MileSplit's Official 5K Training Plan - Week 5

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I hope your first month of training has been great, and you are feeling accomplished by the progress made thus far. For this week's article, I reached out to a few trusted professional and collegiate coaches, elite athletes and some of the most highly recruited high school athletes in the country. I wanted to share their advice on summer training with you. I hope that what you read below provides simple yet effective advice to propel you through month 2 of training.

Run with your teammates 

This is important. I truly believe individual gains are made in a team atmosphere. More importantly, cross country is a team sport. You're only as good as your 5th man or woman. And in the sport of XC, nothing is more rewarding than achieving success with your team!  

Wake your teammates up. Have a regular meeting spot and time

Make a plan, and have your teammates hold you accountable. Generally mornings are better, especially for warmer climates. Most high school races are in the morning anyways, so get used to training in the morning this summer. Get up and get after it, together! If you're to achieve success in a team sport, you need them, and they need you! 

Find a group. Don't run alone

If you cannot connect with your team over the summer, find a group to run with. Running with others is a good way to log some quality miles by avoiding the monotony of running solo. Chatting with others at "conversation pace" during your easy runs will make them more enjoyable.

Run early, run often. Consistency is key

Do you see a common trend developing? You should gradually build up your mileage throughout the summer, as you'll see in my training plans. But it's important to stay at it each week.  

Don't overdue the mileage, and stretch

I've talked on this topic in the past. There is no secret number in your mileage that equates to success. More does not mean better. The key is finding the right amount of mileage that works best for you and your body. Consider your mileage in the past and any history of injuries. I recommend keeping a running log so you can track and learn what works for you. Maybe you're logging 12-20mi/week (like me in High School) or maybe you're really up there at 75mi/week. (If you are, I hope you're doing the drills and exercises necessary for injury prevention!)  

Regardless of your mileage, don't overlook the importance of preventative maintenance, i.e. dynamic flexibility, static stretching, sprint drills, gym sessions and general strength development. All of this together will aid in your running, make you a better all around athlete, and minimize your risk of injury. On my website, you can gain access to the strength training and drills I do with my elites, and I can even work to tailor them to you. 

Find places to run near you. Explore, and get creative. Summer training should be fun and enjoyable. Find loops that work for you

In college, we had a "happy loop." It was shorter in volume, and no matter how bad we were feeling, it was always enjoyable to run. If it's possible, have running options on soft surfaces like grass, dirt, or gravel trails. Find your favorite loop or trail and run on it when you need a little more motivation. It may sound crazy, but it helps on the days that are harder to get out the door.

I have received so many questions and positive feedback but please continue to contact me if you have any questions or need further explanation on the training plan.

Weeks 5-8 are available now. During these next 4 weeks you will really start to see fitness gains. This is the difference a summer of solid training can make. I have introduced some tempo workouts, uphill strides and hill workouts. You should start to feel comfortable with your long runs too. Continue to incorporate x-training days and rest days as needed to accomplish your weekly mileage goals.

Good Luck. Get after it!


Coach Ponsonby has been working with world-class middle distance and distance athletes for over a decade now. Ponsonby has overseen the success of multiple NCAA, World and Olympic champions, including Silver Medalist Leo Manzano.

After a successful collegiate career at The University of Texas, where he garnered All-American honors, Ponsonby signed on as a Volunteer Assistant Coach. During that time, Ponsonby helped oversee NCAA Champions, Collegiate Records, and even a World Record. 

This unique experience in the sport has allowed him to connect with runners from all over the world. MileSplit has teamed up with Coach Ponsonby to deliver a unique Summer training program exclusively for High School Cross Country runner's summer build up.

Learn more about or contact Olympic Coach Ryan Ponsonby at