Running speed intervals on the road is a great way to prepare for road races or get in speedwork if you don’t have access to a track. Running fast on the road is a great “race” simulator because it prepares your body to run race pace on changing terrain: you get used to the challenge of running fast up hill and using the downhills to your advantage.
Here are three speed intervals that will help build speed for your next 5K. Incorporate one of these workouts each week in the months leading up to your 5K race.
1 on 1 off
After a mile warm up, run one minute hard (your pace should be an 8 effort on a scale of 1-10), follow that with one minute of easy running. Repeat this 1 on, 1 off for 10-20 minutes depending on how familiar you are with interval work. If you haven’t done any intervals in a while, or if you are new to running intervals 10 minutes is a great place to start. If you’ve been running intervals for a while, shoot for 20-25 minutes or about 3 miles of 1 on, 1 off. End with a mile cool down.
5K Goal Pace
After a mile warm up, run 7 minutes at your 5K goal race pace. Follow this with three minutes of easy running. Repeat these goal pace sets and recovery two to three times. Running at goal pace will help familiarize you with how you’ll feel on race day and help you hone your pacing skills. Cool down with a mile jog.
Cut Down Run or Progression Run
Start with a mile warm up then run three miles getting progressively faster. Your first mile should be about 45-50 seconds slower than your goal 5K pace. Run the next mile about 30 seconds slower than your goal 5K pace. For the final mile run 5K goal pace. Cool down with a mile jog.
Sarah is a certified running coach with the RRCA and USATF and coaches clients of all ages and abilities to help them reach their running goals. You can learn more about their coaching services HERE.
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