T Nation

Running a 5k

I searched around the site and didn’t really find much information i was looking for. After doing a few months here of ‘strength training’ I now want to increase my cardio ability. I was going to spend this month building up my stamina and then start in on plyo’s and sprints after I get a base down.

My gal is running a 5k in about a month and i was thinking of running it with her, figured this would give me a goal to work at and a timeframe to do it in. Problem is i’m not much of a distance runner and i don’t want to lose my strength. I was wondering if anyone had some training tips or suggestions for this next month of training.

Right now the plan is lift twice a wk(maintainance levels) and run three times a wk, increasing the mileage .5 mile each wk(which gets me up to about 3.5 since i was going to start at just 1 mile, ya i know, kinda pathetic)

Some info about me: latest mile- 7:42, never ran more than 2miles in my life, 5’11, 187lbs, 13-14% bf, bench-285, squat-365, dead-405.

So if anyone could give me some tips, or even point me in the direction of a site with some quality running info, I’d appreciate it.

Congrats on taking up the running. Used to run until a year or so ago, best 5k was 19min 16sec. (Now I never do more than 800m).
Your lifts are almost the same as mine but a year ago there was no way I would be able to squat and dead the same amount in conjunction with running. My volume was about 25-30 miles a week cause I was training for half-marathons. Not exactly excessive but it had a major effect on my leg strength.

Basically any form of long distance running is going to have an impact on your strength levels especially your legs. They are almost completely opposite in their effect. It will be hard to maintain your strength and very difficult to increase it but if you keep the running volume to a minimum that would definitely help. You’re progression of 0.5miles a week is sensible. The most likely problem you will suffer is injury. Your strength training will help to a degree but be ready to back off your training intensity and volume as neccessary as it is all too easy to push yourself too hard at the beginnning. Be particulary wary of high intensity speed work.

For a running website try runnersworld.com. They have loads of training programs for newbies for all distances. Good luck.

Creed is very right, distance running is your greatest antagonist when it comes to building legs. I refused to run cross country this year, not because of the leg strength issue actually but also because I didn’t really want to have to eat that much more. There is just no way to mass and run 50+ miles a week without carrying around a mini-fridge in your back seat. You are staying ahead of the game if you don’t lose weight! That being said, let me suggest the following.

Considering that you are at 13% body fat and summer is rapidly approaching, this might be a TERRIFIC time to start a cutting phase. Most people normally stay away from distance running as a leaning down practice but considering that you are going to be running anyway, you might as well go with the current and use it to cut down your bf. Make sure you keep lifting though of course and I woudln’t do much high-volume work because that will just accentuate your downward spiral of strength. Instead, I would suggest low rep strength training (duh) during this phase to help you keep as much of your strength as you can.

Also, since you will be running, you wont be following a “cutting” diet per se. You will be fairly high carb and you won’t have to knock your calories back that far considering all the calories you will be expending on the field. If you are still decided on trying to maintain your mass, I am sure we can help you do that also, but consider the alternative. Unless you are in it for the numbers/your power lifting, then the loss of body fat is aesthetically much more beneficial. The often sought after T-vixen will not say to her friends, “Look at that DK, I bet he can bench damn near 300 and squat 4.” No, they are much more interested in “Wow, that DK is sculpted. Look at that six pack and that waist.” Best of luck and keep us updated on your times. Distance running is a great sport, it allows you to be much more competitive with yourself than with those around you, alot like weight lifting, and I am sure you already know hoc much fun that can be.



Actually, I’m not sure I’d consider a 5K to be “distance” running. You should be able to run 15-20 miles per week without turning into a skinny little distance runner. Running 15-20 isn’t going to make you a competitive 5K runner that will win a bunch of races, but it’s PLENTY of training to run a solid 5K. You could probably do it on 12 miles per week.

My one point of advice…SLOW DOWN. If you can run a 7:42 mile and be tired after it, try running a 9-10 minute mile and just keep running.

Thanks for the help. Yes, I was hoping it would help with cutting up some for summer, it would be nice to have my abs show through again.

I was planning on every third workout to work up to about 90% max on my squat, dead, and bench to try to keep some of the strength, the other days to do some Olympic style lifts keeping the volume low, but mainly concentrating on my running and recovering from that.

One thing I was wondering, I’m only running 3x a week, and my total weekly mileage rarely will reach even 10miles, I was wondering if should throw in an extra day of running per week to up it some?

