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How I'm using intervals to hit my target of a sub 20 minute 5k run.

So I currently have a PB for my 5k run of 21:39. I'm using intervals to help increase my speed in order to hopefully hit my target of a sub 20 minute 5k.

The reasons using intervals are great for improving your pace are because the biggest barrier to a faster 5K or 10K comes from the waste products that build up in your muscles when you pick up your running pace. Intervals at these race paces train your body to process these substances while also increasing the rate at which oxygen travels to your muscles, allowing you to run faster for longer. You get an opportunity to practice the pain, mental stress and fatigue that come with running at that pace.

Below are my 2 current favourite intervals sessions I am doing during the week.

Interval session 1:

  • Start with a decent 15-minute dynamic warm-up.

  • Run at interval pace—roughly 85 to 95 percent of max speed—for one minute.

  • Jog for a 2-minute recovery break.

  • Repeat the on and off pattern four to six times.

  • Jog for five minutes to cool down, then stretch.

Interval session 2:

Using a treadmill

  • Start with a 5-minute jog at a moderate pace to warm up.

  • At the 5-minute mark, pick a high-intensity speed of 9 mph (or faster) then stick to it for one minute. (Keep in mind that it will take, on average, 10 to 15 seconds for the treadmill to work up to the chosen speed.)

  • Recover and rest for one minute.

  • Repeat Step 2 but add a 4.0 incline to mimic outdoor running conditions.

  • Then walk or jog for one minute to recover.

  • Repeat Step 4 for five or six rounds for a total of 15 minutes, including the high-intensity bursts and recovery.

  • Finish the workout with a 5-minute cool-down.

Help and Advice

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