Workout of the Week: 071 – Progression 5Ks

Can you complete the double royal flush? Two 5Ks increasing speed every kilometre—that’s our workout for the week.


Progression 5Ks

2x 5k increasing pace every KM

(marathon, half, 1-hour, 10k and 5k race pace)

1-2 jog recovery

Terrain: Flat, measurable pathway.

Feels: The Pacing Ninja

Keeping with our theme of progression work, this one brings more distance and endurance to the table with a cool pacing challenge of seeing whether you can make those slight adjustments in pace every KM.

Be conservative about your paces and take as much rest between 5Ks as you need.


Whenever you see 5k reps in a workout it’s a good sign the workout is focused on endurance. But this one throws in those added elements of learning to run faster when the going gets tougher and of judging slight speed changes. As such it’s a great workout for learning to listen to your body and judge your pacers to perfection.


You’ll want to have your paces dialled in before starting this workout, so be sure to input a recent or estimated race result into the Race and Pace Calculator at

Also here is a rough guide for those paces:

5k Time Marathon Half Lactate 10k 5k
15:00 3:28 3:17 3:15 3:07 3:00
20:00 4:37 4:23 4:17 4:09 4:00
25:00 5:46 5:29 5:14 5:12 5:00
30:00 6:56 6:35 6:13 6:14 6:00

Notice that the 30-minute 5k runner has a 10k pace that is slightly slower than their lactate (one-hour) pace. So they should swap these two around to ensure they can still nail the royal flush 5k.


By Hayden Shearman

I started commentating for Athletics New Zealand events back in 2018 and I recently worked out that I’ve notched about 200 hours of live commentating the sport. This has been an amazing opportunity to be given a front seat view to see what it takes to get to the top of track and field. So, here are my top five takeaways from my first 200 hours behind the mic:

  1. Hard work is the one constant: Without fail you don’t meet medallists at national champs who have been lazing around and got there through natural ability alone. Everyone works. And everyone at this level works hard and is dedicated to improving their sport.


  1. Smart work is the separator: So, if everyone has hard work, what separates the national champ from the merely national-level athlete? I would say the number one seems to be approaching your sport in smart ways. Whether that’s dialling in your technique, analysing your taper and training, or getting your headspace right, working the top two inches very hard seems to be a constant amongst the national title holders. And it seems that those who go onto succeed at the world level have the three elements of hard work, smart work and natural ability all going for them.


  1. You have bad days: Here in New Zealand, we are blessed to have some of the world’s best competing locally and it’s been incredible seeing how these phenomenal athletes also have off days and hiccups. So, be assured, if you’ve just had an average race or workout, you’re in some great company!


  1. The key is to learn from the bad days: When those great athletes have bad days, you’ll often see them rise into a rich vein of form. That combo of smarts and hard work, with a little competitive kick up the proverbial from the less-than-ideal performance, operates as fuel for the fire for these top performing athletes.


  1. There are good people everywhere: I don’t know whether this sport, which requires hard work and discipline, just attracts good people to it or whether it nurtures those people to become better—or maybe a combo of the two—but, consistently, around the country you meet incredible people in the sport. They have their feet on the ground thanks to the humbling nature of doing hard workouts and races, but still have great ambitions and are brilliant at performing when the spotlight is on them. This sport seems to provide a really nice balance of grind and reward for its athletes that seems to me to attract and create great people.


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