Improve Your 5km Personal Best – Week 1

Improve Your 5km Personal Best

Week 1

– By Zander Prinsloo


Welcome to the 5km Personal Best Challenge! With the help of our programme, you can improve on your 5km run. Weekly blog posts will describe the programme. It is important to keep to the programme because it has been worked out to alternate stress. Also, ensure that you rest optimally to improve your fitness and speed, and, ultimately, help you reach your goal.

This challenge is aimed at intermediate or advanced level runners, rather than beginners. In future we will look at doing a 5km challenge for beginner level, where we help you reach your goal of completing a 5km run. However, this challenge is aimed at those that can already run a 5km and are looking to improve their times.

There are two slightly different programmes aimed for different levels. The advanced programme is aimed at runners that can already run 8km or above without stopping. You typically already run at least 3 or 4 times a week, and are fairly confident and comfortable in completing 5km. However, it can still be easy to plateau. This programme will focus on varying the intensity of your training to help you break your current barriers and improve your times over the 5km distance. There will be a fair amount of speed work to boost your anaerobic threshold and VO2 Max, while doing a number of longer and easier runs to build the aerobic base.

The intermediate programme is aimed at runners that can already run a 5km, although this may be quite a challenge and can include brief intervals of walking in between. The goal of this programme is to get you more comfortable with running the 5km distance, which will help with running at a consistent pace throughout and improving on your current best time. We mainly aim at improving the frequency and duration of your workouts, with a smaller focus on intensity.

Now this is important. If you want to be sure of staying fit and injury free throughout your training, be sure to do a proper warm up and cool down before and after every session. This is especially vital for sessions of higher intensity, such as the interval and tempo sessions. It’s important to work hard to meet your goals, but the discipline in small things is just as important. Don’t neglect those stretches!

Keep an eye on the blog and on the instagram stories. @zan_prinsloo will be doing the advanced programme and @zahn_ekkerd will be doing the intermediate programme, so check in with us every day! (although everything will also be posted on the @lk.fitness_ page).

Tag us in your stories to keep us updated on your progress! We will be doing it with you, and we all need to share the motivation!

Let’s get running!

Monday – 5km Time Trial

Both Advanced & Intermediate programmes do the 5km TT.

Taking on a new challenge should always involve two elements. First, we take stock of where we currently are. Second, we set a measurable goal that we want to work towards and ultimately attain. Monday is day 1 of the programme, and is dedicated to these two elements.

Run a 5km time trial. Complete it as fast as you can and record how long it took you, as well as the pace (minutes per kilometre). This will serve as a benchmark pace for the next 4 weeks, and will help you measure your improvement.

Also set your 5km goal time. This programme will provide you with the platform you can use to run a 5km in this goal time! Remember to work out your goal race pace (the equivalent minutes per kilometre for your 5km goal time). We will also use this race pace in your training, make sure you keep your goals close.

Don’t forget to post your current 5km TT time as well as your goal pace on your Instagram story and tag @lk.fitness_ , @zan_prinsloo, and @zahn_ekkerd so we can be inspired by your progress!

Tuesday – Easy Run

Advanced: 25min Easy Run

Intermediate: 15min Easy Run

This run is aimed at recovering after the 5km TT from Monday, and allowing your body to be ready for the rest of the week’s training. The easy run pace is one that we will use frequently. It should be substantially slower than your 5km benchmark pace, and you should be able to sustain a conversation at this pace.

Wednesday – Speed Intervals

Advanced: 10 x 400m (90 seconds) at slightly above goal Race Pace, with 120s walk/rest in between.

Intermediate: 8 x 30s sprint, 30s jog. Slow jog for 3 minutes. Repeat once.

This is a high intensity interval session (HIIT), aimed at improving your speed and VO2 Max (a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilise during exercise). Interval training is typically more effective in bringing about VO2 Max improvements, and you should aim at running at near your max heart rate. It should get intense, so make sure you are properly warmed up!

Thursday – Easy Run/Recovery

Advanced: 25min Easy Run

Intermediate: Recovery Walk

After yesterday’s high intensity session, it is important to recover with an easier day. Fitness is built up in rest days where your body responds to the exercise from the previous day, and this process of alternating rest and stress (known as “supercompensation”) is very effective at building fitness. So resist the urge to go too hard on your easy run/walk!

Friday – Long Run

Advanced: 45min Easy Pace

Intermediate: 35min Easy Pace

This is a slightly longer run aimed at building your aerobic base. The long run should be done at a slower pace than your benchmark 5km pace.

Saturday – Race Pace

Advanced: 5 x 1km at goal Race Pace, 90s Walk Recovery

Intermediate: 4 x 1km at goal Race Pace, 120s rest

This session is to get you used to running at your goal race pace so that you are ready for race day. We will aim to build on these sessions and get them slightly longer throughout, and it should become more and more comfortable over the next 4 weeks.

Sunday – Recovery

Congratulations on completing the first week! As we said on Thursday, recovery is crucial in improving fitness. Take today easy, and do some stretching or go for a walk with your family or dog to prepare yourself for the next week’s training. Don’t forget to let us know on Facebook or Instagram (@lk.fitness_ , @zan_prinsloo, and @zahn_ekkerd) how your first week went. We did this week with you, and would love to hear how you found it!

Download the LK Fitness App to get your weekly meal plan.

You can switch between Keto/Banting, Low GI & Mediterranean. Also get your daily exercise programs for men and women.

Your first 7 days are FREE! Click here to find out more and download: LK Fitness App