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A 5k training plan for barefoot runners

Posted by on May 30, 2010 | 2 Comments
I’ve started working on the second edition of my book- “The Barefoot Running Book.”  Among the new information I’m adding will be a section on training plans.  This in an excerpt from that section:
 My Training Plans
Once you complete each of the stages covered in this book, you will be free to run faster and longer.  Many runners run races as a means of increasing their running abilities.  To help you achieve your own running goals, I am including several of my own plans.

Note – I am not nor have I ever been an elite runner.  I am a recreational runner.  All of these plans are developed for recreational runners.  If high performance is your primary goal, seek the assistance of a qualified running coach.  Running coaches can be found via Road Runners of America (http://www.rrca.org) or United States Track and Field (http://www.usatf.org.)

If these plans do not suit you, there are many plans available online.  The workouts are as follows:

•    Repeats: A repeat is a very fast run (near-sprint) over a very short distance.  When doing repeats, you should not be able to talk.  The purpose of a tempo run is to build speed.  Repeats are expressed as “A” x “B” where “A” is the number of times you run and “B” is the distance you run.  Generally, I rest one minute between each repeat.  When running repeats barefoot, it is important to never increase your pace more than 15 seconds per mile per week.  This will help assure you remain injury-free.

•    Tempo Run: A tempo run is slower than repeats, but still a fast run (10k pace.)  Talking during a tempo run should be difficult.  A tempo run will cover a longer distance than repeats.  The purpose of a tempo run is to build speed over longer distances.  When running tempo runs barefoot, it is important to never increase your pace more than 15 seconds per mile per week.  This will help assure you remain injury-free.

•    Fartlek run: As discussed in the Intermediate Running section, a Fartlek run is a run of varying speeds and distances.  A Fartlek run is a type of interval training.  I vary the pace from a sprint to a walk and everywhere in between.  I like them because they add an element variety to a run.  Same deal as repeats and tempo runs… don’t increase pace too fast.

•    Long run: The long run is a slow-paced run over a long distance.  The pace should be slow enough to allow you to easily hold a conversation.  The purpose of the long run is to build endurance.

•    Hill repeats: Hill repeats are simple- you run up and down a hill.  This workout will build muscles, help develop hill running technique, and seem to improve speed.  The hills I use are sand dunes, stairs, or a local Midwestern ski hill.  Pretty much any sort of hill will work.  Hill repeats are expressed as “Z” x hills where “Z” is the number of times you run up and down the hill.  Generally, I rest one minute between each repeat.

•    Crosstraining: Crosstraining includes any non-running activity.  Some people use swimming, biking, or playing an active sport (croquet doesn’t count.)  I prefer a form of weight training known as high intensity interval training.  I will describe my workouts in the next section after the training plans.

Many of the workouts will have a specific distance recommendation.  There are a variety of methods used to track distances.  I used to drive around in a car and use the odometer, but the local high school track team complained my car took up too much of the track.  I then used a good map website (http://gmap-pedometer.com.)  I finally took the plunge and purchased a GPS watch.  This turned out to be one of the best running purchases I’ve made.

5K Cheetah Plan

This plan is designed as a first step after finishing stage four of the transition plan earlier in this book.  At this point, you should be able to run at least 2 or 3 miles barefoot without pain.  This plan will begin introducing speed to your workout.

The “Cheetah Plan” is designed to help you complete a 5k (3.1 mile) race.  At the conclusion of this plan, you should be able to easily complete a 5k race barefoot or in minimalist shoes. 

Week 1:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 1 mile
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Intervals: 2 X 400 meters
•    Thursday – Crosstraining
•    Friday – Rest day
•    Saturday – Long run: 2.25 miles

Week 2:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 1.25 miles
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Hill repeats 2 x hills
•    Thursday – Crosstraining
•    Friday – Rest day
•    Saturday – Long run: 2.5 miles

Week 3:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 1.5 miles
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Fartlek run: 1.5 miles
•    Thursday – Crosstraining
•    Friday – Rest day
•    Saturday – Long run: 2.75 miles

Week 4:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 1.75 miles
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Intervals: 4 X 400 meters
•    Thursday – Crosstraining
•    Friday – Rest day
•    Saturday – Long run: 3 miles

Week 5:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 2 miles
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Hill Repeats: 4 x hills
•    Thursday – Crosstraining
•    Friday – Rest day
•    Saturday – Long run: 3.25 miles

Week 6:
•    Sunday – Rest day
•    Monday – Tempo run: 2.25 miles
•    Tuesday – Crosstraining day
•    Wednesday – Fartlek run: 1.75 miles
•    Thursday – Rest day (taper)
•    Friday – Rest day (taper)
•    Saturday – RACE DAY!

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2 Comments

  1. C-Dog
    June 3, 2010

    Are you interchanging Repeats (in the explanation) and Intervals (in the plan)? If not, can you explain what you would consider an interval for the plan? I can go 3 miles barefoot at about 12:30 pace, but would like to try and build up some speed.

  2. Janice
    May 30, 2010

    I'll be looking forward to seeing the 2nd edition. My goal for the summer is to do at least one race in my bare feet. I tried for a 5km a couple of weeks ago, but weather was HORRIBLE — snow even! I last about 1km and then put on my Vibrams.