When you first take up running, everything is geared towards that first 5K. At first, you struggle to make it through 5 minutes, but soon enough the day comes around that you can run for a full 30 minutes without stopping. Now you know you have the mental and physical stamina to finish a 5K; you know you can set a goal and accomplish it. You can push through your doubts and even a bit of pain to finish a race. You have learned that training is important and you have got to know your body and know you are capable of pushing it. It’s this knowledge that will be the driving force to running something a little longer.
The Irish Runner 5 miler is a fun and rewarding distance to train for. Training for it won’t take over your life and you’ll very quickly see huge improvements in your fitness during the process. As you transition from 5K to 5 miles you’ll apply the knowledge and skills you have learned to the longer distance. You build on what you have learned along the way.
The 8-Week Plan
I suggest that you take 8 weeks to move from 5K to 5 miles. It takes a little bit of time to build up the distance, so don’t expect too much too soon. To start off you look at the total number of miles you are running per week and you will increase that by not more than 10% For the average runner, build up your running to at least 3 to 4 miles at a time, three to four days a week. Ensure that you factor in rest time in between these days to allow your muscles time to repair and recover. Gradually increase the distance of your longest run by one mile each week until you reach 8 to 10 miles. This run works on growing your endurance base and should be done at a slow pace.
Add one interval or threshold session to your schedule. If you are looking to improve your fitness or your personal best, I believe introducing threshold sessions into your training is a fantastic way of building up your endurance, while preparing the body to run faster for longer.
The Threshold Run is a key staple in the training diet but not everyone knows what it is and people shy away from them because they are challenging. This run should be comfortably hard, at 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than your current 5k pace. Another good guide is 8 out of 10 intensity rate. A comfortable effort would be 5, racing would be close to 10. For those of using heart rate monitors the tempo run is done at 85 to 90% of maximum heart rate. You should be running at the edge of discomfort and not be able to talk during this run.
If you are training for a 5 mile race I would advise that you build up to a 30-minute threshold. Some people find it difficult to do this at the start, so you could break it down as follows. Do a 10-minute easy jog before and after each session with two minutes recovery between each rep. Maintaining a specific planned and constant pace is the most important aspect of a tempo run. As you get fitter you will be able to do 20 to 30 minutes of continuous running at threshold pace. The week of the race, cut your mileage by about 50% and skip the tempo run. Numerous factors come into play when planning your race strategy. It’s all about setting the right pace to get you to the finish line in your fastest time with little energy left.
We are all guilty of starting off too fast for the first mile or two of a race. The longer the distance the more energy conservation and muscle recovery come into play. If you go off too fast you will pay for it in the end. So hold yourself back, in the first half and you will make it up when it counts later in the race. Settle into your desired goal pace. Approaching the middle of the race you should still be running within your capabilities. Start gradually picking up your tempo. Running in a group can help tremendously and motivating each other reduces the effort. By the last mile or mile and a half no matter how well you have paced yourself you will be feeling tired and uncomfortable at this stage. Concentrate on relaxing and holding your form. Focus on maintaining your pace and catching people in front of you. You need to dig deep at this stage and remind yourself of all the training you have done. In the eight-week build up to the Irish Runner 5 Mile, remind yourself where you came from, what you have already accomplished and visualise what you want to achieve. See yourself crossing the finish line of 5 miles of great effort, this will keep you moving towards your goal.
Week 1 – 5 X 3 Minutes
Week 2 – 4 X 5 Minutes
Week 3 – 5 X 5 Minutes
Week 4 – 5 X 5 Minutes
Week 5 – 4 X 6 Minutes
Week 6 – 3 X 10 Minutes
Week 7 – 2 X 10 Minutes
Week 8 – Rest
To enter this year’s Irish Runner 5 Mile, Click HERE
By Catherina McKiernan