After completing a spring marathon, I posted on the UKRunChat Twitter account last night asking whether anyone was now going to work on their speed – namely a 5k or 10k. I was overwhelmed with people who said they were, and so I thought I would put together a little 8 week programme for those people to follow, if they wish.
I need to put in a disclaimer that everyone is different and so this programme is generic and designed to fit your average Joe (or Joanne!) – You may decide you want to slightly adapt it. If you want more specific programmes with more detail in them, then contact me and I can put something together at a relatively low cost. This programme is designed for people who are quite regular runners or familiar to running, at least.
So what can you realistically achieve in 8 weeks? Well the answer is quite a lot – depending on what your start point is. Put simply, if you’re already training, however simply, for a 5 or 10k, then your improvement might not be as dramatic as someone who is just coming off the back of a marathon (so has lots of muscular endurance) or someone who is totally new to running.
It is also difficult to dictate what training equipment or locations people have available – I will be working on either times or distances. Treadmills or a running track are obviously ideal for this. If not, a Garmin will give indications. Failing that, you can still predict distances on Map My Run and I would hope everyone has access to some sort of watch.
There are two things you need to do on day 1:
1) Set a base time Go and run your target distance as fast as you can. Make a note after the run of how you felt throughout, any mistakes you might have made and any things you may want to improve on. 2) Set a target time This is the time you would like to achieve after 8 weeks. Be realistic, but also be aspirational. The amount someone can improve will vary depending on current fitness, age, experience, time available to train and a number of other factors. As a rule of thumb, I would say a maximum of 10% improvement on your base time is realistic but immensely challenging.
After day 1:
Once you have those two measurements, you can set your training plan. Below is a link to a 10km training plan. It looks complicated, but it isn’t. The plan uses % of your target time, distance or speed. For the uninitiated amongst us, you can convert your speeds using the tool at the bottom of this page.