After running a 5k over Memorial Day weekend, I kind of took a break from doing any “speed work”. I wasn’t doing much before that either (a few fartleks and 400s) but the only workout I have done since then was this fun negative split workout (however, it isn’t exactly geared towards running a 5k).
I’m planning to do another 5k this coming Sunday, which kind of snuck up on me. I created this workout to get my legs moving at 5k pace without totally wrecking them 5 days before the race.
Whenever I do a harder run it takes me awhile to get my legs moving at the pace they are supposed to be going. So the idea behind this workout is that the first set is only 2 minutes long- so I was able to tell myself to push hard for 2 minutes and then I get a break. By the time I got to the longer intervals my legs felt more comfortable at that pace, plus I was getting longer recovery time.
This can easily be modified to fit your needs: If you have more than 5 days until your race maybe you want to consider trying a 6 minute interval at the end? Or if your race is in 2-3 days, just do the 2, 3, and 3 minute sets. That’s the beauty of these kinds of workouts- there are endless ways to modify them.
Let me know if you try this one out!
What kind of workouts do you do in the week leading up to a 5k?
Do you prefer workouts based on time or distance?
meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles says
I am still so enjoying my negative split workout. I don’t even know what it is exactly about it but I guess it just makes things fun and challenging and I get a great workout in! I totally dislike 5k races because I feel like I want to throw up after running them and I hate driving somewhere to run for 20 minutes but this workout may help me adjust to racing the distance which would make things feel better for me as I run. I normally don’t time myself and go by distance but when I first started running, it was the other way around.
I definitely like being able to gradually push harder but then knowing you have a break. 5ks are really hard, but do like that they require less recovery time than longer races.
Michele @ paleorunningmomma says
This is really smart since a big part of fast running is mental! I haven’t run a 5k in forever, it’s getting ridiculous! I’m sure this one will go well for you!
It’s sooo mental. And I really have no idea how this one will go since this weekend is supposed to be pretty hot!
Chrissy @Pink Polish and Running Shoes says
I love this workout! I’m definitely saving this. I’m thinking of running a 5k in September so this might be good for when the race gets closer.
I hope you like it!
Sam @ See Sam Run says
That workout looks great! I plan to do a 5K within the next month so I will definitely have to do this. I’m still kind of “afraid” to do speed work because it seems whenever I do I get hurt, so this seems like a good stepping stone for me.
Yea and you can definitely modify it based on how you’re feeling. If 5k pace is too risky then maybe start with 10k pace or something.
Ohh I like the sound of this workout – thanks for sharing! I am the same way, it’s impossible for me to get my legs moving fast at the very beginning. I always do a 1/2 mile to mile warmup before any speedwork, but maybe I could try this one day instead.
I feel like every time I do speed intervals my first one is the worst, and that’s even with a warm-up! At least with this workout the first interval is the shortest.
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
We had the marathon trainees do a 5k last night–and it is so sad, but all I could think about was that I was glad that it wasn’t me doing it out in the heat! I need to get my big girl pants on!
5ks are so tough. Even just running at 5k pace for a few minutes is totally draining, and the heat definitely makes it worse!
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
I don’t think I’ve ever really trained for a 5K!! I think after MCM, I would love to focus on these shorter distances and really see what I can do!
I’ve never specially trained for a 5k either, other than doing a few speed workouts in the weeks leading up to a shorter race. I really should devote more time to shorter distances but it feels so weird for some reason!
I actually have a 5K next weekend so I’m thinking I’ll need to try this out in preparation for that! (Maybe tomorrow before Body Pump!) Great workout!
I hope it goes well if you try it out!
Before a 5K, and I don’t do many of them, I usually just take it a little easier. Sometimes I will do a tempo run a few days out but nothing too crazy. Most of my runs at this point are for time (i.e run for 60 minutes), but once I get back into marathon training I will definitely be looking to add more structure and diversity in my runs.
