Anonymous asked in SportsRunning · 7 years ago

Training for 5k and 10k races and finally a marathon, what should I focus on?

When training for 5k, 10k races and then finally being able to do half and full marathons is it better to focus on endurance or speed?

I can't afford to join a training program so I'm searching for the best advice on how to prepare for running sports.


On a treadmill I can run nonstop and no slowing down: 70mins, 5miles with speed of 4.5 and eventually 5.0. I started this sport in Sept 2012. I've ran two 5k races. The last 5k I completed it in 33mins

7 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Best Answer

    I am going to differ with most of the answers.

    I say emphasize endurance but do mid distance speed workouts once or twice a week.

    Why? The speed workout will increase your aerobic capacity. If you can run 6 or 7 minute miles, then running long distance at 8 or 9 minute miles is easier on your aerobic system. Essentially, you are just cruising along at that pace.

    You still need a good mileage base but it is a mistake to never train at speed.

    Source(s): Long time distance runner and triathlete.
  • 7 years ago

    Hello Daisy

    The answer is "yes"!

    I don't know how experienced you are or how much training you do, or your goals.

    If you are fairly new to the sport I would not consider a marathon for a year or two, but that's my view. 5 and 10k races are a good start, and I would aim to be doing something in excess of 40 miles a week if you want to run these rather than just make it to the end.

    Some people think that this is adequate for a marathon, I would disagree. If you want to run a marathon and not just get to the end at any cost you should be aiming for over 100 and up to 200 miles a week!

    I hope that has not put you off because you can do these distances on much less, though the quality of the run will be lower and you will take much longer to recover afterwards.

    So, in the end you need to do enough endurance to get you to the end of the race, and then some faster work to improve your times. With this in mind you should vary your distances, doing longer runs of 45 minutes or more when you can, and shorter runs down as low as 10 or 15 minutes when time is short or you don't feel like running.

    The most important thing is consistency. Try to run most days. It is better to do lots of shot runs than one long one and gradually increase the distances.

    Source(s): 40 years running experience
  • 7 years ago

    Good for you! a worthy goal, but its more than a little premature to put a marathon on your schedule. Future goal yes. Perhaps with a tentative date a couple years in the future at least.

    Yes, I know a lot of people "prepare" for and "complete" a marathon in less than a year. IMHO, slogging through a marathon in 5 or 6 hours doesn't prove anything, risks injury, and disrespects the distance. Remember that Phidippides died. If nothing else, show him that you're taking this seriously.

    It takes years of training for your body to adapt to running long distances. Trust me, you'll appreciate the accomplishment a whole lot more if you go into it prepared, not only knowing that you'll finish, but knowing how long its going to take you with a reasonable level of confidence. That's not going to happen until you've done some 40-50 mile training weeks.

    That said, you need a balance of speed and endurance training, even for marathon distance. No, of course you're not going to do any sprinting during your first marathon. However "speed" training, in the form of track intervals (200's, 400's, 800's, etc.) helps to elevate your aerobic threshold. That is, the percent of your maximum heartrate you can maintain without going anaerobic and building up lactic acid. The average Joe might have a threshold of 70-80% of max, while elite athletes (elite marathoners, Ironmen, Tour de France riders...) can go as high as 95% for long periods of time.

    You're not yet to the point where 400 repeats are going to do you much good, in fact you wouldn't be able to stay on the interval with most groups I know, but its something to think about when you start getting your miles under 10 minutes.

    "Afford" a program? There are plenty of ad-hoc groups and running clubs that aren't going to cost you anything, or maybe a nominal amount for the annual club party. Chat up some people at the finish line of your next race, or swing by the local high school track around 6pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Better than even odds there will be some group doing their weekly track workout.

    Running magazines publish some kind of newbie training advice pretty much every month. Look by the door of the local running or sporting goods store. There's almost certainly a stack of free "amateur athlete" publications if you don't want to anté up for Runner's World.

    Source(s): Veteran of hundreds of endurance races, including marathons, Iron distance triathlons, open water swims, 12 hour mountain bike races.
  • Connor
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Different people do things differently; however you can really only focus on one at a time, not both. Working on speed and endurance at the same time greatly increases injury risk.

    The answer to your question is in this question: Can you run a full marathon right now?

    If the answer to that is no then you do not have the milage base to work on speed. You have to slowly increase milage before you can work on speed. You can't train to run a half marathon super fast if you can't run 13.1 miles.

    You don't have to join a training program (I advise that you don't). But you do need to get a couple good books on distance running and how to train properly for these distances.

    To first you have to train for the distance then you can train for speed. Smaller distances like the 5K you can work with both. It doesn't take much to work up to running 3 miles, then you can spend a good 10-15 weeks improving your racing speed. But with the longer distances it takes a much longer a divided effort.


    Source(s): Pre Med and long distance runner
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  • Gone
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Endurance. Don't. Worry about speed. You don't need to pay a coach to have one. Go to the library and get the book Run Your Butt Off and jeffGalloway's marathon and half marathon books. Google C25K and Hal Higdon Half and Marathon training. There are free apps and free training programs and information all over. Good Luck, congrats and remember..running is a gift. :)

    Source(s): Started running Sept 1..I have done 5ks and 10ks and am training for a Half in May. I'm 58..
  • 7 years ago

    Endurance, Don't worry about speed on your first half or full, Just concentrate on finishing it. You can worry about speed the next time around. Good luck and have fun.

    Source(s): Marathoner
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Focus on endurance, and then speed.

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