PodcastTrees and DLake

How an ex-pro runner coached me to my fastest 5k, with Mike Trees

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Mentors, advisors, teachers… COACHES.

Whatever you call them, they are necessary and critical to our success in relationships, business, and endurance sport training!

In this episode I have the honor of being coached directly by ex-pro runner/triathlete Mike Trees as he helped me figure out the best training for me to run a 15:59 5k race.

Listen on to find out how a great coach/athlete fit works and how you can train, race and live better on this episode of Trees of DLake.

What You Will Learn

  • What kind of key workouts I should be doing in the lead up to a 5k race
  • How much stress your body can handle depending on your experience
  • How many sessions I should be doing leading up
  • How many weeks out I should doing these
  • If I should stop doing strength work and when
  • And a whole lot more!

Episode Highlights and Timestamps

[03:15] Mike’s favorite training week in March

[05:53] DLake training plan and current stats

[06:06] What training is too much?

[11:45] What you should train on in the last six weeks

[14:33] Embracing the lactic build-u

[16:27] The Cooldown: Negative split or even split

[18:44] When to use even or negative splits

Notable Quotables

Question Of The Episode

During a race should you even or negative split?



This episode is brought to you by NRG – Coaching which is Mike Trees’ coaching service. Mike coaches beginners to pros and all levels in between.

No one is too fast and no one too slow. They just want a desire to learn and improve.

They focus on 1,500m to marathon running and triathlon training.

NRG Coaching is constantly overbooked, so Instagram and this new podcast venture, gives Mike and the rest of his NRG coaching team a way to reach out to more people.

Contact mike and his team NRG-COACHING.com for more info


Like what you’re hearing? Want to train and live consistently to do dope shit with your health and fitness? Sign for our newsletter “Three Thing Thursday”. We’ll put three perfectly created and curated things in your inbox. This will be regular motivation ranging from tips, tricks, tools, tactics, and skills. And…. they all revolve around being a better human in endurance sport and wellness.

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Original Music Used Here

Full Transcript Below (or download pdf here)


Darren  0:00  

mentors, advisors, teachers, coaches, whatever you call them, they’re necessary and critical to our success in relationships, business and endurance sport Training. In this episode, I have the honor of being coached directly by Mike Trees, as he helped me figure out the best training for me to run a 1559 5k race. Keep listening on To find out how a great coach athlete fit works, and how you can train, race and live better on this episode of Trees and dLake.

What is up Welcome to Trees and D like a podcast series by Mike Trees and yours truly Darren de les creates. In this series Our goal is to educate and entertain smart and committed runners a bit more than that for my Trees.

Mike  0:58  

And the aim of this podcast is to give in a light hearted amusing and entertaining way hints and tips to help your run better and enjoy your sporting life more. So let’s see how we can go with that.

Darren  1:11  

Mike’s been pretty modest. He has over 50 years of running and doing triathlons under his belt. And if you’re wondering about me, I’ve been in the endurance sport game for about 25 years now done a sub three hour marathon and completed an Ironman Triathlon in 10 hours. We appreciate all the help and support that we can get. So if you can please share out this episode to someone that you know that would like this, oh, quick language warning. In some rare instances, we might use some bad words. So apologies in advance for that. As I said at the start, this was a really quick and fun coaching session for Mike Trees. Because Mike is an ex pro endurance athlete and has been coaching for so long, he was able to give me perfect advice. And this was without even knowing me and my history. I took his coaching instructions and ran my fastest five Cape ever 1647 last May of 2021, which puts me right on track to run a 1559 sometime in the future, hopefully this year. While this is specifically for me and my running goals, there’s still a lot you can take away from this episode. Some things you’ll learn what kind of key workouts I should be doing in the lead up to a five kg race, how much stress your body or in this case my body can handle depending on your experience, how many sessions I should be doing leading up to the race, how many weeks out I should be doing these sessions. If I should be doing strength work, and when and a whole lot more. Here’s how the episode will go down. We’ll kick it off with a quick warm up to see where we’re at in our current training. Then get into the main set of the episode which is a sample of Mike Treece coaching advice for me. And we’ll end it with an awesomely polarizing. Would you rather question around racing strategies? Should you negative split or even split? Let’s get into the dialogue with Mike Trees and me. We have a new one for you. And this one, we’re gonna go way back. So take the wayback machine to a few months ago, maybe more like six months ago. And just tell me what your your favorite training week was like, give me a quick summary of your favorite training week in that month.

Mike  3:15  

Well, I was getting ready for a marathon, which didn’t go too well. So for coach, I didn’t practice what I preach. But it was great for I love the training. I love the preparation. And actually even when things go badly, I love the lessons it gives me to think about for next time. So there’s all positive, so I always take the positives out of everything. But what were you doing in March?

