Welcome to the first weekly installment of UrbanAthletics’ new blog, “Stride Fast, Stride Right”. The world of running is a vast and interesting place! Each week we will take a look at training theories and practices, physiology, mental aspects of training, and many other topics, so you can empower your training and improve your running.

This first segment will be a mini-series. We will look at how training for a fast 5k race can act as a key component of running a strong marathon. Please hit me up with questions or comments! We look forward to seeing you out on the roads and in our training classes.

5k Racing to improve your marathon time
To some it may seem ironic that training for a 5k can improve your marathon time. After all, these events are on the opposite ends of the distance spectrum when it comes to the most popular road racing distances. However, training for a high-quality 5k time can nearly always prepare you and your system for a breakthrough marathon race.

The key goal: build your aerobic power:
Training for a fast 5k race will build your aerobic and cardiovascular power. Long runs accomplish this as well, but the speed elements that are necessary for a speedy 5k help to train your body to “shuttle” oxygen and blood around your body in a more efficient manner. Thinking about this, one can quickly see from a common-sense standpoint how this can help in running a marathon.

The key to this shuttling-ability is to improve your VO2 max. VO2 max simply put is the measure of your body’s ability to use oxygen. There is a large variety of workouts that can be done to improve your VO2 max. Moving forward, whenever the word “Interval” is used, it will be to describe one or more of these VO2-improving workouts (unless otherwise specified as a different type of interval workout).

In the next installment we will look a bit more as to why building your aerobic power through interval training is important. Hopefully this has planted a seed with you as to looking into scheduling 5k races within your training.

See you next week!

– Coach Jim