2016 5k Season: Training Cycle

For my 5k training, I will be basing my training plan on the article “Solving the 5k Puzzle.” I formulated a plan based on the advice of this article in 2015 and it helped me take my 5k PR from 22:13 to 21:02.7. Here’s hoping it will bring me another new PR in 2016.

I am dividing my spring season into two portions: a training cycle and a racing cycle. Training officially starts on February 1st. I will train for 11 weeks before I begin the race cycle of my spring season. I am hoping to race four or five 5ks during the following 10 week race cycle. My weekly plan is as follows:

Downhill from Here Run Club: the run features a long hill climb (about 1 mile long) halfway through the run . The pace should be in my easy range, but sometimes I end up running faster than anticipated. I used to run with this group all the time in 2014, but hardly went at all in 2015. I just found out my favorite running partner/neighbor is moving, so I really want to make an effort to get to this group more often. 

OrangeTheory Fitness: I was hoping to try OTF sometime in January but have run out of time. I don’t particularly like treadmill running, but I am hoping that combining running with the dreaded strength training will make strength training not quite the chore. If I don’t enjoy the class, I will sub in a medium distance run and forget all about strength training. I am also imagining floating this day around if the weather is not conducive to running outside.

Looking at my plan I feel like there is too much easy running and not enough speed/strength work, but last year I tried to run both speed work and hill work every week and it proved to be too hard on my body. I ended up cutting the hill repeats after just a couple weeks. This year I want to see the benefits of running both both intervals and hill repeats. I will also added the opportunity to run faster during OrangeTheory and with fast finish long runs.

Two new things that I am trying this season are running 6 days per week and having back-to-back medium effort days. Both of these things make me a bit nervous, but it seems like I am at a level where this change should be manageable. Although I will be running more days/week, I will be running fewer miles/week than I was during marathon training so it shouldn’t be an issue. Since my long run will only be 10-12 miles, it really isn’t the hard effort of a marathon training long run. Last fall a 10-12 mile run was just another Wednesday for me. So hopefully going into the long run slightly fatigued will not be an issue.

I won’t be hammering out the details of my weekly runs during the race cycle until I see how I adapt to this training load. Once I am able to compare the results of my first 2016 race with the results of last year’s 5k times I will have a better idea of what I need to focus on (unless I manage to PR that first race!).


7 thoughts on “2016 5k Season: Training Cycle

  1. So exciting! I can't wait to follow your training again! It sounds like you are really in your element with 5Ks and I'm sure you're very eager to get back into things.

    Well, you know me, I will always say there is no such thing as too much easy running (as long as you're still doing hard workouts too!). That said, I'm not knowledgeable about shorter distance training, but my suggestion would be if you're really feeling the itch to do more, maybe sneak some speed into some of your easier or long runs, like with your easy/strides day, and maybe do your long runs with some short sections at threshold effort, etc. That way you're still getting some hard work in without tiring your body out too much.


  2. Very good idea to add some short threshold running to long runs. Thanks!

    My 5k PR suggests I should do tempo runs at 7:02-7:18 which sounds just WAY too fast, so hopefully by starting with just 10 minutes or so at tempo pace I'll be able to handle it and slowly start adding a few minutes here and there as my body adapts.


  3. I'm no expert (my 5k PR is 23:48 and any speed I've built up has been more by accident than by design) but this sounds like a good plan to me! I'm also trying to embrace the idea of running slower than I might want to and not trying to cram too many hard workouts into a week. Looking forward to following along with your progress! 🙂


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