Molly Huddle is a 2012 Olympian and the American record holder for 5,000-meters (14:44.76). So whose training could be better to emulate when trying to lower your 5K personal best? Molly shares her favorite workout, a staple as she prepared for her recent Olympic performance.
On the Track: 12×400-meters @ 3K-5K pace with 60-second active rest
Molly finds this workout simple and the intervals short enough where the pain can be tolerated. For Molly, each interval is done at about 68-72 seconds. She finds the key is the shorter recovery and keeping active during that recovery with light jogging. This helps to simulate race conditions for the second half of the workout. Starting several intervals a bit tired helps prepare the body for what it will feel over the last mile of a 5K.
For us mere mortals, Molly suggests the following:
On the Track: 8×400-meters @ 10 seconds under 5K goal pace with 90-second active rest (200 meter jog)
For example: If your goal is 7:00 pace for 5K, that’s 105 seconds for each 400-meter repeat. Subtracting 10 seconds under your 5K goal pace will give you a target of 95 seconds for each 400-meter run.
“This pace should be a little strenuous but you should not be gasping for air after your first interval,” emphasizes Molly. “If you stay honest with your rest time, by the 6th or 7th repeat you’ll be feeling the pain in your legs and be starting the interval with an elevated heart rate−just like the second half of your race!”