with full recovery (could be 20-30min)


2-3x 1000m @ recent timed mile pace with full recovery (could be 20-30min)
 


 
 

5k Speed workouts that increase your running speed for the 5k

The 5k is a distance race that is raced primarily aerobically.  However, an endurance athlete who trains for the 5k will have a great advantage over their competition if they are capable of running at higher rates of speed.  By training with speed workouts that improve your maximum velocity capabilities, you can increase your ability to run the 5k faster and easier than your competition.

Below is a list of a few 5k speed workouts that will help improve maximum velocity and efficiency.  But wait, doesn’t this look like a sprinter workout?  It does, and sprinters use these speed workouts too.  Remember, speed is not only for sprinters.  Endurance athletes need a great deal of speed in order to run faster 5k times too.  The only difference is that the 5k runner doesn’t train with these workouts nearly as often. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 5k training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 5k athlete and try to run these 5k speed workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 5k speed workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

3-4x 3x 30-50m assisted sprints with a bungee @ 95-100%   3′/6’


3×3 Fly 30’s @ 95-100%    3′/6′   (30m accel. zone with 30m fly zone)      

Important Notes: 

  • Accelerate through the acceleration zone and reach near-to-maximum velocity at the beginning of the fly zone.
  • Maintain near-to-maximum velocity through the fly zone and stay light on your feet as if you were running on hot coals.
  • Decelerate gradually after fly zone to reduce risk of shin splints.
  • Walking recovery is strongly recommended for this workout.