Workout of the Day
2K, 1200m, 1 Mile, 1K
Splits: 6:13, 3:39, 4:53, 2:57
Recovery: 400m jog between reps
Jackie Areson — April 11th, 2013
Context & Details
If I've run 4 x1mile at (-blank-) pace, what can I run in the 5k?
These are the kinds of questions that runners love to ask.
They take a one off workout and ask their friends, coaches, or anonymous posters of letsrun.com what they can race. The assumption is that for each time on the track (i.e. a 15 minute 5k), there is some standard workout that you must hit in order to race that fast.
I've been fortunate to coach four women who have run in the 15:20's or faster for 5k. And each one of them got there a different way. If we were to compare their best mile repeats or tempo workout, it would be all over the place. Some could only run 4 miles at 5:30 pace while others would push 12+ mile tempo runs at the same pace.
In seeing these athlete’s development, it's a welcome reminder that we are all individuals.
This workout was one of Jackie's best specific 5k workouts of her life. She ran 5,800 meters worth of work at 4:55 mile pace with 400 meter jogs in between. Later that summer, she would race 5k at 4:53 pace.
Compared to other 5k runners, both men and women, who have been in that kind of fitness, the above-mentioned workout wouldn't be that difficult. They would need to do more volume, or most of it at a faster pace, to reach low 15's for 5k. Yet, with Jackie, she needed to undertrain in order to perform on race day. If she was in it, she'd raise her performance level to the race. She never threw down incredibly impressive workouts and didn't need to. If she pressed too far in practice, she'd break down.
For her, this repeat session was phenomenal. For another runner, it would be humdrum. That's why it's important to resist the temptation to compare yourself to other runners. We are all individuals and need different workouts to reach our goal.
We all have different set points. That's why it is incredibly important to find the "norm" for the runner standing in front of you, not some mythical standard that we've all agreed upon.