Darren  3:37  

Well, before I go on to that, well, what was the learning lesson because these always good tell me what that was?

Mike  3:42  

Well, the learning lesson was, I always go out too fast, I always still believe I’m younger than I am. I can work faster than I can. And instead of going out conservatively and thinking, let’s just get a stake in the ground. And then next time go a little bit quicker. I think now I can do a little bit better than that. And so I’ve learned from that in my Ironman, when I do it, you’ll see me got very conservatively and get through it. Because I’ve made so many mistakes this year, I’m just thinking I’m a little bit younger and a little bit stronger than I actually am Japanese each year I get a little bit weaker, a little bit older. I mean, that’s a fact of life. But my brain doesn’t sort of want to accept that. So it still sends me off at the pace that used to send me off when I was younger and stronger. And that’s the problem. But I’m sure it helps me to understand the issues and help coach a little bit better than I would if I hadn’t done the training myself.

Darren  4:32  

Yeah, true. True on that. Alright, so back in March. What was that? Oh, we just spoke which was cool. And this is actually the whole point of this episode. We’re kind of going back in time a bit. And as I’ve said in the intro, it’s sort of a sample of Mike Trees coaching and energy coaching. He gave me some random advice and only say random as in I came random. He had no background of me and you were able to really help me out. So I was I just spoke to you and I decided to implement the four workouts, the four quality workouts in a week. And I know you don’t count a long run as a quality workout. I personally do because I think they stress me at 90 minute long run stresses

Mike  5:12  

me. It’s not a quality, it’s a quantity workout to quantity. There you go. It stresses you the same way. So quantity gives you the same stress load that equality workout will, it just takes longer.

Darren  5:24  

I like that. That’s good. Good. So yeah, I just implemented the three and the three were, I was doing 3k specific work. 5k specific work and 10k specific work. And then the long run and the problem before that when I spoke to you was I was tacking on my tempo work my 10k work on to the end of my long run, and you told me to split it. And after that, so many gains, but we won’t give away the secret sauce too much. I want people to hear a bit more about that. Warm up complete. So I’m training to run a 1559 in the next two years. The fastest I’ve run. Five get fucking five. Okay, yeah, okay. Yeah, but yeah, fastest I’ve ran is about 17 1705. So here’s a bit of my potential. Right now, I currently can run a 455 mile. And I’m running about 100 days a week, I do two quality days plus a long run. So one is kind of vO two speed work ish day. And then one is a tempo day, sub threshold. Lots of easy runs, I’d say definitely vary at 20 with my running, and I do strength work pliers. I haven’t gotten injured properly in the past maybe two years. I’m on it. You know, I’m at my race weight asleep. Well, I’ve got all the variables. Two questions on my quality days. Do you think I’m doing too many? So the long run is technically a quality day because it can be up to about two hours, two hours, 10 minutes? Depending on where I am. Do you think I’m doing too many? Because I feel great. Have no injuries. I don’t even get Dom’s anymore. Recovery is great. You know, 24 hours later, I’m fully recovered. I feel good. I don’t do the next workout until 48 hours or later. Do you think I should drop it down to one interval day in one long run? Do you think I’m good where I am.

Mike  7:06  

Okay, so going back to more basics. Do you know if you’re running, if you train correctly and efficiently and maximize your training, what the percentage is the breakdown between aerobic and anaerobic for 5000 meters

Darren  7:21  

90%. I

Mike  7:21  

do know that actually, I would say if you get it right, that’s more of a 10,000 meters, I would say you could be getting 25% anaerobic if you can really maximize your training to 5k. So I would say that you’re underachieving on the anaerobic work. But that’s a six week block before the run. So you can be doing all this is great, I would give you a six week block of a 3k session, the speed and the 5k session, and then a 10k session for stamina. And I will vary in and I would probably push you the limit, I might even in the six week block depending on how you respond because you’re good anaerobically if I can get your anaerobic engine really ticked up, I might even put a bit of 1500 meter work in there 3000 meters and 5000 stuff and really focus on the short end and play to your strengths. You said you came from 800, to play to your 815 100 strengths to get the 5k. Whereas you know, you get a marathon runner think well, I’ve got this big aerobic and let’s just maximize the 100 mile weeks that 10k session there 5k. In aerobic capacity, I think there’s two ways of skinning a 5000. And you’re you’re borderline that you could push in a little bit more speed work and really get out get used to running some some K’s in three 310 ks and going quicker than race pace. So when you get this outline, you’re getting through the first couple of days thinking well, this is easy, it’s sitting there. And you’re you’re waiting for us to K when it kicks in, but you can cope with a lactic. So what you’ve got is you’ve got the threshold work for lactic, we work around the threshold, but you’ve got the lactic tolerance. So towards the end the last kilometre of five kg, it doesn’t matter how much lactic you you build up if you can cope with it. And there’s some phenomenal stories of you know, people like Sebastian Coe that could hold it was 1718 millimoles, of lactic per milliliter of per liter of blood in his body, whereas most people you struggle it for. So that’s where the threshold is considered the formula. ML level is a technical term people use, they get passed for and they can’t really run much. But if you can cope with it, absolute tolerance, not the threshold, but the tolerance as well. That’s where you can maximize it. So that tolerance might even get you set like 1520 seconds in the last one kilometre if you can cope with it. That’s huge over 5k. So I would say that what you’re doing is essentially right, but I would give you a six week block at the end, where we tweak it work to your strengths, and it might take a couple of blocks to work out exactly what that is. Is it 1500 work is it 3000 meter work, but I would give you something quicker. And you’re on the borderline at your age. I could cope with 300 sessions a week.

