How fast will you run your next race?

After having run the first 5K, many people get the running bug. 5K is not enough, they want to go further and start preparing for a 10K or even a half marathon. If you are one of these runners, you certainly want to know how fast you could go over a longer distance based on your 5K performance.

Over time, multiple scientists and runners have worked on formulas which basically allow predicting finishing times based on a recent performance. The most used formula in the running world is the Riegel formula. This formula is named after Peter Riegel, an American research engineer.

How accurate is the Riegel formula?

The formula has been published in 1977 in Runner’s World Magazine. The formula basically says that your performance declines by 6% if the distance doubles. If for example, you run your last 5K in 30:00 you can expect to finish a 10K in 01:02:33. The Riegel formula works perfectly fine for distances until the half marathon. Critics mean that the 6% factor is too low if it comes to longer distances like a Marathon or even Ultramarathon. In order to make predictions more precise, runners would then use additional tools like the Purdy tables or the Cameron formula and recoup the results.

Runerio’s Time prediction calculator

You want to know what your recent time is worth on other distances: Then download Runerio’s Time prediction calculator. Just enter your time over a given a distance as well as the target distance and the calculator will provide your with the time prediction and average pace. Have fun!

 

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Time to change your running shoes

I admit it: I am using my running shoes until the bitter end. Until water comes in. Until the sole flies off. In my case it is definitely time to head to the running store, but what exactly are the signs that you should change?

Why should you change

Your shoes are the most important item in your running equipment. Their main functionality is to provide stability, shock absorption and cushioning. Worn-out running shoes do not fulfill these functionalities anymore and your body needs to compensate and this is when overuse injuries occur.

The Golden Rule when to change

In fact, there isn’t any. I asked 3 experts in running stores here in Montreal and checked nearly 20 different web pages and guess what: I have over 20 different answers. “Between 400 and 600 miles”, “every 6 months”, “1200 miles”, “every 9 to 12 months” are just some of the feedbacks which I got.

So, why there is no Golden Rule? There are so many different variables which come into play: main surface (asphalt vs. trail), runner’s weight, running style, shoe style (ex. lightweight) etc. They all have an impact on the usage of shoes. There are no reliable studies and the marketing messages from the big shoemakers are not a big help neither.

When you should change

If you feel that your shoes do not provide the necessary shock absorption, it is time! You can do the press test which consists in pressing your thumb on the midsole (in the center of the shoe). If it is hard like a rock, head to the next store. If you do the same test with new shoes, the midsole will compress.

Do not wait too long

Do not take me as example, do not wait until your running shoes feel like clogs. It will lead to unnecessary injuries. As soon as your shoes do not provide the necessary cushion and shock absorption, get a new pair. Like I will do.

 

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5K in three weeks – Example training plan

Following my last post, I have been asked if I could present a sample training plan. The plan below is an example for a runner who is able to run through 2 miles.

You will find the three types of workouts in any given week (intervals, stamina, long run). Each session is preceded by a 5 minutes warm-up period where you walk at a decent speed. After your sessions, walk 5 minutes to cool down and take some time for stretching.

Your hardest workout will probably be the long run in week 2. Your main goal is to run through the 3.5 mi. Do not start too fast and adopt a slow pace.

Week 1

  • Workout 1: Intervals – 5 min run/2 min walk – repeat 4 times
  • Workout 2: Stamina – jog up a hill for 30 sec / walk for 1 min – repeat 5 times then run 1 mile
  • Workout 3: Long run – Run 2.5 mi – slow

Week 2

  • Workout 1: Intervals – 6 min run / 1:30 min walk – repeat 4 times
  • Workout 2: Stamina – jog up a hill for 30 sec / walk for 1 min – repeat 5 times then run 1 mile
  • Workout 3: Long run – Run 3.5 mi – slow

Week 3

  • Workout 1: Intervals – 7 min run / 1 min walk – repeat 4 times
  • Workout 2: Stamina – jog up a hill for 30 sec / walk for 1 min – repeat 4 times then run 1 mile
  • Workout 3: Race Day – 3.1 mi (5K)

On days without a running workout, you can introduce 30 minutes of any light cardio exercise – walk, swim or cycle. Take care not to overdo it and run the risk of injuries.

The day before your 5K, let your body rest – it will help you on race day.

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Train for a 5K in three weeks – how to build a training plan

A friend of yours runs the next 5K in town and asks you to join. You agree – until you find out that the race takes place in three weeks from today. You have never completed a 5K. It is clear to you that you would not beat the world record but you would like to run through. Street Run 5K Your starting point – manage your expectations

Three weeks is not long and therefore, you need a certain base. Being able to jog 2 miles (around 3K) is an excellent starting point. If you are not able to go over the distance, it will be challenging to be able to run through your 5K in three weeks.

