Jogging & Running/running faster

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi Nick

I am trying to increase the pace of my 5k run. Not to race per se. Pushing my limits keeps me motivated toward a goal and makes running more fun. I have been able to knock more than 10 seconds off my 5k pace this summer. Not terrible but I would like to try and get my 5k pace to 7:30 or less. Right now I am at 7:43. Would you suggest working toward a fairly constant pace of 7:30 or bursts of speed mixed with cruising at a slower pace for the best time?

ANSWER: Len, That is a fabulous goal. I have a 2 part answer for you. During a 5k run you want to be at as constant of a pace as possible. The scientific term for this is just below lactic acid threshold. Basically, you want to run as fast as you can before your legs significantly increase in the feeling of burning.

The other part of my answer concerns training. The best way to increase your lactic acid threshold is to perform interval training. A great example of a workout would be to run as fast as you can for 1 min and then jog for 3 mins. Repeat this 3-8 times. If you perform workouts such as this 2-4 times a week and steady pace jogging the other days you should be able to decrease your race time.

(You can modify the interval training by changing the length of time you run fast and the length of time you just jog.)

Good luck and let me know if you have follow-up questions concerning this or questions about anything else concerning running!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I do vary my runs during each week. I do 3 3mile runs and a 6.5 mile run. Of the 3 milers I try to do a hilly course, and an interval run on a track. The 3rd 3 miler I generally run either an easy fun run or another hilly course. There are nothing but hills on the streets where I live in NJ. I am 51 years old so I don't want to over train and then have to shut it down so I will make changes slowly.

Thanks again.

ANSWER: Sounds like you're doing a great job Len. The bottom line is that 2-4 times a week you have workouts where you are huffing and puffing hard 2-4 times in that workout.

Don't hesitate to follow-up with questions in the future!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I took your suggestion and ran a hard 5.6 miles on Saturday on a street course with hills and a 3 mile interval run on the local track Sunday. Both runs felt fast but according to Garmin were relatively slow for what I have run recently. Really felt counter intuitive. I guess my recovery from the sprint sections needs work. I do seem to run much better times with a more constant pace than when I sprint in sections.

Answer
I'm glad you can see the benefit of running at a constant pace if the goal is a fast time for that specific run. Interval training is meant to increase the speed of your constant pace races/workouts. Even try performing 2-4 50-100m sprints 1-2 times a month.  

Jogging & Running

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Nick Rainey

Expertise

I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.

Experience

I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

Organizations
American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

Publications
The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Education/Credentials
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.