This is the workout I use to help runners get ready for their best short race like a 5K. It can be performed anytime in the training plan and as close to 5 days before the race. It is a fitness-refining workout that helps an athlete get race ready. It’s fun to feel “light and fresh” as your race approaches.
3 X 3 X 4 (3 SETS OF 3 X 400M)
Start with your usual warm-up
Run 3 x 400m repeats at your goal 5K pace with 100m jog between. Jog 400m after the third repetition and before starting the second set. Example: For a 17:00 5K (5:28 per mile), the goal would be 82 seconds per 400m.
Run 3 x 400m repeats at 2-3 seconds faster per 400m than your goal 5K pace with 200m jog between. Jog 400m after the third repetition before the final set. Example: For a 17:00 5K (5:28 per mile), the goal would be 79-80 seconds per 400m.
Run 3 x 400m repeats at 4-6 seconds faster per 400m than your goal 5K pace with 400m jog between each repetition. Example: For a 17:00 5K (5:28 per mile), the goal would be 76-78 seconds per 400m.
End with your usual cool-down
You can also use the McMillan Calculator to calculate all of your goal paces for this workout.
This workout accomplishes much, yet leaves you refreshed and excited to race.The first set helps you dial in race pace from the start, something that will be important come race day. The slight pace increases in sets two and three help the mind and the body prepare for the increasing effort level required as you pass through miles 1 and 2 of a 5K.
While the pace is increasing with each set, you’ll notice that the recovery interval between each repeat is also increasing. This workout is not designed to cause undue fatigue. Adding the longer recovery intervals as the pace increases keeps the stress level to a minimum. After all, you are running fast for just over 2 miles so the total volume is very tolerable.
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“I have achieved my goals for 5K, 10K, and now a Half Marathon – thanks McMillan Running!”
-James W, RunClub member