Less is more

Do not try to pack a 9 weeks plan in 3 weeks. Your body needs recovery periods. Three to four sessions per week is a good plan. If you really want to train between your running workouts, choose a light activity like walking, cycling or swimming. Pushing too hard over a short period time risks to cause injuries, especially if you are not used to it. And then, there it goes your 5K…

Three types of workouts

In any training plan, you will find three types of workouts:

  • Long runs: The long run is the masterpiece of your training week. All other sessions will be organized around the long run. It typically takes place on the weekend as it is the most time-consuming session of your week.
  • Intervals: The role of the interval training is increasing your speed. Sometimes it is also referred to as speed run or speed work. Interval sessions come in different intensities – from very short sprints to longer distances up to a mile. As a beginner, do not overdo it: Wrong intervals often lead to injuries, so ramp up progressively.
  • Stamina: The best stamina sessions are hill trainings. They build muscles and increase your VO2, the maximum quantity of oxygen consumed by your body.

5K in three weeks

If your objective is to run the distance, focus on the long runs which will represent between 4 and 6K each (2.5 to 3.75 mi). Then add an interval session every week as well as hill trainings. And then go and run your first 5K!    

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Smartphones and wearable technology – take it or leave it?

During my last workout, I went through a mental exercise while running. I counted how many of the runners who I met actually had either a smartphone or any other piece of wearable technology (fitbit, sports watch etc.). As you probably have guessed, the vast majority was equipped with technology. I only saw one single guy who did not seem to have any watch or smartphone with him.

Track your progress

Personally, I always run with my smartphone. If it happens that I forget it or the battery run down, something important is missing in my running routine. I have always used technology on my runs. Before the smartphone area, I would run with a sports watch. I know at any time for long I have been running, my average pace and distance. With smartphones, there are at least 10 apps available which allow you to reflect your training plan, track actuals against plan and connect a heart rate monitor. And all this while you listen to your favorite playlist.

Music

I have friends who run in order to be outside, to enjoy nature and do not understand how you can listen to your latest powersong instead of listening to the singing birds. Personally, I love listening to music while I run. It allows me to switch of, to daydream and to be in a different world. It relaxes me. And if I am on interval training and have to push hard, there are a couple of songs which make it easier.

However, there are downsides. What I am listening has an impact on my speed. The songs are not always aligned with my workout. Let’s say, I am heading out for a long run with low speed, my workout playlist may be too rock and roll and unconsciously, I am running too fast. It is necessary to ensure that I keep the slow pace.

Another downside is that you may not hear what is going on around you. I already run by friends who I did not notice. They would call me but I do not hear them. That is less of an issue than safety, e.g. not hearing a car coming behind you. Adjust the volume of your music to the environment, so that you still can hear a car horn and you will be fine.

Is it too much?

The main objective is to run, to progress and to have fun. If during your runs, you are more occupied to check your average pace or to switch songs than to run according to your plan, leave the tech stuff at home. Especially for beginners, it is challenging to listen to their body and their playlist at the same time. Beginner sessions are quite short (typically under 40 minutes), there is nothing you can not track after your run in an excel sheet (time, distance).

However, if you are able to focus on your runs without checking your smartphone all the time, this technology can bring huge benefits. The most obvious is the distance tracker. For exemple, your next session is supposed to be 2 miles. Without a smartphone app, you need to know a circuit of 2 miles or to measure it on Google Maps before you start. However, any app will give you this information in real-time and allow you to execute your training session as accurately as possible.

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The C25K® training plan – how to make the big jump and to adjust

Yesterday morning, I met Marc during my weekend run. We both did our final stretching exercises in a parc and started discussing about running. Marc just finished the fifth week of his C25K® programme (half-time). As he found the past session very challenging, he asked me which effects it may have to adapt his plan at this stage.

Anatomy of the C25K® programme

The C25K® programme is without the slightest doubt the most popular training programme for beginners. The popularity comes from the fact that after only 27 workouts (!) you will able to run a distance of 5K (3.1 miles). The programme starts out with 60 seconds of running / 90 seconds of walking interval. It then continuously ramps up to allow you to run 2 miles in a stretch in week 5 and 5K in week 9.

In the first three weeks, your body will learn what it means to run. As with any other new activity, you will feel muscels hurt which you did not know that even exist. That is completely normal. And as the programme is designed with 3 workouts per week, it leaves you at least a day in between for recovery.

The big jump

The most challenging session in the 9 weeks is not the last one where you run 5K. Besides the very first one, it definitely will be the last session of week 5. In this session you will run 20 minutes in one stretch without any walking. By then, the longest running interval has been only 8 minutes. From 8 to 20 minutes, this is a big jump!

