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5K

The Anatomy of a 5K Race

A 5K race is run at 60% of your maximal speed. That recruits 100% of your slow-twitch fibers, 87% of your intermediate fast-twitch fibers, and 55% of your super fast-twitch fibers. That requires 95% of your maximal aerobic capacity with 15% anaerobic contribution which is with ~6.2mmol blood lactate/liter significantly above your lactate threshold.
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Training for a 5K Race

In my opinion, the most appropriate training periodization for competitive amateur runners is funnel periodization (see graphic above) as it allows for multiple peaks and a well-rounded fitness level year-round. The 3 phases for 5K training are as follows:

 

1. Base + Speed

General endurance = Steady to M-pace

Aerobic support = HM/lactate threshold pace

General speed = 800m – 400m pace

Anaerobic support = 1500m pace

 

2. Pre-Competition

General endurance = Steady to M-pace

Direct endurance support = 10K pace

Direct speed support = 3K pace

 

3. Race-Specific

General endurance = Steady to M-pace

Race-specific = 5K pace

 

Note: There’s no equal distribution between the suggested workout modes. General endurance always takes center stage.

Hi! I'm Sandro Sket, a NSCA-Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and coach to competitive runners. Having studied the philosophies and methods of all the great coaches (past and present), I’ve become an advocate of funnel periodization. I’m bilingual in exercise science.
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs.

5K Training Plans

Extraordinary 5K race results are the outcome of structured training. It requires maximizing your aerobic fitness, muscular power, and 5K-specific endurance—in the right order.

Train more effectively (and efficiently!) with funnel periodization.
Elevate your aerobic capacity (VO2max)
Boost your lactate threshold/tolerance
Increase your neuromuscular power
Upgrade your fatigue resistance
Improve your running economy

5K Intermediate

8-week plan
4 running days/week
20 miles/week (32 km/week)

5K Advanced

8-week plan
4 - 6 running days/week
30 miles/week (48 km/week)

5K Pre-Elite

8-week plan
5 - 7 running days/week
40 miles/week (64 km/week)
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