Training for 5000m

First, running the 5000m is a combination of

  1. Endurance: VO2 max and anaerobic threshold
    1. The Cardiovascular System, specifically the body’s ability to transport oxygen
    2. The Running muscles’ ability to use oxygen
    3. The Lactate threshold – the ability to cope with, and minimize, lactic acid in the blood
    4. The V̇O2max – the maximum oxygen uptake capacity
  2. Excellent economical running technique – the efficiency of the runner’s movements
  3. Anaerobic capacity and speed, for example leg turnover and muscle power

(Check the Haile video above in Helsinki, Finland)

Secondly, it requires over 65% of slow-twitch red muscle cells for the aerobic-anaerobic energy production, so it is not for everyone.

My beliefs and experience

Come from the study and experiments of training and influence of coaches as Bowerman/Dellinger and “the Oregon System”; Frank Horwill of the British Milers’ Club, Jack Daniels, PhD, Cortland State and later Flagstaff, Arizona, the author of Running Formula; Leevi Seppänen, milers’ master coach from Savonlinna and Timo Vuorimaa, PhD, former National Coach of Finland & director of coaching center of Vierumaki Sports Institute and of course ol’ buddy Mike Kosgei, Kenyan Cross Country head coach since 1986, the glory years of Kenyans.

The mixture of training methods of coaches mentioned above are often called the Multi Pace or Five Tier training. It means is that you keep in touch with all training intensities & racing speeds and paces year around. This doesn’t mean you do speed workouts during the base building. It just means you should at least touch on speed during the base building (easy pace, marathon pace, threshold pace, VO2 max pace, anaerobic  speedwork pace for 1500m, 800m and 400m + full sprinting).

Some thoughts of training

  1. 10 000m training does not differ much from basic 5000m training (it depends more on the characteristics of athlete’s muscle fibers / ST %)
  2. Be careful following anything you read too closely
  3. Remember periodization
    • 6-8 week periods for European seasons
      1. Base Building
      2. Marathon-Pace + Threshold Training (repeat 2000m’s) + sprints
      3. Marathon-Pace + Interval (400m’s) + Repetition Training (repeat 1000m’s) + touch of 800-1500m speeds on hills + sprints
      4. Threshold Training + touch of 800-1500m speeds on hills + sprints
      5. Repetition Training (repeat 1200m’s) + Interval (400m’s) + sprints
    1. For NCAA seasons
      1. Base Building + touch of 800-1500m speeds on hills + sprints
      2. Marathon-Pace + Cross Country season (‘Racing to get fit’) + touch of 800-1500m speeds on hills + sprints
      3. Marathon-Pace + Threshold Training (repeat 2000m’s) + touch of 800-1500m speeds on hills + sprints
      4. Marathon-Pace + Indoor season, race 1500-3000m + sprints
      5. Threshold Training + Interval (400m’s) + sprints
      6. Outdoor season, early season 1500m, target for 5000m
  • 1 hard day followed by 2 easy days – medium day, hard day, very easy day, easy day
  • Anaerobic threshold improvement is the key
  • “Don’t run as hard as you can, run as fast as you can without straining.” (Daniels) = “Nicht maximal, aber optimal”
  • Intervals, repetitions, fartlek, tempo runs, circuit training, hill running
  • Lydiard says more than once that 160km / week is sufficient. If you can run more than 160km / week, don’t; just run your 160km / week faster. (Maybe 160-200km is optimal)

Training intensities (modified from Jack Daniels)

  • 50-70% HRmax, PK, easy long runs and for recovery, ~70-80% of the training km
  • 80-90% HRmax, VK, between aerobic and anaerobic thresholds: 45min – 1h20′ at “the marathon pace”
  • 88-92% HRmax, Anaerobic Threshold pace (AnT), “½ marathon pace” (10km pace for beginners) or long slow repeats
    • 30′ AnT, Heart Rate Control, “comfortably hard”
    • 3 x 10′ AnT / 2′ jog
    • 5 x 6 ‘ comfortably hard / 6′ medium speed
    • 4-7 x 2000m / 90″-2′ jog
  • 100-95% HRmax , MK+, 3000m-5000m speed: 2-3-4′ high speed repeats, progress thru the training phases:
    • 6×2′ => 4×3′ => 3×4′
    • 5 x 800m/200m + 300m/300m
  • 110% VO2 max, high speed intervals, speed endurance, 1500m pace
    • Intervals: 10x300m => 6x400m => 3x600m => 2x800m
  • 130% VO2max, speed endurance, 800m pace
    • in tervals: 10x200m
  • Anaerobic, 400m max speed
  • Speed workouts, sub 10″ sprints: 10×60m

‘ = minute |  ” = second

Heart rate guided training for Marathon Pace and Anaerobic Threshold Pace training. Use HR monitor to control the right intensity, it’s the key for improvement

Easy / Long  Slow Distance pace

At 55-70% of maximum heart rate (HRmax), this non-straining intensity is used for recovery runs, warm-up, cool-down and long runs. The primary purpose is to increasing the muscles’ ability to use oxygen and to recover between hard workouts. 70-80% of the training km are performed in Easy pace. Typical runs include continuous runs up to about an hour and long slow distance runs up to 2 – 2½ hours.

