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5K

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

 

PHYSIOLOGICAL FACTORS

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
 
 
TRAINING PROGRESSION

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

5K Intermediate

12-week training plan
4 essential runs
4x/week = 12 miles (20 km) per week
5x/week = no
6x/week = no

5K Advanced

12-week training plan
4 essential runs + 1 optional run
4x/week = 19 miles (30 km) per week
5x/week = 23 miles (36 km) per week
6x/week = no

5K Competitive

12-week training plan
4 essential runs + 2 optional runs
4x/week = 25 miles (40 km) per week
5x/week = 30 miles (48 km) per week
6x/week = 35 miles (56 km) per week
Do you prefer a plan handcrafted for your genetic type, training days, weekly mileage, training status, and weeks until your event?

5K Custom

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