Hi there, I'm Suzy!

Hi there, I'm Suzy!

I uplift other women in the areas of running, lifting, and motherhood and create community for servant leadership.

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Here’s How I Finally Ran a Sub 20 Minute 5K

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Here’s how I ran a sub 20 minute 5K, a goal I was chasing for a long time.

New here? Here’s something that will help with context: a sub 20 minute 5K was one of my New Year’s goals in 2014.

Then, I had triplets and motherhood got deep, not wide.

I was proud of my postpartum fitness, but always came up just a few seconds shy of under 20 minutes: 20:11, 20:09, 20:07.

An easy answer would just be to go out of town & race on a pancake flat course, but my season of life didn’t allow for that.

Plus, I typically save my out-of-town travel for a distance I love more, the marathon.

I haven’t run under 20 minutes since I was in high school in the late 90s.

My new PR? 19:57!

It wasn’t the most challenging course in the world, but it also wasn’t flat and had a lot of turns.

Quite honestly, I believe focus and race maturity were the keys here.

That said, I did a few things differently in training and want to share so you can duplicate the approach and achieve your own success!

Here are a few tips if you’re after a fast 5K:

Run More

Some runners top out their 5K training at 15 or 20 miles a week and never go above 3 miles.

Real talk: you’ll improve your 5K time if you develop your endurance further.

Try following a 5K training schedule that gets you into the range of 7 to 8 miles for your long runs and 25 to 30 miles for your overall weekly mileage.

If you’re not following a specific schedule, you can safely increase your mileage by 10% each week.

You may have heard of this rule in marathon training, but it applies to shorter races as well!

woman running in a race

Follow a 5K Training Schedule

You may have snuck in some 5K races while you were training for a long distance event, such as a half marathon.

Although that type of training will obviously prepare you to go the distance of a 5K, you most likely peaked in performance at the wrong time.

It’s cute to run your best time in training week 7 of 12, but also gut wrenching. You want that time to be in official race results, right?!

I ran multiple shorter races in prep for this marathonnice strategy, but not for a PR

By following a training schedule that’s specific for a 5K race, you’re more likely to see better results.

I offer a free schedule each month on this website. Here’s how to find them:

5K specific speed work

Miles and timing are only part of the equation- what you’re doing within those segments are important as well!

Speed work is a great way to improve your 5K time.

Here are some workouts you can try, specific to 5K. Integrate this with your “anyhow” miles in flexible training or simply add to your schedule of choice!

800m (half-mile) Repeats

10 minute warm-up 
800m @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery 
800m @ 5K race pace 
1 minute easy recovery 
800m @ 5K race pace 
1 minute easy recovery 
800m @ 5K race pace 
1 minute easy recovery 
800m @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery 
5 minute cool-down 

Mile Repeats

10 minute warm-up 
1 mile @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery 
1 mile @ 5K race pace 
1 minute easy recovery 
1 mile @ 5K race pace 
1 minute easy recovery 
5 minute cool-down 

This next workout can be done on a track or treadmill, but also works if you don’t have access to either. However, you’ll need a running watch or other timing device, such as your phone.

5K Pace Intervals

10 minute warm-up
5 minutes @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
5 minutes @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
5 minutes @ 5K race pace
1 minute easy recovery
5 minute cool-down

Let’s hang out

When I’m not running, lifting, and momming, I work full time in the wellness space.

Instagram (and this podcast!) are my creative outlets to share the passion. Let’s connect and support one another!

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