Competitor.com Break-20:00 5K Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 00:41
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 00:41
Training Load By Week

The 8-week Sub 20 minute 5k planned is designed for experienced runners looking to take their training and personal bests to the next level.

You should be comfortable running 30 miles per week and currently be performing workouts like tempo runs and track intervals. Your previous personal best should be at least better than the following:

5k – 20:30
10k – 43:00
HM – 1:34
Marathon – 3:20

The goal of this 5k plan is to increase your weekly mileage to 35 miles per week and implement 6 progressive 5k specific workouts designed to teach your body how to maintain goal race pace with decreasing amounts of rest. You’ll also incorporate speed development workouts to improve your top end speed and a variety of threshold workouts to continually develop your strength. By race day, you’ll be able to hone in on your target paces and finish under 20 minutes.

To watch the training videos and read the supplementary articles, click the link icon in the upper right corner of the day's workout.

Plan written by Jeff Gaudette

Sample Day 1
4mi
Easy run

4 miles easy (8:00 to 8:40 pace) w/4 x 20 sec strides

Start to get your legs by jogging easy for four miles. Concentrate on staying comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. Tell your friends, family and/or coworkers about your goal to break 20 minutes for a 5K. Committing to a goal is something to be proud of and talking about it helps many athletes stay dedicated and feel accountable to themselves.

Footstrike 101: How Should Your Foot Hit the Ground
http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/injury-prevention/footstrike-101-how-should-your-foot-hit-the-ground_63548

Sample Day 2
7mi
Threshold intervals

2 mile warm up, 6 x 800 meters at 6:30 to 6:35 pace w/45 sec walking or jogging rest, 2 mile cool down

When you have a rest period between intervals, what should you do? Stand, walk, jog? In short, I suggest standing if your rest period is less than a minute, walking if the rest is 1-3 minutes, and a slow shuffle jog if the rest is longer than 3 minutes (once you catch your breath). Breaking 20:00 is an ambitous goal. To reach that milestone, you'll have a short, fast workout like this one most weeks. They will improve your aerobic fitness, efficiency and confidence.

Exclusive training video: Dynamic warmup before a hard workout
Password: competitor
https://vimeo.com/100346497

Sample Day 4
4mi
Easy run plus strides

4 miles easy (8:00 to 8:40 pace) w/4 x 20 sec strides

Stay comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. Strides are short accelerations from a stand-still up to a fast pace. They help refine your technique and improve efficiency at every speed. Take as much standing rest as you need between strides. Top out at a fast but comfortable speed--strides are not sprints. These will appear repeatedly through your training plan.

Exclusive training video: How and why to run strides
Password: competitor
https://vimeo.com/100068716

Sample Day 5
8mi

2 mile warm up, 3 miles @ 7:10 to 7:15 pace, 4 min easy jog 6 x 1 min at 6:00 to 6:10 pace w/60 sec walking or jogging rest, 2 mile cool down

Fast intervals build aerobic fitness in a different way than longer steady runs. Try to hit the effort level that forces you to breath heavily during the interval without panting uncontrollably. Improved aerobic fitness and a newly efficient cadence will be your reward.

Exclusive training video: Combo run
Password: competitor
https://vimeo.com/100658711

Sample Day 6
0:45:00
Cross training or easy run

Optional Cross Training 45 minutes easy or 4 miles easy (8:00 to 8:40 pace)

Today's workout can be cardio cross training, which includes swimming, cycling, rowing, elliptical, stairmaster, hiking or another activity, or strength training.

5 Reasons Why Every Runner Should Crosstrain
http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/training/the-case-for-cross-training_7917

Sample Day 7
8mi
Long run

8 mile long run - all easy pace (8:00-8:40 pace)

Run with friends whenever possible. Company makes every workout more fun and fulfilling, and you might learn something from a veteran runner.

Exclusive training video: Find a running buddy
Password: competitor
https://vimeo.com/100381083

Sample Day 8
5mi
Easy run plus strides

5 miles easy (8:00 to 8:40 pace) w/4 x 20 sec strides

Strides are short accelerations from a stand-still up to a fast pace. They help refine your technique and improve efficiency at every speed. Take as much standing rest as you need between strides. Top out at a fast but comfortable speed--strides are not sprints. These will appear repeatedly through your training plan. This pace may feel fast today, but a combination of long, fast and frequent runs will help you adapt to the pace. It will get easier!

Exclusive training video: Ways to judge your pace
Password: competitor
https://vimeo.com/100657682