5K training questions
A place for those of us over 40 to share their thoughts about running, racing or just life in general, as well as training plans and ideas. These discussions are open to runners of ALL levels.

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ljcullison
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5K training questions

by ljcullison » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:58 pm

I'm a 55 yr old female who has been running for about 17 yrs. After about 5 yrs of running I got into doing the 2 marathons/yr with several local 5Ks every year. The last few years I started having a few injuries, usually when I increased my mileage too fast or tried to do too much speedwork, and my 5K times have kept getting slower. For this year, my goals were to work on my 5K speed and and be competitive in our local racing series that goes on all year; mainly 5Ks and a few 10Ks, run the Indy Mini in May (mainly for fun with family), and got to the Master's Nationals T&F this summer. After my fall marathon last Oct, I hurt my hamstring, so I have kept my mileage fairly low and ran most of my miles easy and have tried to slowly work in speedwork. I ran strides for several weeks before trying anything faster, but my hamstring is starting to hurt again after a few days of faster runs. I don't go to the track, but do my speedwork as fartleks on the roads; i.e. 1 day of 1 min hard, 1 min fast, then a 2nd day of tempo work, 1 long run of 12-14 miles, and easy running for the rest of the week with Sun as an off day. Easy running and tempo work don't seem to bother my hamstring, so I'm wondering if I can get my 5K times faster without running faster than tempo pace, and what would be some good workouts?  Thanks!

Jim
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Re: 5K training questions

by Jim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:55 am

Yes, you can improve your 5km times with easy mileage and CV intervals and tempos (Tinman will chime in on this type of training).  However, writing as a currently injured runner, you should get that hamstring issue resolved.  Do you know what caused the injury?  My hamstrings and calf muscles are usually under stress because I don't stretch enough.  I didn't need to stretch much when I was 22 but now at 47 I've learned that working avoiding injury is as much a part of masters training as the running.

Jim
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Re: 5K training questions

by Jim » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:56 am

And I might see you at US Nats this year, I'm skipping Canadian Nats to attend US Nats.

dkggpeters
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Re: 5K training questions

by dkggpeters » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:22 am

By avoiding the faster then tempo work is just a band aid.  You should consider some strength training focusing on the glutes and hamstrings a couple of times a week which should help to resolve the problem.

In the meantime, yes, you can get faster in a 5k with easy running and tempo work.  You may want to see if you can do CV intervals as these are at a pace that you can run at all out for 35 to 45 minutes but doing for 5/6 x 1K with 200m jog recoveries.  These help tremendously and I believe that you would benefit from them greatly.

Another thing to consider is to do a lot of rolling.  I use the stick before and after after run and foam roll 3 to 4 times a week.  I am 49 and find that this has helped me tremendously in working out any hot spots and loosens up the muscles quite well.  I used to have to do static stretching before every run and by using the stick I do not static stretch anymore.  I have gone from being able to only run 5 days a week before and requiring ibuprofen to being able to run 7 days a week and not ibuprofen.  I used always felt beat up and now I do not and have never felt better.  Only small niggles pop up now but I can resolve them quickly and without having to adjust my training.

Tinman
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Re: 5K training questions

by Tinman » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:46 pm

Good suggestions by Jim and dkpeters!

I believe that a balanced approach works best. A mistake is running a so-called "Base" of mileage without intensity and then switch gears and run faster work after weeks of just mileage.

Break CV intervals into smaller chunks and run them regularly! Break your tempos into Segments (longer reps), rather than run them continuously. Run short striders a couple times per week - even 50m reps @ 5k-3km speed will do you worlds of good, in terms of improving relaxation when you run quicker. Strengthen your hip extensors (glutes, upper hamstrings, especially). Run short hill reps instead of short striders, once you have a few weeks of striders under your belt. Avoid the trap of running a "hard" workout too soon after running a race. Avoid racing too often, too!

Take care,

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ljcullison
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Re: 5K training questions

by ljcullison » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:13 pm

Thanks for the advice! After almost a week of easier running, I noticed that my hamstring is feeling better. I think I just tried to do too much faster running too soon. On Tuesday, I did a workout of 15 x 1 min @ tempo instead of the faster pace like I did a week ago, and that felt a lot more comfortable. I also finished a couple of my easy days with 6 x 20 sec strides and they felt good. I did start a strengthening workout 2-3 times/week about 4 weeks ago and noticed that my hamstring was feeling better, so I will keep up with that. I have the stick and have used it in the past, so it sounds like I need to get it out again and use it on a more regular basis. And I have printed off Tinman's distance training chart, so I will have a better idea of what pace/effort I need to be running.
Thanks again for the advice. I found this website after re-reading the Running Times article on Kevin Miller and was impressed on how he came back and was able to get some faster times with a different approach to his training.

dkggpeters
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Re: 5K training questions

by dkggpeters » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:51 pm

It also takes a bit of time to reap the benefits of a strength training routine.  It took me about 6 weeks and any hip pain that I would get completely went away. 

I also notice that when I forgo foam rolling then niggles start to pop up again.  One lesson I learned is to stay consistent with doing the supplemental work.

Jim
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Re: 5K training questions

by Jim » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:12 am

I worked with a personal trainer throughout 2012 and got a lot stronger in the hips, glutes and core and I believe this has helped me in several ways.  1) my form is a lot better as I don't slouch as much as I used to (although my form is not perfect) 2) I don't have any more IT band problems, my #1 injury over the years and 3) I have a much improved finishing kick.  But as Tinman notes, training is all about doing a lot of different things, not just running.  However sometimes it's hard to find time in the day to do all the stuff you might want to do.

acanais49
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Re: 5K training questions

by acanais49 » Thu May 11, 2017 9:24 pm

Jim wrote:Yes, you can improve your 5km times with easy mileage and CV intervals and tempos (Tinman will chime in on this type of training).  However, writing as a currently injured runner, you should get that hamstring issue resolved mutuelles Entreprise.  Do you know what caused the injury?  My hamstrings and calf muscles are usually under stress because I don't stretch enough.  I didn't need to stretch much when I was 22 but now at 47 I've learned that working avoiding injury is as much a part of masters training as the running.

Fortunately I came across the forum because I too have this same concern. In any case, thank you very much for the advice.

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