5km Races and Running Improvements

A while back I wrote that I was struggling to break the 20min mark in my 5km races. Fast track to exactly a year and I am now quite comfortably running sub 20min 5km races. My initial frustration with not being able to break that mark is now rewarded with a series of sub 20 times in a number of 5km races since October 2013 through to January 2014.

So far in 6 of my 5km races since October 2013 I have being consistent at running under sub 20minutes as follows:

Event Date Time
Lower Hutt parkrun 25/01/2014 19:36 Current PB
Hamilton Lake parkrun 28/12/2013 19:53
Porirua parkrun 30/11/2013 19:59
Wellington 5k 19/11/2013 19:55
Wellington 5k 29/10/2013 19:41
Lower Hutt parkrun 19/10/2013 19:39

With the net improvement my goal is to now be comfortable at running this pace at other distances. My next goal is to break 90mins in the half marathon distance. Key to this is being able to sustain 4:15min per KM splits for the net distance and pass the 5km mark in a comfortable time of 19:59 in a half marathon race. This will also mean that my current 10km personal best time will have an improvement. Well that’s the theory anyway.

Overall I am now doing some specific speed work sessions every week and working at my threshold pace. This has resulted in a few things:

  • I am able to run faster over longer distances with less effort. This is compared to the distances I used to run and my variances in heart rate. I can be in zone 2 with a HR variance of 143-155 and still run @ 5:00min pace. Previously I would be in Zone 3 or Zone 4 at that pace.
    HRZones2 HRZones
  • I can add distance to my weekly mileage but still be ‘fresh’ for key workouts such as speed sessions of intervals and tempos. Typically I will do an Interval session on a Wednesday and a Tempo on a Saturday so there is enough recovery time between them. I have been able to increase my weekly mileage to 100km per week with a peak of 120km as mentioned in my previous post.
    Weekly100kmIncidentally January has also been the month where I have gone over 400km for the month!

With these gradual increases I am hoping that I can continue my training and improving my running for this year. Main goal being the Rotorua marathon in May.

Happy running!

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!



Keep running and you’ll be winning!

I mentioned on twitter a few days ago that I’ll be posting a competition to giveaway a pair of ‘yurbuds’ sports earphones. Needless to say these are engineered for athletes in mind.

Competition - give away!

Competition – give away!

So here are the details of the competition and how you can win them!

Enter and run two 5km races before 31st March 2013, basically after you finish Wellington Round the bays you’ll be extending your training and using that as an advantage.
You can choose from the following two events.



Support any of the following events.. (yes I’ve changed the rules of the competition)

Competition General Rules

  • Open for all runners based in the Wellington region.
  • You must have entered Wellington Round the Bays (7k or the half marathon) and complete the event.
  • You must enter your name/details in the ‘comments’ section of this post so I know who is entered.
  • Winner will be announced on Monday 1st April 2013. Wednesday 20th  February 2013!

Happy running!

Why you should run at Parkrun

If you are just a beginner runner or someone who is looking to improve your fitness or competitive time over a 10k or half marathon Parkrun is a great motivator.
Every Saturday morning at 8am you can join a group of like minded runners, joggers and walkers in Lower Hutt in Wellington and or Auckland for a 5km timed run. All you have to do is visit the Parkrun website and register to get a barcode – yes a barcode and bring that along to your run.

Once you finish your run or walk your time is captured & posted on the Parkrun website. This provides added motivation to come back each week and try and run faster. So check out Parkrun in Lower Hutt if you are living in Wellington to join up.


Happy running!