A Dozen Ways to Reach 5k

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Mar 11, 2021

We love 5k workouts!

Reaching 5000 meters is a great goal for a daily workout, since it fulfills the recommendation of 30 minutes (or so) of exercise a day. It’s a great distance to work up a sweat that can fit into even your busiest days.

For some athletes, 5k a day is part of their Mud Season Madness Challenge: 5000 meters (or 10,000 meters) each day for 25 days or more in the month of March. No matter what time of year you’re striving for fitness, you can always program the tried-and-true 5000 meters Single Distance workout if you’re short on time and looking to record your time for this distance, such as when racing. Or, a “Just Row/Ski” workout can help you reach 5000 meters—but sometimes these workouts feel like they lack focus.

We recommend these workouts as ways to keep you interested, pushed and preoccupied so the time working out flies by.

  1. 5 x 1000m (with 1’ rest): Dividing up the distance into intervals gives you a chance to go a little bit harder and to be a little more focused on each 1000 meter work session. We recommend using the one minute of rest to stretch out, stand up and shake out your legs, or continue rowing (or skiing) lightly.
  2. Pyramid: 1000m, 750m, 500m, 250m, 250m, 500m, 750m, 1000m (1’ rest in between each interval): Pyramids help you vary intensity; in shorter intervals such as 250m and 500m, try to push a little harder. It will feel challenging to maintain your efforts as you come back “down” the pyramid. See if you can match your first two intervals in pace!
  3. 5000 meters with “Power Tens”: A time-efficient workout, this is similar to rowing 5000m for time (you can set up a Single Distance workout) but with a little bit of intensity. When you reach each thousand meter mark, pick up your space and stroke rate for 10 strokes. You can even say them out loud to yourself under your breath! This gives you a bit of a racing experience, simulating if you were passing other crews or skiers.
  4. 4-6 rounds of 5 minutes (1-2 minutes rest between intervals): Set up your Performance Monitor for an Intervals: Time workout. Time workouts can be especially helpful if you’re exercising with someone who is at a different pace than you are, since you’ll both be working out the same amount of time regardless of how much distance you cover.
  5. Race yourself: A Single Time workout can help you accomplish 5000m (or more!). If you’re looking for a challenge, you can try setting up the monitor for your goal time and see if you can complete 5000 meters or more.
  6. Hide the Screen: Sometimes the most enjoyable workouts are ones where you use your physical cues (heart rate, exertion, breath) to evaluate how you’re doing. Try hiding parts of the monitor with a sticky note or tape. We recommend covering up pace and distance. Using just strokes per minute (s/m) and time, can you guess when you reach halfway? Stop when you think you’ve hit it, then finish up your workout.
  7. 10 x 500m with 2’ rest in between: If you enjoy sprinting, this workout can help take your breath away. Aim for a pace that is a bit slower than your fastest 2k (if known) and allow for your heart rate to recover between intervals.
  8. 4 x 500m (1000m rest in between): A longer rest helps you build up meters in this workout; the 500 meter sprints in this workout give you focus.
  9. Up Ladder 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 2000m (2 minutes rest in between): Workouts that increase distance with each interval demand focus. Each additional interval starts to feel very long; try to avoid sprinting the first few intervals or it will be difficult to maintain your pace on the longer pieces.
  10. Down Ladder 2000m, 1500m, 1000m, 500m (2 minutes rest in between): When each interval decreases in length, time passes quickly but the challenge is to maintain or increase intensity.
  11. 2 x 2500m (3 minutes rest in between): The 2500 meter distance was once the standard in rowing races! This distance pushes you a bit farther than 2k, so ease up on your race pace.
  12. 25 x 100m (100m rest in between): This workout includes a lot of sets, but your work time is balanced with rest time. We recommend taking it easy on the rest periods and building into each work session. Aim for consistency in each interval.

In all workouts, your warm-up, rest meters and cooldown all count towards your daily activity. Be sure to record your results since every meter counts.

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