T Nation

Improving My 5k Time


I need to improve my time. I have discovered on my own that attempting to run it at "race" speed 3 or so times a week hasn't hurt my time, but hasn't improved it as much as it's making me feel overtrained.

Does anyone have any advice on improving my speed for a 5k? I was thinking of starting by doing 12x400m with 30 seconds rest in between at the pace I'd LIKE to keep for the duration of the race.

If you guys need any specific info to help me, let me know. Thanks in advance.


If you haven't been doing track work(400's, 800's, ect.), you should start doing those more often. How long have you been running for, and what is your 5k time now? I ran Cross Country in high school and we would basically do long runs mon/wed/fri, and do intervals on the track tues/thurs, with our 5k races being on saturday.

I was able to get down to a 16:20 5k, but it took me a LONG time to get that fast. Some of your runs should be faster than your race pace. Just make sure you don't increase your weekly mileage too much.


Well in truth..I've only been running approx. 10-12 miles a week for the past month. My 5k time is just under 25 minutes at 24:XX. I'd like to get to the 20 minute mark in the near future..And 16 mins is fucking fast dude lol.


I'd recommend taking a look FIRST training programs. They focus on three key running workouts a week, which makes it easier to fit in with other (e.g. strength) workouts. I use broadly similar principles in my running training, and have would it works well(38:28 10k last weekend off the back of breaking my patella 6 months ago and only being able to train properly again until the last 2 months).

Their 5k plan is here:


And the pace tables they refer to are here:


Table 4.1 doesn't seem to be on the web, but the pace for the intervals should be as fast as you can go while maintaining a roughly even pace across all the intervals.


Thanks a great deal for this program. I'm looking at this as well as a program by Hal Higdon. This seems like it would work better for the other training I'm doing as it's only 3 key days.


I like Hal Higdon's programs too and have taken from them in the past, but they tend to be (relatively) high volume. If you compare the FIRST 5k program to Higdon's advanced 5k program(http://www.halhigdon.com/5K%20Training/5-Kadv.htm) you can see that the key workouts in FIRST (roughly) map to Higdon's interval, tempo and fast runs.


Post an ad on Craigslist and get yourself a running partner like this guy: