5K Interval Training Workouts

 

By Rick Morris

 

Interval training is one the most efficient ways to improve your running and race performance. Interval training is a very simple training method in which your goal race distance is broken down into shorter repeats separated by recovery intervals. See interval training 101 for more information.

 

In order to maximize your performance returns from interval training you should engage in interval training that’s specifically designed for your goal distance. There are an almost unlimited number of possible interval workouts you could design – here are a few highly effective and proven 5K interval training workouts to get you started.

 

These 5K interval training sessions will be easier to monitor and more effective if you do them on a 400 meter track, but if you have an accurate way to measure distance you can also do these on the road or trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500 Meter Repeats

 

A classic interval training workout is 400 meter repeats. This is an adaptation of that interval session that is more specifically designed for the 5K distance.

 

Description: 10 x 500 Meter Repeats

 

Pace: 5K race pace

 

Recovery: 2 minutes of passive recovery (complete rest) between each repeat

 

 

1000 Meter Repeats

 

This 5K interval workout is an adaptation of the more popular 800 meter workouts that is a specific 5K interval training session. This is a more advanced version of the 500 meter repeats.

 

Description: 5 x 1000 Meter Repeats

 

Pace: 5K race pace

 

Recovery: 2 minutes of passive recovery between each repeat

 

 

1600 Meter Repeats

 

Your 5K interval training should be progressive in nature. A good starting point is the 500 meter repeats. You could then progress to the 1000 meter repeats and finally to these 1600 meter repeats.

 

Description: 3 x 1600 meter repeats

 

Pace: 5K race pace

 

Recovery: 2 minutes of passive recovery between each repeat

 

400/100 Meter Compound Sets

 

Compound sets are more advanced workouts that are made up of two different distances and/or paces that you perform with no recovery. You would take some recovery between each set, but no recovery between the components of each set. Compound sets are very good race specific interval training workouts. This first compound set is a more advanced version of the 500 meter repeats that adds in a fast finish. This 5K interval training session is great for building a finishing kick.

 

Description: 10 x 400/100 meter compound sets. Run 400 meters at 5K race pace then speed up to sprint pace with no recovery between the set components

 

Pace: 400 meters at 5K race pace, 100 meters at sprint pace

 

Recovery: No recovery between the 400 meter and 100 meter components. 2 minutes of passive recovery between each compound set

 

 

400/800/400 Compound Set

 

Compound sets can have any number of components. More advanced compound sets will typically have more components and will be more specifically designed for your goal race and your strengths/weaknesses.

 

Description: 3 x 200/600/800 meter compound sets. Run 200 meters at sprint pace, 600 meters at 5K race pace and 800 meters at 10K race pace or about 15 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace.

 

Pace: 200 meters at sprint pace, 600 meters at 5K pace and 800 meters at 10K pace

 

Recovery: No recovery between the 200, 600 and 800 meter components of each set. Recover with 4 minutes of passive recovery between each set.

 

200/400/800/200 Compound Set

 

This is a four component compound set that includes a fast finish to develop a finishing kick.

 

Description: Run 3 x 200/400/800/200 compound sets. Run 200 meters at sprint pace, 400 meters at 5K pace, 800 meters at 10K pace and 200 meters at sprint pace.

 

Pace: 200 meters at sprint pace, 400 meters at 5K pace and 800 meters at 10K pace.

 

Recovery: No recovery between the components of each set. Recovery with 4 minutes of passive rest between each compound set.

 

 

200/1200/200 Compound Set

 

This is an advanced and intense 5K interval workout that is very specific to the 5K race distance and does a great job of simulation actual 5K race conditions.

 

Description: Run 3 x 200/1200/200 compound sets. Run 200 meters at sprint pace, 1200 meters at 5K pace and then another 200 meters at sprint pace.

 

Pace: 200 meters at sprint pace and 1200 meters at 5K pace

 

Recovery: No recovery between the components of each compound set. Recover with 4 minutes of passive rest between each set.

 

200 Meter Repeats

 

This is an over speed 5K interval training workout that does a good job of improving your running economy, your vVO2 max and your neuromuscular conditioning.

 

Description: 20 x 200 meter repeats

 

Pace: 1 mile race pace or very close to maximal speed.

 

Recovery: Recover with 1 minute of passive rest between each repeat.

 

 

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