An honest 8 week speed plan

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.

Session info (PDF)

Session info (PDF)

Core development programme (PDF)

Core development programme (PDF)

Your training programme (PDF)

Your training programme (PDF)

Your core Remember, as much as running is about moving forward, it has to work in conjunction with the rest of your body. That’s why it’s important to develop your core strength, too. If you have a strong core, you will be more efficient, have better posture and will be able to maintain good form throughout your run. Every session that is not a steady run or race should have the core session below in with it. After warming down from your run, go through the core session.  It is designed to last no more than 15 minutes.

The programme has space for you to write inyour interval speeds or start pace so you can set it out at the start of your plan. There is also a section for writing your feedback – this is important so you can make adjustments if needs be.

Any questions, give me a shout or tweet me @52marathonman Log your times with me and I’ll try to keep a register and diary of all those undertaking it. Send me your targets, your results from day 1 and your intended start date

About kevin betts

Personal trainer, marathon runner and most interested in motivation and goal setting. I run for peace of mind, but also to create a bit of turmoil to get through.

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