Choosing a training plan

I am already registered for a few spring races, and YIKES my first batch of 5k’s are barely 5 weeks away. I know I can slog my way through a 5K if I need to. The question is, should I choose a deliberate plan that will help me improve my 5k time, or do I just jump into a proper half marathon plan?

I need to start training NOW, yet I’m not sure what training program to use. For my very first 5K, I had never done any running before and I used Couch to 5K. Then I used Jeff Galloway’s training for my half marathon, using a 2:30 to 1 run/walk ratio. It was great. However I refused to slow down my pace for my “long run” days, which came to bite me in the end. (My “long run” pace was over 15 mins per mile, which is practically walking!) I ended up with a knee issue 6 weeks before my race date, and during the race I had to do a 2 min walk/1 min run. I’m pretty sure the speedy long runs, especially when I was running so little during the week, were the culprit of my knee injury.

I have a trio of 5K races coming up in March. I am thinking about doing the Run Less, Run Faster program (Furman FIRST training) from now until the race, then transitioning into a half marathon program from March til May. The Furman program’s long runs are generally 7 miles so that I will have plenty of time to get up to half marathon training distance. I will have to carve out some serious time for training and it’s going to be tough. Last year I was only running 35-45 minutes on my two short run days. The Furman method will have me doing up to 6 miles on a weekday run. Even the interval training days will take a long time because my pace is slow. So I’m looking at over an hour of running, plus say a half hour of travel/locker room time. But if you want results, you gotta put in the time. I know I won’t improve very much if I’m running 35 minutes a day.
Any other recommendations?

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