MileSplit's Official 5K Training Plan - Two Week Check-In

With the launch of my Official 5K Summer Training Plan for MileSplit, I've received great feedback and questions from many of you. Thanks for reaching out! I really appreciate all the positive feedback.

Many of you had similar questions on training, so in today's post, I'll be addressing many of those.

But first, here's a simple analogy to explain the importance of consistent training this summer. Think of every run as a deposit into your bank account. As you string together runs and workouts day after day, week after week, month after month, it all adds up. Every time you race, you make a big withdrawal from your account. So the more you deposit into your account this summer, the more you'll be able to withdraw come race day. Invest in yourself by training consistently. It will pay off!

How much mileage should I run over the summer?

A huge misconception for high school runners is that mileage is a single indication of your fitness or future performance. I wish it were this simple. But running does not work this way. The key to your training is to find the right amount of volume that is manageable for you. I know of Sub-4 minute milers who trained on less than 30 miles a week. Conversely, I also know a 10k Olympic Medalist and a 1:43 800m runner who both trained at 70-75 miles a week with great success.

The key here is finding what works for you, based on trial and error to a certain degree, and communication with your coach. I believe in progressing slowly and building your mileage over time. Maybe as a freshman you're in the 20-30 mi/week range, and by the time you're a senior, you've progressed into the 45-55 mi/week. The goal is to get the most mileage (deposits into your bank account) without over training, and risking injury.

When I start working with new athletes, here are a couple of the questions I'll ask to try to avoid over training:

  • Have you had overuse injuries in the past? If so, how much were you running? When did the injury occur? What else were you doing in your training, apart from running, during that time?
  • Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel really run down or even sick from the high training load?

 A lot of times, mileage can be maintained and injuries can be prevented simply by adding in some general strength training. I do a lot of this with my athletes. You can learn more about this, and get access to this training HERE.

What pace should I be running?

There are many books on pace and pace calculators for training runs. In my opinion, not one has it completely accurate. Training is not a simple math equation. There are way too many variables for a training calculator to truly predict training paces. However, they can provide good training parameters. Sometimes you need to go on feel and forget about pace. There is a great value you to understanding your own body, more importantly, listening to it.

What are your favorite workouts?

I get asked this one all the time. As a coach, It's important to understand what workouts work best for my athlete. This is different for every single individual. My goal is to first know my athlete (personality, strengths, and weaknesses), the event(s) they're training for, and their goals. From there, I carefully consider workouts that could work best for them, then constantly adjust training plans along the way. However, as a general answer, I do really like hills. Both hill repeats and hilly runs are great for almost all event distances. Hills are especially good at this time of year. They develop leg strength and improve mechanics.

How should I structure my training week?

If you're following my general training plan posted in Month 1 of the MileSplit 5K Training Plan, you'll notice that in week 2 I've scheduled a long run for you on Sunday. In week 3, I have scheduled a medium long run with bursts on Tuesday and a long run on Sunday. Week 4 is similar in structure too. Each week you're also building up your mileage. This is all about "graduated stress,"  an important theme while you're transitioning back into your training. In the coming months, I'll recommend training that incorporates two quality workouts a week. This gives you two days in between quality days for recovery. Then run your long run at the end of the week. As you follow the training schedule over the summer, you will notice the same basic structure is used.

Remember there are times you will need to train hard, and there are times it's important to go easier. Harder efforts like: tempos, hills, fartleks, repetitions, progression runs and long runs all have a place in your training. Two keys to you performing at your best is knowing when to push and when to hold back. In my experience, the latter of the two is usually more challenging.

If you have high goals for next season and want me to set up a personalized training plan tailored to you and your goals, check out my training plans HERE. I'm happy to announce that I will also be discounting the Summer XC Training by 25% for the entire month of July in celebration of the 4th of July for all MileSplit users. The coupon code is: MileSplit25

Have a happy and safe July 4th!