As has been the case for the past several Mondays, I am more than comfortable lying on the couch, watching TV, minding my own business when the 8 o’clock lineup hits. Biggest Loser flashes on the TV. No more than twenty minutes later, I am getting dressed and ready for the gym. I have a complete inability to watch other people work out while I am sitting on the couch.

Yesterday I laid out my goals for this coming spring season, and one of them was to improve my speed to reach a PR during the Boston 5K. I spent a bit of time reading about techniques to improve my speed, like hill workouts, interval sprints, long weekend runs, an idea called Tabata (which I guess you do something to the max intensity you possibly can for 20 seconds for 8 reps and then you are done . . .) and  other general diet advice. One thing I am still struggling to do, and would like some feedback from experienced runners (cough, Amy; cough, Mark, etc.), is to figure out my training pace as well as my goal race pace.

My goal is to run under a 25-minute 5K time, so let’s say 24:30 to shoot high. That comes out to a 7 minute, 53 second per-mile pace for the duration of the run. This is broken into the following kilometer splits:

4:54
9:48
14:42
19:36
24:30

What I am struggling with is finding the best system to train with in order to achieve that pace. Yesterday’s gym session had me running 10 minutes at an 8-minute mile, and then another five or so minutes at a 7:30-minute mile. I was pretty winded but was able to do it. I just worry that the treadmill helped pull me through the workout. I’m sure if I do more sessions like this, and drop my time down and increase the time I do, it would work. But is that the most effective way?

Do any of you guys have a good system for planning out your training paces to hit the marks you are looking for? Do you use Jeff Galloways Magic Mile system? I am looking for some ideas on how to maximize my returns!