"Man, this board gets updated regularly, I had to go fishing back to page 4 to find this... Still, I did say I would reply.
Okay, let me try and be brief (yeah, right). Here is how I approach a thing.
You have to understand the demands of your event, and train to meet them.
In a 5k, you are going to be working at a very high percentage of VO2max, with very high heart rates. Also, since the event is going to take you at least 15.00, you cannot afford to be creating vast quantities of lactate, in fact, you want to be producing as little as possible while running as fast as possible. (hey, who doesn\'t?)
So for now, two things: high vo2max and high LT (lactate threshold). For one you must train your heart, for the other, your legs. And unfortunately, the same type of training does not optimally cause both effects. Remember that fact: the best training for your heart?s development, is NOT also the best training for your legs?. (Bummer
1) Vo2max is primarily limited by your cardiac output. It\'s a given that the more oxygen you can deliver to your muscles, the more they will use and the faster you will run (hence EPO, altitude, tents...).
Since you cannot improve your HRmax, the only way to improve cardiac output is by improving stroke volume (making your heart pump more with each beat).
The generally accepted best method of achieving this is to run intervals at VO2max pace (which runners usually take as running at 3-5km pace).
Although there was another thread recently about short runs at this pace with short recoveries, for best effect YOU would need to be running around 3-4 mins at this intensity (JD was right, 5 continuous mins at his pace is too hard for training.
.. or else your 5k time sucks).
800s are a bit short, so this will mean 1000s and 1200s with equal time recovery. Aim to run around 4-6k in a session. Begin at 5k pace and aim to run repeat 1000s. When this is do-able (without "knee-grabbing"), move them up to 1200s. (all the time revising the speed of them as your 5k PR improves).
When the 1200s are do-able then try and move the 1000s down slightly nearer to 3k pace and begin again. Never do these faster than 3k pace. Just go longer.
For a high LT you must train your legs. You must recruit and train as many fibres as possible so that they can be utilised in a race at high pace without creating lactate. This means causing them to become wrapped in capillaries (like spaghetti round a fork) so that all the oxygen that is coming in the blood from the heart can be got INTO the muscle cell. Then inside the cell you must stimulate creation of mitochondria and aerobic enzymes...
This is what is going to make you race as well as YOU possibly can. It can (and does) take years and many miles, which is why every year runners go back to base and try and raise their steady state/LT that little bit higher before going into the next season.
Aerobic training must be begun slowly. You are trying to recruit fibres while under fully aerobic conditions and use them until they become fuel exhausted and then recruit the NEXT fibre, and the NEXT, and so on. Your body will thus be stimulated to adapt itself to better supply energy aerobically NEXT time, and if you do this repeatedly, in time you will have a vast store of well trained aerobic fibres.
Done properly, in time you will be able to recruit sufficiently large amounts of these aerobically tireless fibres at the same time to be able to run at close to 5k pace without floods of lactate (even though you trained them all at much slower paces).
Now, to train the legs can take years, but to train the heart can take weeks or only brief months. Your VO2max plateaus quite early in your career (genetically, thanks Dad), but can fluctuate throughout the season, dropping as you concentrate on endurance and rising as you add in the faster running later.
So at the beginning of the season, you work on the legs as soon as poss and for as long as poss.
To move your LT don?t just jump into so-called ?tempo? runs. These would be too fast/hard and not cause the effect you want. Begin from the ground up and work until eg: a 90 min is no longer ?long?. Then work until a once-or-twice-per-week 10-mile run at 5k-pace + 1 min is no longer hard (you could go round again, although you don?t). Then until a session of 3 x 20 mins @ 5k pace + 40 secs is not THAT uncomfortable (and you could do more)... and maybe only THEN begin to work at paces such as 5k-pace + 30 secs (2-3 x 15 mins) right on up... (eventually to 2000m repeats at 10k-pace). All the time being careful. You cannot rush this.
Now this LT work is where your greatest improvement is going to come long-term. Do not be like those interval-trained dudes who are hanging on from 3k onwards in a 5k race and fighting like hell not to let 1-2 secs slip per lap (this due to high lactate incurred in the opening first mile). The whole idea is not to learn to "tolerate" high lactate at race pace, but to train not to produce any (or as little as poss) at race pace. See the diff?
Finally, in 5k racing there is much to be said for efficiency. This involves neuromuscular characteristics associated with running well at race pace. See it as the diff between your feet smacking the ground like a plate of semolina or bouncing off the track in short snappy strides like rubber balls.
Runners who come into the sport from the slow end, discovering they have talent and wanting to move up in speed normally have more problems with this than young guys who had to develop some kind of efficient footstrike for their earlier 800-1500 training. This is a learned thing and drills, hills and speedwork (eg: repeat 400s at best 1500m pace) all have a part to play, even plyos for those who like them.
Within all this, I hope you understand that while training is (as malmo often reminds us) ?not rocket science?, neither is it Irish stew. You cannot just get all the ingredients and dump it into one training week and stir the mother... and repeat it forever.
King of Karma said the same. You want to race your best, then "periodize".
Start by working on your endurance (as I explained above) and start moving that LT, because that takes the longest. You want to get it up high before you add in the 5k-pace work (or you will struggle to run longer than 800m at this pace and repeat 1200s will not be fun at all).
Allow as long as possible. If you have done some of your endurance running in the hills before heading to the track it will help to ease you into the 5k down to 3k work. (All the time being careful to maintain the endurance and LT), finally add in some drills and faster/sprint work to develop your footstrike and it?s time to race.
How long will all this take? Well, how long do you have?"
For me, going into indoor track in my senior year of high school, I have decided to train correctly for once in my life and actually have a plan for the season. I\'m taking this month of November and am applying the LSD approach to buildup my legs before I add in more quality stuff starting in December. For ME however, the main focus is on the 1600 and 3200. Are these same principals still applicable? And if they are, are they optimal? Should I instead try a more Coe-approach? (I am pretty much coaching myself this season.) thanks alot for any help.