Do not slow down. Do you have a goal time? Any shmo can finish a 5k run, you have to give yourself a goal time. Run at the pace that you want to finsh the race in. Lets say you want to finsh in 18min. That’s 3:36/km pace. Hit a 400m track and run at a 86sec/lap pace. This is the speed you have to run at to finsh a 5k in 18min. Run at this pace around the track for as long as you can keeping track of your distance covered. This distance will be your test distance to base your work intervals on. Lets say you ran 7 1/2 laps before having to stop, that’s 3k(3000m) and it would have taken you ~10:48 at the race pace(3:36/km). Now for the work sets, reduce the distance by 10% or 300m, that comes to just over 6 1/2 laps in 10:48. Fully recover after each 6 1/2 lap set and repeat. When you can longer keep up with the pace and complete the distance, you call it a day. Repeat this workout every 6-7 days only. If you have any questions let me know, I’ve trained many triathletes and distance runners.

I’m pretty sure that running in general just makes you skinny. I used to run XC, I was doing 5k under 19 by the time districts came around. I was 5’7, around 112 lbs. Of course, I didn’t eat, but running 5-6 miles a day takes a toll on you.

In regards to adding that extra day or not:

Well it comes down to what loop said. Anyone can run a 5k, it isn’t that physically demanding in all honesty and I am sure that if you haven’t run more than a mile in your life, than yes, it might seem like a feat in and of itself, but if you are going to put some effort in, don’t go half ass!

I would definitely up your mileage but lets not set your goals quite where loop has them, not yet at least. If your best mile is a 7:42, we should aim for a 5k in the low twenties. If you can’t run a mile under 6 minutes, I for one am not going to push you to run three six minute miles. No, as it is now, I would be happy for you to bring your miles down to 7’s which would put you just over 21. PM loop and talk runs with him if you want, but I would make a low 20’s (eh, less than 24?) your prioity for the first two weeks and we’ll see how that comes along. Btw, do you know the terrain of the run yet? If it is hills, you should definetly put in some hill work, its great fun, but if it is relatively flat, you can just train straight. It sounds like you are in need of general conditioning right now and not fine tuning really so perhaps the track work would be better off later down the line?

The best advice I can give you for now would be this. At least twice a week, run 4-6 miles and don’t stop. Also, unless you are really unconditioned, you should be able to do each mile under ten. If you have never run more than a mile, you will wish for a quick and painless death but I assure you that running four-six miles isn’t near as bad as you think it is; yes, you will feel like you can’t run anymore and you will want to walk and that is okay, just slow your jog down for a minute or two, but don’t stop. The goal of these days is for your delicate heart to learn the joys of continued elevation. Then once a week, run an agressive 2 mile run and if your mile is at 7:42, you should aim for two miles under 8:30 for now? And once a week, for enterainment, aim for a 3 mile run so you can monitor your progress.

Don’t shaft the 4-6 mile runs because they don’t seem applicable to a 3 mile run, they are a great psychological tool. Run six miles straight for an hour and you won’t think twice about the two mile runs. If 3 miles is the farthest you ahve ever run, it seems long. If you have gone 6, its just a quick run in the park. Best of luck! J

i just ran my firt 5k not too long ago, i finished in 24:22. i used the beginners program on coolrunning.

Here is a great book to get:

The Self-Coached Runner II: Cross Country and the Shorter Distances
by Allan Lawrence, Mark Scheid

You can find a used copy online or a new one at any bookstore or e-store with a decent sports section.

The Self-Coached Runner II: Cross Country and the Shorter Distances
by Allan Lawrence, Mark Scheid

It will take you from the 100m sprint up to a half marathon training schedule. It breaks each race (100,400,800, mile, 5k, etc) into a group based on your predicted finishing time (it helps you figure that out as well by using your 400/800 time).

I used it as a runner and a coach…I’m on my second copy.


Thanks for all the good advice. I think I’ll add in a day or two a week where I just run as far as i can, aiming at like 4miles or so just to ‘finish’ it, not for time.

I’m hoping to be able to get the time down to low to mid twenties for the real run. I think under twenty would be a stretch in just this month, but I’ll have to see how I’m progressing.

I ran a couple sprints, a 400, and a mile yesterday to see where my times were at and try to find a pace. The 400 time was 1:15(lil disappointed) and the mile was 8:02(VERY disappointed, but i’m sure the sprints and 400 didn’t help, shoe came untied too and that bugged me the whole time as well)

I’ll keep you posted how I end up or if I have any more questions. Thanks again.

Don’t be disheartened your 400m times not bad but as you say your mile time is a little down but at least it shows it is not because you lack the basic speed. As your endurance rises i am sure you’ll be running 6minutes/miles based on your 400m time.