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2 MILE-3200 METERS
5K VO2 Max and Speed Workouts
By Rick Morris
Your VO2 max is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use to produce energy. See VO2 max for more information. Increasing your VO2 max is relatively easy for new runners or runners at a lower training level. Long distance running, even at slow and easy running paces, will advance VO2 max in low to moderately trained runners. But once you reach a higher level of fitness those moderate paced runs will no longer increase or even maintain your VO2 max levels. At that point you need high intensity speed workout to improve both your VO2 max and more importantly your vVO2 max. Speed workouts also improve your neuromuscular conditioning, lactate turn point and running economy.
Any high intensity running will help with your speed and VO2 max, but here are some VO2 max workouts, vVO2 max training sessions and speed workouts that are designed specifically for the 5K race distance.
3 x 1 Mile VO2 max Blasters
This is a track workout that is a great training session for improving your vVO2 max, running economy and lactate turn point. You could do this VO2 max/speed session on the road, but the track will give you a more accurate measure of your distance.
Description: Run 1600 meters alternating between 200 meters at about mile pace and 200 meters at 5K pace. Take no recovery during the 1600 meter run. Repeat that set two more times for a total of three 1600 meter runs. Recover between each 1600 meter run with 2 minutes of passive rest.
Pace: Alternating between 200 meters at mile pace and 200 meters at 5K pace.
Recovery: No recovery during each 1600 meter run. Recover between each 1600 meter set with 2 minutes of passive rest.
3 Sets of 4 x 300/100 Meter Compound Sets
This one is an adaptation of the classic 400 meter repeats.
Description: Run 4 x 400 meter repeats. Run the first 300 meters at mile pace and the final 100 meters at all out sprint pace. Take no recovery between the 300 meter and 100 meter components of the compound sets. Recover with 1 minute of passive rest between the 4 compound sets. Repeat that sequence of 4 x 400 meter repeats three times with 5 minutes of passive rest between each of the 4 x 400 meter sets.
Pace: 300 meters at mile pace and 100 meters at sprint pace.
Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. 1 minute of recovery between each 400 meter repeat. Recover with 5 minutes of passive rest between each 4 x 400 meter set.
10 x 300 Meter Repeats
This is a high intensity workout that’s you can use to train for the mile or 5K distances.
Description: Run 10 x 300 meter repeats at 800 meter pace. Recover by jogging the final 100 meters to the starting line at a very easy pace.
Pace: 800 meter race pace
Recovery: 100 meters of very easy jogging
3 x 1200/400/100 Compound Sets
This is a 5K race simulation VO2 max workout that is an excellent peaking session.
Description: After a warm up, start with 1200 meters at 5K pace. Then speed up to vVO2 max pace or about 3K pace for 400 meters and finish this compound set with 100 meters at sprint pace. Take no recovery between the components of each compound set. Recover with 3 minutes of passive rest between each of the three compound sets.
Pace: 1200 meters at 5K pace, 400 meters at vVO2 max pace and 100 meters at sprint pace.
Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. Recover with 3 minutes of passive rest between each compound set.
vVO2 Max Fartlek Run
Track workouts can be fun, but it’s always nice to hit the trail for a fast run. Here is a vVO2 max workout that you can do on the trail or road.
Description: Run for 24 minutes alternating between 2 minutes at vVO2 max pace and 1 minute at an easy pace. That’s eight 2 minute repeats with 1 minute recovery jogs.
Pace: vVO2 max pace or about 3K pace
Recovery: 1 minute of easy running between each 2 minute repeat
5K Change of Pace
You will rarely run a 5K race at a completely even pace. You will almost always need to throw in surges to pass competitors or keep up with a surge by the lead group. This VO2 max workout will prepare you for surging when you are already running at an intense pace.
Description: Run 3 x 1600 meter repeats using the following sequence. 600 meters at 5K pace, 200 meters at mile pace, 400 meters at 5K pace, 300 meters at mile pace and the final 100 meters at sprint pace. Take no recovery between the components of each 1600 meter repeat. Recovery with 3 minutes of passive rests between each 1600 meter repeat.
Pace: 600 meters at 5K pace, 200 meters at mile pace, 400 meters at 5K pace, 300 meters at mile pace and 100 meters at sprint pace.
Recovery: No recovery within each mile repeat. Recover between each repeat with 3 minutes of passive rest.
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