Fast-Finish Focused 5k Workout

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a little teaser for this workout that I posted the other day. I came up with this as I was trying decide on a workout to do on Tuesday. I had done 400s the week before, and wanted something different. I thought about how my next race will most likely be another 5k, so figured I would focus on that. 


As I explained when I posted my 5k Tune-Up workout, I tend to start out slower when I do speed work and get faster as the workout progresses. However, in my last 5k I slowed down quite bit. I thought I would work on that in this workout by gradually getting faster over each set. 

fast-finish focused 5k workout

I was telling Rob about this workout after I completed it and he did not like the sound of running 30 seconds faster than his goal 5k pace. His goal pace is 6:30 so he would be running the last 3 minute set at 6 minute/miles. I reminded him- it’s only 3 minutes! 

Here’s how my paces turned out (with a goal 5k pace of 7 minute/miles)

goal and actual paces

During my last two sets of this workout I definitely had that end-of-a-5k feeling and had to push through that. (I hit a light during my last set and slowed down a bit- I was a little disappointed that I didn’t make my goal pace for that one!) The workout went by really quickly and I was so proud of myself that I basically ran a 5k at my goal  5k pace, although there were 1 minute recoveries between sets.

One thing about the recoveries- definitely take them easy! They are only one minute and fly by!

Here’s the thing with this workout though- the times are somewhat geared towards my own 5k goal. A realistic goal 5k pace for me is 7 minute/miles, which would mean I would be running a 5k in the 21-22 minute range. If your goal time is much faster or slower than this, the workout would need to be adjusted.

This workout basically has me running for 21 minutes with my average pace for the speed work part averaging to my goal pace. I would say that you could pretty easily adjust the workout to meet your needs, but think about your goal time/pace and what would be a challenging but practical number of set/minutes of speed work. Let me know in the comments if you need help adjusting and I’ll do my best to make a reasonable recommendation!

Do you usually run negative splits during a race?

Do you ever get that “end-of-a-5k” feeling during a speed work session?

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32 thoughts on “Fast-Finish Focused 5k Workout

    • I think I start out too fast in shorter races, but in longer races I am much more conservative about my pace!

    • I am hoping that it will prepare me well for my next 5k! It was definitely a challenging workout!

    • I think alot of times it just takes a while to warm up and get going with the speed work!

    • I always feel like I paced well when I can run negative splits in a race. I’m still working on pacing the 5k- I usually go out way too fast since its a shorter distance!

  1. Ladders, inverse ladders, and fast finishes are so important. You’ve gotta learn to push through whatever you are dealing with at the end of your workout. I ran my last 5k of my marathon at madcap pace, and I’m not really sure what helped me do that, lol, other than pure determination and adrenaline. Probably should have practiced that.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Five Inspiring Examples of Independence (Day)My Profile

    • Luckily the adrenaline usually helps us out quite a bit during a big race! But pushing through the physical and mental pain of a race is a great skill to work on.

    • Yep, exactly. Knowing that I was able to push through the end of that workout will (hopefully) help me at the end of my next 5k!

  2. I wish I had the pile of poo emoticon on my MacBook so that I could use it now to describe that “end of a 5K feeling.” This is one tough workout! Any type of speed work that leaves me feeling like that (insert pile of poo) is a difficult one, but those get us in fantastic shape in a hot minute.
    Suzy recently posted…Blended Family Friday: Taking TurnsMy Profile

    • Ha! Yep, that emoticon would describe the feeling pretty well. But we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    • I think doing some speed work can definitely help with preparing to train for a marathon. I usually do 800s earlier in my training season, and then focus more on mile repeats/tempo type workouts as my mileage builds.

    • Ugh mile 2 is the worst (mentally) in a 5k! But usually by the last half mile my legs are totally dead.

    • It can be a challenge to change pace during a workout! But its definitely important to work on it once in a while:)

    • Exactly! I avoided speed work for a long time, but now I consider it kind of fun. Its a great way to change things up and challenge yourself!

    • It probably is more manageable on the treadmill…but I never run on the treadmill so I didnt even consider it to be an option for this:)

    • I need to start incorporating drills now into my training! I think its the one element thats missing. I hope you had a great weekend as well!

    • It might be a little too intense and race-specific for your purposes, but I do like to include some shorter speed intervals early in my marathon training. Its a tough one, that’s for sure!

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