Things don’t look much different before a 5k for me either. I definitely like to get my legs moving a few days out but it’s also nice to get an extra rest day to prepare if possible.
Right now I’m shooting for distance since I’m a slow treadmill runner. I’m always faster on the roads, but I’ve been on the treadmill for a while in case I need to stop.
It’s nice to have the option to stop whenever when running on a treadmill!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
This would be a good workout for me as I don’t tend to run long distances, but I would really like to get my pace up. Saving for later- thanks!
Sounds like a great way for you to work on pace! I hope you like it if you try it out!
Laura @ This Runner's Recipes says
I have not done a 5k in years, but this is the type of speed work I like to do between training for longer races. It takes my legs a while to move fast, so I like how the intervals get progressively longer.
Me too…I think my last interval was my fastest pace even though it was the longest set.
I just did a very similar workout yesterday, but mine was 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 with rest intervals of half the time of the work intervals. I love this kind of workout–now I just need to schedule a few 5ks b/c I am kind of craving one!
Wow that’s definitely harder but sounds great especially if you have a little more time before a race! I felt like I could have had a little less recovery in my workout so maybe next time I’ll try cutting it in half.
Okay Lisa, this workout is brilliant! I’m def going to try it. I personally don’t run 5k races because I’ve always been such a distance runner but I’m actually starting to realize how much the shorter distances really help my long race times so I’m doing a 10k next week. For speed work sessions I like to go by time if I’m on the treadmill and by distance if I’m outside.
I usually go by distance if Im outside too but its nice to change things up and go by time. Glad to hear that your trying some shorter races, they will definitely help with speed!
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says
This is an awesome workout! I need to put my next 5k on the calendar. I’d love to get in another one soon before July and August hit. Good luck Sunday!!
You have been doing so great with all your 5ks lately! I may do another in July but I know I will regret that decision when its 90 degrees out:)
I’ve never done speed work until I hired a running coach (thank you again for the awesome training plan). I mistakenly thought the more I ran the better I would become; little did I know that’s only part of it. After reading your blog, working the training plan and preparing for my half I’m actually getting excited to ramp up my speed work and start killing 5k’s!
Having said that, I’m not sure which I like better between time or distance… at the moment I’m working mostly on distance just so I can cross the finish line vertically and not crawling 🙂 The little speed work I have done recently though has made me a MUCH stronger runner so that’s exciting.
Good luck this weekend!
I’m so glad to hear that the plan is going well! Speed work is tough, but can be fun too, and is SO beneficial!
I am horrible at incorporating speed work. I feel like I get too sore when I do it. And not the good sore. Like the knees hurt and I have to take a day or two off. I try to just do longer distances. I think running longer helps as well.
Thats too bad that you don’t feel great after speed work. I actually feel like varying my pace helps my running overall. But it’s good that you know to avoid it if it cause pain!
This sounds like a great workout, Lisa! I would definitely love to try it out – but I’ll have to wait till after my marathon 😉 Good luck this weekend!
Thanks! That definitely makes sense to wait until after your race to try it out:)
Megan @ Meg Go Run says
I would love to try something like this for speed work! Thanks for sharing it with us.
Glad you like it!
Annette @ Sweating Through Life says
The only time I have ever trained for a 5k was when I was learning how to run that far. I started to take the distance for granted until recently. After completing longer distances, I now am really curious what my 5k capabilities are at this point. So, maybe I should start doing some training!!! Great ideas!
I don’t really train for 5ks either, but I do like adding in a few speed work sessions before a 5k just so my legs can remember how to run fast:) I find that workouts like this are perfect for when you’re not actually training for a specific race but want to keep up your speed.
This looks like a good one! I love workouts like these and yes, they are definitely effective when a faster 5k is desired.
5ks are so challenging, so it definitely helps to practice running at those faster paces!
What a great workout!! Hopefully the race will start early before it gets too hot!
I really want to getting a 5K time soon.
I normally run based on distance, but I really like the look of this workout based on time!
It’s nice to change things up sometimes and run based on time instead of distance!