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360 YOU: 5K Training Notes for Week 6

There may be hard workouts ahead, but the sweet celebration is almost here.

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Did you have a good week of training? Whether you struggled through some of your workouts or felt mighty and strong, you should feel proud of yourself all the same. You’re putting in the work and time and that in and of itself is an accomplishment. Plus, both the beginner and intermediate training plans had challenging workouts this past week.

As we enter the sixth week, our two groups are deviating somewhat. It’s an exciting time in both programs, so let’s take a closer look.

Check-in: Beginner 5K Plan

In the six-week plan, this is the final one. Soon, you’ll be starting and finishing your first 5k race or 5k/30-minute distance run. It’ll be an accomplishment you never forget, and a huge milestone in your journey as a runner. 

RELATED: Let’s Talk About Effort

You’ll see your two biggest runs of the program thus far on Monday and Wednesday, running a continuous 28 minutes on Wednesday. Some of you may even surpass the 5k distance during this run. Kudos to you; that’s amazing! Many of you won’t run a full 5k before race day and that’s totally fine. You’ll be more than ready to complete the distance on the day. Trust the training; trust your body. You’ve got this. 

After your long run on Wednesday, you’ll notice the remainder of the workouts during this final week of training ease up, which is a training principle known as a taper. Backing off on volume and intensity of your training during a taper allows your body to fully recover from the prior five or six weeks of training so that you’re ready to attack race day feeling as strong and energized as possible. Any niggles, aches, and fatigue you’ve been feeling will have the chance to repair and rebuild, which means you can feel fresh and raring to go on race day.

Check-in: Intermediate 5K Plan

This week is a little heavier on speed and lighter on distance. You’ll stick with your strength and power workouts on Monday and Thursday and your recovery runs or rest/cross-training on Tuesday and Friday. The Sunday long run steps back down to 8 miles, which should feel pleasantly short after last week’s 10-miler. It’s still important to hydrate and fuel well for this run, though. The closer we get to race day, the more critical it becomes to make sure you’re doing all the small things that support your body as a runner—eating well, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, performing your prehab exercises, stretching, and focusing on good form when doing your strength training workouts.

RELATED: Long Runs Train Your Heart, Sprints Train Your Muscles

You have two big track workouts this week. On Wednesday, you’ll take on a classic: 400m repeats. There’s arguably no better way to embrace your identity as a competitive runner than to complete a speed workout of 400-meter repeats. This bread-and-butter workout helps you build physical speed and strength as much as it does mental grit. You’ll run each repeat at roughly goal 5k pace, but you’ll get a full lap of recovery, which allows you to focus on practicing your pacing and getting more familiar and comfortable with your race pace. 

The Saturday workout is more about speed. You’ll get to push through 200-meter repeats at your mile race pace. Enjoy the feeling of running fast—don’t let it scare you. Remember: “Fast” is all relative. One of the joys of running is that we can compete with just ourselves. When you do speed work, you are offering your body a chance to grow and improve. You are celebrating what your body enables you to do.

Onward

Enjoy your workouts this week and enjoy your race. Remember, the race is the celebration of all the work you’ve done in training and an opportunity to showcase to yourself what you’re capable of doing. 

Before even pinning on a race bib or lacing your sneakers for that culminating race, you’ve already achieved so much just by sticking with your 360 YOU Program and honoring yourself as a runner and a woman throughout the journey. You should be tremendously proud of yourself.

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