5K Happy Running

Have the 5K distance under your belt?  Congratulations!  The path that you choose after conquering the hardest part of a running program is totally up to you.  And this particular path has you maintaining your hard work and perfecting and enjoying that 5K distance.   This is a great path because it keeps you healthy, doesn't take a ridiculous amount of time to maintain and there are about ten thousand 5K races for you to enjoy when the mood hits you!  

Your walk/run training has now morphed into a good runners training with each run having a purpose if you choose to do so.  Best case scenario - 3 to 4 training runs a week.  In order of importance based on how many days you can devote to running a week -   

Priority 1 - Long Run.  This is the run that will be 3.1 or a bit over in mileage.  It's your long run of the week and you'll run it slow and steady because that's how endurance runners train effectively.  If you've done a long run right, you will finish with tired muscles but not a crazy heart rate or breathing.

Priority 2 - Moderate Tempo Run.  This is just a good paced workout.  Not too fast, not too slow.  The mileage is typically not a challenge, but your speed is definitely in the "cardio category".  Your tempo pace can vary based on all of your other physiological variables (diet, sleep, monthly cycle, stress level, mood), so keep it at a reasonable cardio level.  No sprinting or totally dying on a run - that is another level below!  A good indicator of a tempo run is how we run when we chat with a friend.  We normally pick up the pace with our conversations and rhythm.

Priority 3 - Happy Run.  Yep, just happy.  It may be a tempo run or you may need a sprint.  You may be running with a friend who is slower than you or you may be with doggies or a kid on a bike.  This run is for pure pleasure.  Your happy run is why you run in the first place and your body will tell you what to do on these days.  Don't force anything, just go with it.

Priority 4 - Hill or Speed Run.  These runs focus on effort but not mileage. I like to call these workouts "short but horrible".  Don't be scared of these runs.  You can do these and you will notice that your long run speed and pace will naturally get faster with no more effort over time.  It's crazy and true!