THE ANATOMY OF A 5K
The 5K is the most intense event out of the 4 classical road race distances. Given the same training level, a marathon runner will not beat a 5K runner over the 5K.
5K race intensity
- 60% of your maximal speed
- 95% of your VO2max
- 6.2mmol/L of blood lactate (LT = 4mmol/L)
5K energy supply
- 92% aerobic
- 8% anaerobic
5K muscle fiber recruitment
- 100% of your slow-twitch fibers
- 87% of your intermediate fast-twitch fibers
- 55% of your super fast-twitch fibers
The 5K requires a unique combination of physiological factors.
+ = somewhat important
++ = important
+++ = very important
++++ = crucially important
Maximal Aerobic Capacity (VO2max) ++++
Lactate Threshold ++
Maximal Running Speed ++
Resistance to Fatigue +
Running Economy ++
TRAINING ZONES & WORKOUTS
In order to maximize 5K race ability, you will need to carry out your training in different training zones. About 70% of your weekly mileage should be below lactate threshold and not all of the below-mentioned training zones are emphasized in 5K training.
Zone 1 = Active Recovery
Recovery runs of 20 – 40min.
Zone 2 = General Endurance
Easy runs & long runs of 30 – 70min.
Zone 3 = High-End Aerobic
Tempo runs of 30 – 60min.
Zone 4 = Threshold
Threshold runs/intervals of 15 – 30min total.
Zone 5a = VO2max
VO2max intervals of 2 – 6min repeatedly.
Zone 5b = Anaerobic Power
Sub-maximal sprint repetitions of 30 – 90sec.
Zone 5c = Neuromuscular power
All-out sprint repetitions of 5 – 15sec.
Free Download: 5+ Training Zones
Peak performance training requires a logical sequence where one adaptation piggybacks on another. I’m an advocate of non-linear periodization (multi-pace training) where the emphasis transitions from general to 5K-specific pace.
Focus Block 1 = Twin-Base
Highly polarized training with a focus on the extreme ends of the pace spectrum.
>>> General Endurance + Maximal Speed
Focus Block 2 = Max-Conditioning
The inclusion of middle-paces that develop your fitness to maximal levels.
>>> Lactate Threshold + VO2max
Focus Block 3 = Race-Specific
Emphasis on 5K-specific training while all other variables are maintained.
>>> 5K Race-Specific Endurance + Economy