Recipe for a Fast 5K

From the August 2006 Walk! Magazine

 

            A while back the New York Road Runners’ Club put together a cookbook filled with the favorite recipes of elite athletes. I contributed some bizarre, top-of-my-head ground-turkey burrito concoction. Writing the recipe was a tough assignment because I never measure anything in the kitchen. A little of this, a bit of that; sometimes more, sometimes less, depending upon how I feel on that particular day.  But one thing is for certain: without a bunch of ground turkey and tortillas, you’re not going to get very far. (Of course you may think I’m still talking about the burritos here, but I’m one of the many coaches who firmly believe you’ll never be a good 5k racewalker without lots of ground turkey and tortillas, but that’s another story for another article.)

 

As goes for ground-turkey burrito recipes, so too for racewalk training. For a training plan to be successful, all the important ingredients need to be there.  Sometimes you need more endurance, sometimes more speed; sometimes more economy workouts, sometimes more tempo workouts or rest. Leave out or substitute one minor ingredient and you’ll still have a pretty good burrito: Just as there’s no perfect turkey burrito recipe, there’s no one perfect recipe for a fast 5k (or 10k or ½ marathon…)  But the major elements need to be in place: be it turkey and tortillas, or tempos and track intervals.

 

The following is my recipe for a fast 5k. The key to success in the kitchen and on the track is the same: be creative. Find what mix works best for you. Adjust the workouts and rest, throw in a dash of technique work, stretching and strengthening, and with any luck you’ll be cooking on the track or roads in no time.


Ingredients:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

 

In a seven-day week combine one long, slow day with one short-interval day and one tempo day. Mix liberally with recovery days/workouts. Beginners may take two to four days off per week, intermediates will take off one to two days per week, and more advanced walkers will take zero or one day off per week and may do double workouts (i.e., walk twice per day) several days per week. Work load for all walkers should be cut back by one third to one half of usual weekly mileage in the week leading up to a 5k race. Intensity should remain the same, but at a reduced volume (do fewer intervals and less total weekly mileage, but at the same paces as always.)

 

Just as no two burritos are alike, no two walkers will follow the same schedule. Beginner, intermediate and advanced schedules may look like the following:

 

Typical beginner’s 5k training schedule

Monday          Off

Tuesday         Easy 3 miles

Wednesday   8 x 400 meters fast with 2:00-minute easy walking recoveries

Thursday        Off

Friday             3 miles “not so easy” (tempo) workout

Saturday         Off

Sunday           Easy 6 miles

Typical intermediate 5k training schedule

Monday          Off

Tuesday         6 x 800 meters or 5 x 1 kilometer at up to 10 seconds faster than 5k race pace with 2:00-minute easy walking recoveries

Wednesday   Easy 4 miles

Thursday        3 miles “not so easy” (tempo) workout

Friday             Easy 4 miles

Saturday         8 x 400 meters from 5k pace down to 6-8 seconds per 400m faster than 5k pace

Sunday           Easy 8-10 miles

 

 

Typical advanced 5k training schedule

Monday          Morning:         Easy 3-5 miles racewalk or cross-train

                        Afternoon:      Easy 3-5 miles

Tuesday         Morning:         Easy 3-5 miles

Afternoon:      6 x 800 meters or 5 x 1 kilometer at up to 10 seconds faster than 5k race pace with 2:00-minute easy walking recoveries

Wednesday   Morning:         Easy 3-5 miles racewalk or cross-train

                        Afternoon:      Easy 3-5 miles

Thursday        Morning:         Easy 3-5 miles

Afternoon:      5 miles “not so easy” (tempo) workout

Friday             Morning:         Easy 3-5 miles racewalk or cross-train

Afternoon:      Easy 3-5 miles

Saturday         Morning: 8 x 400 meters from 5k pace down to 6-8 seconds per 400m faster than 5k pace.

                        Afternoon:      Easy 3 miles

Sunday           Morning:         Easy 10-12 miles with the last 3 miles faster, approaching tempo pace

Afternoon: Off

 

Ok, so that’s the whole enchilada. Put on your shoes and get cookin’!

DMcG

 


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