Chasing an elusive 5km personal best

Since the (second) start of my running endeavors I have been able to improve my 5km racing (well pedestrian when compared to elites) time from 27mins to a current personal best of 20mins & 18secs on the famous Wellington waterfront 5km course. Some might say that I should be very happy and content with the fact that I have been able to improve my times over a course of about 2 years by 7mins but that’s just not the point! I want to run sub 20 meaning I want to register an official time of 19mins 59secs (well 19:50 or 19:30 secretly). I actually ran sub 20 in a recent relay event but that was mostly due to the fact the first 3km of the run was a net downhill, so in my mind It does not count.

So when I look at my progress from over the years relatively I have been able to improve my 5km time (meaning run faster) over a certain period and now it seems that I have hit a plateau.

5Km Race Times

5Km Race Times (recent history)

I seem to be floating in the 20+ to 21+ min range and not actually getting any faster. Also another great comparison is another 5km race that I run but not as regularly as the above race. This is Parkrun which is also a flat course but there is a difference in terms of surface that there are two sections that go over grass. In the Parkrun course my PB is 20:42.

Parkrun 5km results

Parkrun 5km results

Parkrun 5km Grading

Parkrun 5km Grading

The advice I have got is that in order to improve my times in the 5km I now need to start doing some targeted ‘speed work’ sessions. As such one of my side goals whilst training for my first marathon is to inject some speed sessions and improve my 5km race time. Last week I went down to the Newtown park athletics track and did a ‘mini’ speed session. During this session I was able to run a fast 1km time of 3min 28secs. These sessions however needs to be carefully balanced so that I don’t get injured by doing too many speed sessions. The main goal is the marathon and this is secondary, but running sub 20 is also something that I want to do before May 2013. In order to run under 20mins I need to sustain 3min 50/km splits for my 5km targeted race. The annoying bit is I was oh so close when I ran 20:18, slowing down in the last 2km cost me. 😦

5km PB Splits

5km PB Splits

Now I need to target another race and get everything into play! Hopefully with a bit of perseverance and specific speed sessions I’ll get that sub 20min 5km soon!



6 thoughts on “Chasing an elusive 5km personal best

  1. 5km run on tues, 60 min fartlek plus 4 x 300 stride outs thursd, then track work Sat, long slow run on Sunday. Go for 5km PB every 2nd or 3rd tuesday

    How’s that for some ideas?

  2. Pingback: Wellington Marathon Training Update | 74 running

  3. Pingback: 2013 running review | 74 running

  4. Pingback: 5km Races and Running Improvements | 74 running

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