5k Training Specific Intervals

This session is an absolute classic of 5km training. It is a specific 5km training session – it targets the exact physiological adaptations we are after to perform over 5km. This will generally be done in the latter stages of 5km training, as training becomes highly specific.

The Session:

15 min warm up

5 x 1km @ 5km race pace with 200m jog recovery

15 min warm down

Two things are vital in this session: pace and the recovery in between reps. For specificity it is obviously important to be as near to race pace as possible. The recovery between reps is also vital – we are trying to simulate as close to continuous 5km race effort, without actually equalling 5km race exertion, as possible. Therefore it is important to make sure the recovery is a 200 jog and not a stationary recovery. In fact the best way to progress this session, for a given 5km race pace, is to increase the pace of the recovery, thus reducing how much your body recovers for the next rep.


A few advanced variations for athletes experienced with high intensity and high volume sessions:

– Speed the recovery up to ‘steady’ pace

– 3 x mile instead of 5x1000m

– Add a 10 min tempo before the main session to pre-fatigue your muscles

– Add some anaerobic intervals at the end of the session to train your end of race kick e.g. 4 x 200 with 1 min stationary rest in between

Enjoy this great session, that not only builds 5km specific fitness, but also tells you how close you are to your goal fitness.