Monday, July 07, 2008

How to Set 5K Race Goals?

OK, I need your help. How do you folks who run 5Ks figure out your time goals?

I know there are tools like McMillan's Running Calculator where you can plug in shorter race times to get an idea of what your longer race times might be and what your training paces should be. But for a person who has run almost exclusively long distance races, does it make sense to use such a calculator to go backwards and figure out the same things for a 5K? Or, should I plug in an even shorter race time, say, my recent 1-mile time trial performance?

Doing so gives me the following prediction and goal paces, all of which seem outrageously fast to someone who rarely runs sub-9 minute miles:

Input Distance5K PredictionPace
1-mile time trial21:396:58
10 mile PR21:156:50
1/2 marathon PR21:016:46
Full marathon PR21:206:52


Maybe it's better that I just keep chipping away at my 5K race times until I find I can go down no further?

I know it will probably take me a couple years to develop the speed and discipline it requires to run my optimal 5K race time with the marathon and triathlon training I'm doing, but I gotta say that the prospect of doing so is very exciting to me, more exciting than doing an Ironman right now (because endurance has always been my strength and being relatively new to swimming and cycling, I'm pretty sure I can do an IM in my 50s-60s and still see some improvements). Pure running speed, however, is something that I will probably begin to lose soon since I started running competitively at age 40 and am now in my 7th year. So if I'm going to try to run my fastest 5K times I think it's now or never!

21 comments:

Jim said...

I have used Jeff Galloway's "Magic Mile" formula. Here is a sample based on a 1 mile time trial. If you can run a 6:30 "Magic Mile" time trial you should be able to run a 5K in 21:51, 10K=45:59, half marathon=1:42:10, marathon=3:41:23.

I drop of significantly for my marathon time. According to Jeff I need to do more endurance/long runs.

From a "Runner's World" article, they say that you should run hard during your first mile of a 5K, do not save yourself for a kick. Since I started this, my 5K times have come down by almost 2:00 mins.

akshaye said...

Cant help here - I've done one 5k and that was before I started running!

Susan said...

I say to set a goal just under what you're "comfortable" with and train for that, and then progressively go down. But I am no expert!

Katie said...

I try to beat 35 minutes. Once I finally do that, I might try jogging the whole time. Then I'll try to beat 30 minutes. Sadly, my methods are probably not very helpful for you. :)

Brittany M. said...

I didn't think the McMillian would give me a very good prediction...but it ended up doing so for several distances. Not right on, but fairly close. I also found that my 2-mile run test (for my job) and my 5K times drastically improved as I trained for the long distances...it got to were I could truly run them, in a sense, as sprints because what is 2-3 miles when you're training for 26.2? I would just throw all myself into it that short distance. That, in turn, ended up being excellent speed work for my longer distance training. Ahh, the wonderful circle that is running training, at least for me. With what you ran that mile in, I have no doubt that with training and practice that you can hit some of those predictors.

Kevin said...

Its so hard for a 5K. You have to really push the limit to find that line between going all out and pushing too hard and bonking.

Jade Lady said...

Sorry, no advice from me - but, I'm excited that u have a new area to explore - that's always fun!

jen said...

My 5k strategy is to go out as hard as I can, try to hold the pace in the middle, and try to not throw up near the end. Throwing up at the end is ok. Not the most scientific strategy, but I think it is a common one. :P

That said, I don't doubt you could run 21:something, you are awesome.

Good luck on the Missoula Marathon! That is where I went to college (grew up in Helena, Montana) and it is a wonderful town. I hope you enjoy it! :)

Tri to Be Funny said...

Lots of short fast interval work and hills really opened my times up. I just had to allow myself to break that comfort wall of 9:00min miles. Fartlek runs and track work certainly helped.

ShirleyPerly said...

Thank you everyone for your ideas!!

I do plan to join a 5K/10K running group that's starting up next month but wanted some feedback before because there's another 5K in a couple weeks that I'm interested in doing, assuming I'm recovered enough from my marathon this weekend!

Calyx Meredith said...

I'm no help at all since the only goal I've had in a 5K is to finish :D but I love learning all this stuff vicariously to file away for when I need it. It's exciting to hear you talk about your goals and your process for getting there.

Comm's said...

From my experience for me, a good 5k time is 2 minutes per mile faster per mile than my training pace.

If my longer distance runs of 10+ miles had me at a 9:30 pace, I could look at a 7:30-7:45 pace for the 5k.

Unlike long distance running, the 5k is a MAXED out run. There is zero holding back, no warm ups, its ALL GO, NO QUIT.

Your body does need conditioning for that, your used to your HR being constant and your body is used to warming up over a couple of miles.

P.O.M. said...

Your last 5K time was terrific! good luck with you next marathon toO!

Steve Stenzel said...

I have no way of predicting. I just run. ;)

And thanks for the "boobs" comment. I think I'm nearly a B cup.

Cliff said...

Hi Shirley,

I think the 1 miler will be a good indicator as to your 5 k time than the marathon.

With 5 km, it is going hard right off the bat. For me, I would hold on to the pain for as long as I can...

PLANET3RRY said...

My approach to guessing my 5k time (even though I don't play my own Crap game) is to look at my last couple of Tempo Runs, and then take off 30-45 seconds and that is my goal time.

If have interval times especially 800m then I add around 30 seconds. My past race, my speed times were 7:00min/mile. so I was thinking that 7:35min/mile was a good target pace (23:30 5k est time)

Tammy said...

Well I'm not an experienced runner, but I burn out way to quick if put alot in my first mile. I find I end up running faster my second mile after the first 1.5 mile or so. It might mean I just need to warm up a bit more, but I read the same thing Jim said in Runners World about running hard your first mile, I found too it slowed my time down as well. But, I did find on the same sight that I thought was interesting is increasing your time by 20 secs or 30 secs (each mile) will improve your total overall time. I haven't had the chance to do that yet, but need to run a track a bit more w/a stop watch. The hills I run are are a bit much LOL. Good luck on those times, I'm looking forward to your progress. I'm going to have to start calling you Ms. Speedy Gonzalez. hee hee

peter said...

There's no such thing as never. I ran all my really fast times my first year running in my late forties. Then I slowed and did longer distances. In my mid-fifties, though, there was a year when I trained really hard (track) and I came within striking distance of those prior times, and if I had kept training (I burned out) and actually applied some science (heart rate monitor, that sort of thing) I feel I could have found those 20 or 30 seconds I needed and pushed past those earlier times. You have plenty of time!

ShirleyPerly said...

I hope you're right Peter but none of the women I know who are my age and have been competing for a while are running as fast as they used to and I've heard that most running improvements are only seen for up to 7-9 years for those who begin running competitively late in life. Then again, we are all an experiment of one ...

Gotta Run said...

I LOVE that website and have used it a lot of the years.

I agree with Jim. Just the other day I ran a 3 mile at race pace near my house. Finished in 21:36! That was the fastest I have ever ran! Goes to show that we all have more in us then we sometimes realize.

jeanne said...

it's all been said already, so all i can add is: You're fast!!!