What if I am not able to make it

There are chances that you are not able to run the 20 minutes in a stretch. Believe me, you are not the only one and some beginners get very frustrated at this point and stop the programme altogether. There are different ways to ensure that you will be able to run a 5K very soon.

When running the 20 minutes session and you feel that you are not able to continue until the end, introduce a 60 seconds walking pause. This pause will help your body to recover and to finish the workout. In the week after (week 6), you are scheduled to run 22 minutes. Focus on following through the 22 minutes, if not you will need to adjust the programme.

Adjust the programme if necessary

If you need more than a walking pause or if in week 6 again you are not able to run through in a stretch, consider adjusting the C25K® programme. Do not forget your main objective: To run 5K (3.1 miles). The duration is secondary at this stage. This means if you run the 5K in 9 or 10 weeks, it does not make a difference.

Adjust your programme by adding another week (5+) which basically consists in repeating week 5. You would then run the 3 workouts of week 5 two weeks in a row. Training programs in general are plans and as with all other plans in the world, modifications may be required while executing them. Keep to your initial training plan but if you meet an unforeseeable event (ex. injury) or if the plan was too ambitious allow yourself to adjust the programme.

If you adjust always stick to your initial goal and main objective. If your goal was to run 5K in 9 weeks, your main objective is the distance. If it takes you 9 or 10 weeks is secondary as long as your reach the 5K mark.

Be flexible, enjoy the experience, keep your goal in mind

Marc just finished his 20 minutes run when we met. He was proud because the first time in his life he run 20 minutes in a row. But he was also anxious as he felt tired and wondered if he will be able to finish the C25K® programme. There is no reason whatsoever to adjust his programme, he just finished the hardest session in the plan and is 100% on track to run 5K in a month from now.

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Give me 60 minutes – how to find time to run

Do you have kids? Do you have a job? And do you spend time in traffic? Welcome to my world. In this setup, you will run once or twice during the weekend. For the rest of your training plan you need some creative ideas to carve out the necessary time during the workweek:

In the morning

For people who love to get up early: Take your running shoes and run with the rising sun! Very few people are around and when you come home, you have already completed your training session while others snooze their alarm clock the third time. However, if you have little kids like I do, you know that they are always awake before you are. And then you have other problems than going for a run.

Find time to run

Running to work or running home from work

If you live not too far from your workplace, you can run one way. What is ‘not too far’ depends on your training level. When you start, your objectives in the first months will be between 3 and 5 kilometers. That is pretty close and not many people have the privilege to live that close to their workplace. If you are one of the lucky winners, you have the choice: Run to work in the morning or running home in the evening. For the first option, there exists a highly important pre-requisite which is not to be neglected: You need access to a shower at work or nearby. Do not count on high-performance deodorants – it will not work. And even if you can run to work, you will be facing the famous ‘sweating dilemma’ which I will explain further down.

Running during lunch time

Again, if (and only if) you have access to a shower at work, you could check out during lunch time and hit the road. This is perfect for sessions which will last 30 to 40 minutes as you need some time to get prepared before and showered after. And the ‘sweating dilemma’ becomes an issue the same way as for the morning run to work.

Running in the evening

The day is over and the only thing left is a run while the sun is going down. A great moment to think about what happened this day and to go through your objectives of the next day. Especially in the warmer summer months, this my personal favorite time spot for a run. It is less fun in winter though, when the sun is going down at 6:00 PM. Especially, when I forget my headlight…

The ‘sweating dilemma’ aka afterburn

You come back from your run and you sweat which is an excellent sign. Your body has burnt calories, heated up and produces sweat to cool down. If you do not have much time, because you need to get back to work after your lunch break, you will tend to take your shower as quickly as possible. Not recommended!! In this case your body did not have time to cool down, and it will continue to sweat – and you are good for a second shower. This effect is called ‘afterburn’ which basically means that your body still burns calories after your workout. If you are interested in the technical side of afterburn, I invite you to check out Marc Perry’s blog on this topic. You cannot shorten or even eliminate afterburn (no, taking a cold shower does not work). However, you can use these simple tricks in order to reduce sweating after your shower:

  • Reduce your effort in the last 10 minutes of your training (e.g. walk)
  • Let your body finish the afterburn phase even if it will take some time. Drink a lot of water.
  • As soon as you feel cold, take your shower.

As a result, after your shower you will not continue sweating. By the way, afterburn is good because…

Find your sweet spot and reserve it in your agenda

First, you need to identify which is your preferred time slot for your runs (morning, noon or evening). And then put it in your agenda. I systematically reflect my training plans in my agenda. This way, I plan my day accordingly and better execute my training plan. If not, it is too easy to find excuses and to skip a session here and there – important sessions which help you to achieve your running objectives.

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