THE CLINIC: Training Tips for the Occasional 5K
Thu, 13 Sept. 2012 - 1:40 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association
I am a 58-year-old runner who is cross training more in order to save the joints. I have had heel, knee, and hip problems in the past but still love to run. I recently installed an indoor exercise pool in my house and want to include swimming in my training to go along with my biking and incline-walking. I do each once a week and my question is, what is the best workout for my one day of running? Should I go for a certain time or distance, or do intervals, or a combination of both? I train for fitness but like to do an occasional 5K.
If you are only going to run one day a week, I would make it a 3- to 4-mile run that breaks down like this:
1 to 2 miles of intervals that would include 4 or 5 x 30-second intervals at 80 to 85% effort with 1-minute recovery jogs;
This would keep you trained for a 5K. If you are going to race a 5K, I would allow yourself at least two days of running for 4 to 5 weeks prior to the race. The second day would be a tempo run of 3 to 4 miles. If your knee pain persists, I would recommend seeing a sports medicine specialist to check for muscle imbalance, improper shoe
selection, or incorrect biomechanics that address foot strike and gait.
I suggest the following:
1. Reduce your grade on the treadmill workouts to 1% and consider
increasing your speed to 4 or more, based on how you feel that day. Too high of a grade will hurt your knees and other joints.
2. In winter, do several treadmill workouts per week with the above
specifications. In summer, run 2 to 5 miles at a reasonable pace twice a
week. Every second or third week, substitute one of your runs for an interval workout. Keep it simple, such as 400-meter repeats with a 2- or 3-minute rest between each interval.
3. Keep track of your shoe mileage and change them out after 300 or so miles.
4. Finally, take a complete of days off from all cardio workouts from time to time. Your
body and your mind need the rest. Use strength workouts within reason.
Tom Woltz, Sr., MA, EP
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(RUNNING & FITNEWS® September / October 2009 • Volume 27, Number 5)