When I began training for the 5k I thought it would be pretty simple. I knew my mileage would be reduced, my workouts would be shorter, and long runs wouldn’t be as long. Pretty simple right? In many ways it is. However; there are some surprises that I’ve encountered when switching up my training.

5k Training

Before we get into that, why exactly is a marathon runner training and racing 5k’s instead?

There are several reasons for that but to make it short and sweet (see what I did there?): I want to get faster, I want to challenge my body in a different way, I want to give my body a break from the marathon grind, and I want to have more time to focus on strength.

Marathon training is fun to me but it is very time consuming. I neglected a lot of my strength during my last marathon cycle because I didn’t feel like I had time. Looking back it was probably more of an excuse than anything, but when my mileage is decreased even by 10-15 miles a week it makes a big difference in the time that opens up.

Our bodies can’t sustain the same kind of training day in and day out, and I have found over the years that different “seasons” of training really help my body perform better and stay healthy!

 

I’ve now been full on this training for 5 weeks. I’ve had ups and downs already (hello sick baby and sick mama TWICE), but I’m still chugging along and so thank for a great coach who is helping me navigate these new waters.

Side note: go check out RunDoyen and my amazing coach Tara Welling! RunDoyen connects you directly with professional runners for either just a one-on-one chat or a training plan!

5k training seems pretty simple right? It is but it isn’t all I had imaged it would be entirely!

 

The workouts are shorter but FAST!

Makes sense doesn’t it? Of course I knew that my workouts would be shorter than marathon training but I figured in some way that wouldn’t make them as difficult. I mean doesn’t a 4 mile tempo seem a lot better than a 9 mile tempo?

The tempos are faster, then speed workouts are SUPER FAST, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that sometimes these workouts are harder for me than marathon workouts.

 

I need more recovery.

During marathon training I was able to run my workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes have one worked into my long run on Saturday as well. Even though the workouts were long my body was fine with one day recovery in between.

This time around Tara warned me that my body might need more recovery but I didn’t realize what she meant until I started doing them. The faster and more intense workouts did leave my body more tired and sore. I now do a Monday and Thursday workout with two days recovery in between.

 

You still have long runs in the schedule!

I guess when you think about running 3.1 miles you don’t really think about incorporating long runs into your schedule. To be honest, this made me a little sad because I always looked forward to my long runs each week.

Turns out – you still do them! I’ve been doing a lot of training based on time this go round but I average between 10-12 miles for my long runs each week. Still no where near marathon long runs but it still feels great to keep my body used to be running for a longer period of time.

 

You see improvements quickly.

I was actually pretty amazed how quickly I began to see improvements. I had a few set backs from sickness but even in just a few weeks I noticed that speeds that used to seem impossible to me now were easier. I used easier because they never come easy!

5k speed takes a different muscle system and while it’s not usually my strong suit, it has been fun to challenge something different and see the improvements in just a few short weeks! I look forward to seeing what can happen after a full cycle!

 

We all have our preferences when it comes to running. You know those workouts, types of training, or even distances that we prefer because they come easier to us, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t step out of your comfort zone every once in a while!

 

What is your favorite/least favorite distance to race and train for?

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