Marathon pace, 80-90% HRmax

At 80-90% HRmax, this intensity is aimed to increase the muscles’ ability to use oxygen and reise the aerobic threshold performance level. Marathon pace runs are performed as continuous runs up to 1 – 1½ hours, or as long interval training. Very important to remember to Heart Rate Control, so before you are able to do it, you must test your thresholds on treadmill lab tests.

Anaerobic Threshold pace (AnT), 88-92% HRmax

At 88-92% HRmax, this intensity is aimed to raise the lactate threshold. The runner should be able to sustain this pace for up to 60 minutes during racing. Daniels describes this intensity as “comfortably hard”. In elite runners, the pace matches the half marathon pace, while less trained runners will run at around 10k pace. The AnT pace is considered the pace to produce the most benefits of the training.

AnT runs are typically performed as continuous “tempo” runs for 20 minutes or more, or as “cruise” interval training with 3 to 10 of 3 to 15 minutes long work bouts, having 20%-25% rest intervals in between. No more than 10% of the weekly km should be run in AnT pace.

Repetition pace, 3000-5000m pace, 95-100% VO2 max

Intensity at 98-100 % HRmax. This intensity stresses the VO2max to raise the maximum oxygen uptake capacity. It can only be sustained for up to 12 minutes during racing. The interval between each work bout should be a little less than the time of the work bout.

For example, a session can be 6 x 800 m with intervals as long as the time a 400 m recovery jog takes. At most 8% of the weekly training km.

Interval pace, 800-1500m, 110-130% VO2 max

High speed intervals, speed endurance, 800-1500m pace. Very fast training aimed to improve speed and running economy. The training is performed as short interval training, with typically 200 m work bouts, with full recovery intervals in between. No more than 5% of the weekly km.

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3 thoughts on “Training for 5000m

  1. I have gotten questions about 5000m/10 000m training. Here are some thoughts:

    5000m and 10 000m training – differences?
    1) When I ran 13.46 in 5000m (7.56 in 3000m), I ran 29.03 in 10 000m, (at the same time 3.45 in 1500m and 1.52 in 800m). As you notice I did work all paces in training. It enhances the 10 000m to be fast in the 5000m. The training is normally quite identical, but it can vary based on the athlete’s DNA ~ the ST muscle cell %:tage.

    The meaning of morning runs? … and training twice a day vs. daily single workouts?
    2) Based on my experience among different runners (including myself) the performance level progressed every time after starting to run twice a day. You should do slow early morning runs together with friends as everyone else does them. Running twice a day is the first step up. Morning runs should be included to the training at very early stage.

    Is there any wisdom in adhering to the “20% of weekly mileage in your long run” rule?
    3) Yes and No.
    Yes, for a beginner runner, it’s a way to describe the long run.
    No, for a competitive runner. It’s more of a question of energy production, using fat cells for energy production, that’s why you got to go extremely slow. Just do not run (often) over ~2h, because it takes a few more days to recover from it. Long slow should “enhance recovery”, not to slow it. (It’s all about recovering from the previous workout.)

    Hill training?
    4) Based on my experience among different runners (including myself) the high speed hill workouts (1-2 min repeats) should be included the training through out the year. The training should be done in gradual hills that the speed can be very high. BUT hill training interferes with technique and economy, do not run them for 3 weeks before you want to be in peak condition.

  2. Holistically
    If you do want to improve your running and performance, you need to look at the training holistically. Often all the focus is on the physical training. Everything counts. Training 2-3h a day is one thing, but what you do the rest of the 21hrs is “more important”. Every athlete needs to prioritize the daily schedule, especially in a college setting at the college age. (Be an athlete first, after that physical training will be easy. As Mike Kosgei always used say when in Tanhuvaara, “It’s the Attitude, Not the Altitude”, when asked, what’s the secret of the great Kenyans.)

    As I mentioned to Dan, add up the total km/mileage of Daniel’s “marathon” and “AnT training pace” a year. I do NOT know, but I’m making a wild guess, that the total amount could be higher. The best male runners in the world, from Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, … run 1000km at that performance level a year. These paces play a very important part of the training, but again everything counts. (As bringing up the Ant+Martahon pace, I’m guessing that you have done and do the needed other important paces.)

  3. Just another 10 day preparatory cycle example @ JT:

    Day 1 6×2’ fast hill repeats/ slow jog down
    Day 2 long slow, 25km
    Day 3 low speed
    Day 4 6x200m/medium speed/30” jog
    Day 5 4-5×7’/AnT, ”comfortably fast”/90” jog
    Day 6 weights/or plyometrics + 10x60m/70m slow jog
    Day 7 low speed
    Day 8 low speed
    Day 9 15-20km ”marathon speed”, medium speed
    Day 10 low speed

    repeat 10 day cycle

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