Q: Thanks for the opportunity to post this question! I'm a 5k runner and I'm attempting to increase my speed. I would like to know if you could give the answer to the distances for: 400 meters, 800 meters and 1200 meters, for track training, outdoors and treadmill workouts? As well as the exact distances for 3k, 5k and 10k in terms of miles? Thank you very much! - J.S.

A: Rage, here.

Rule of thumb: If you want to race faster, you must train at a pace faster than your goal race pace.

To do this, you must be able and willing to push yourself beyond what you have been accustomed to. Since I have no idea of your prior conditioning or capabilities, I can't give you any specific advice. However, I can tell you what has worked for me and you can judge for yourself what's best for you. For me, my favorite ways to build speed are hills and track workouts.

For a 5k, I usually pick a race I want to shoot for two to three months out. Between now and then, I do some hills and track workouts. Hills build strength. Optimally, a 30 minute continuous run up hill once a week or every other week will help build the strength I need. Hills are especially good in the first half of my training period for a race. If I can't find the time to drive to get to my preferred location (Kong), I settle for one in town that is at least a quarter mile long and steep. I run it at least a half a dozen times or so holding an effort that is harder than my 5k effort. I take a couple minutes between to rest. I do this once a week.

On the track, I do a variety of workouts to mix it up a bit and help manage mental fatigue, which is also an important part of training (e.g. preparing me mentally for the race). My main thought: Keep my thoughts in the present. Don't get ahead of myself.

Some of my favorites are 5 x 800; 5 x 1,000; "4-3-2-1" (e.g. 4 laps, 3 laps…etc…walking 200 in between, increasing my average lap pace on each set). You get the idea.

Also, there's my old standby of mile repeats that I like to do. If I need a break from the routine, instead of doing hills for a week or two, I might go out on the bike path and do 3 x one mile, again making sure each of these miles is faster than my race pace. I shift more to mile repeats from hills, especially if I am within four-six weeks of the race to get me an idea of how my training is going and adjust my racing strategy accordingly. For mile repeats, I rest a couple minutes between each one.

Finally, about 10 days from the goal race date, I'll do a dry run hard three miler. This will put my body on notice that in about a week and a half, I'd better be ready for some serious Truth. Hope you are too, my friend. Good luck.

Check out these sites for some good metric conversion info: http://www.sosmath.com/tables/unitconv/unitconv.html
http://www.wihatools.com/conversion.htm

Note: I can't help you with the treadmill thing. Yeah, I know its probably cold outside where you might be from and that's all you can do some days. I have no idea how to get a sense of speed on a treadmill. For me, I need to see some trees going by and not some dude "running" while he's reading the WSJ. Other than Christine Clark, the only 2000 U.S. Women's Olympic marathon qualifier from Alaska, who blew away the competition at the Trials and ran impressively in Sydney, I can't point you in any direction on this one. - Rage

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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.