Darren  10:00  

plus the long run, oh, yeah,

Mike  10:02  

the long run, I don’t consider that a session. That’s an easy. Oh, wow, that separate. So if we’re talking at the level you’re running at, I mean, for a beginner runner, and someone that sounds using a lower level, but that haven’t built up and haven’t got the history that you’ve got, I think when you’re looking at 17 minutes, we could look at a Tuesday or Thursday, Saturday, and then do the long run on a Sunday, just as the recovery run. And for 5000, you really, in the last period, you really need to be doing 60 minutes, you don’t need to be you know, over the winter, yeah, build it up 90 minutes longer run. But when you’re doing that real speed work at the end, you don’t want the 90 minutes, because that’s going to knock off the speed at the top end. So I wouldn’t have you running more than 60 minutes for a long run at the end. But I would have you doing a set of 12 400. We’ll say on the track on Tuesday, maybe something a bit longer on the Thursday, where we’re doing a bit more and you’re doing something like eight by 1k, just taking a little bit over and stamina, and then a 5k time trial parkrun on a Saturday. And then as we get closer, we might cut those eight by 1k Down to five by 1k. Just to get you running quicker than race pace, we might alter those 12 by 400, sometimes 12 by 300. To really get the leg speed in there and give you a nice, decent rest so we can get you you know, running quick. And then on easy days is what people get wrong. I can get you running some 50 meters strides. Well, you said the word yourself five seconds ATP. Some people might say it’s up to seven, but it’s 50 meters, it’s fine. If you get along jog between, you could then even do some strides on the days between so we could really maximize the speed work we’re doing so it looks as a year a lot of hard work, but you’re not. Another thing I would do with you is I agree with strength training all year round. But that last six weeks, I think you’re training to build the chassis to make you strong to keep going for a long time. You don’t need it you got to take a few Gamble’s get rid of the strength training because that’s something that will fatigue you that will build the chassis and make you stronger. It won’t specifically help you run faster in that five case. The last six weeks definitely don’t the strength and conditioning. Just work on the conditioning just to keep yourself mobile. Does that help? Wow,

Darren  12:15  

that was that’s what I’ve been wanting to hear. ad

Mike  12:20  


Darren  12:25  

This episode is brought to you by energy coaching, which is my Trees coaching service. Mike and his team of coaches work with beginners to pros and all levels in between. No one is too fast and no one is too slow. They just want a desire to learn and improve. They focus on 1500 meter races to marathon running and triathlon training. Energy coaching is constantly overbooked. So Instagram, and this new podcast venture Trees and D Lake gives Mike and the rest of his energy coaching team a way to reach out to more people and help them contact Mike and his team at nrg-coaching.com. Or go to the link in the show notes.

And back to the show. I’m self coached. And now I’m really considering using you as my coach. You’ve sold me it’s funny, because you know, three years ago, I wouldn’t be able to handle what I’m doing now. I’ve slowly built up to this. But I’m like, I’m not sore anymore. And yeah, I don’t have to be so I know pro runners really don’t get so I had a friend that was a pro. He was like, I don’t get sore anymore. He ran at 147 800. And he’s like, I rarely am sore after workouts. I understand. That’s what happened. So you can’t you can’t gauge you don’t know that I go hard enough by how sore you are. But I definitely am really fresh in and I’m like, okay, that means I can handle more work. And like you said, I’m sitting back going, I don’t have this crazy aerobic engine. I’ve never had it, I can build it. It’s going to take me you know even more years, but it totally makes sense that I capitalize on my speed. I do the the the v dot calculator, which I’m pretty sure you’re you’re well aware of Jack Daniels, and it’s uh, yeah, yeah, I basically I know, if I trained, I could probably run a 440 mile one mile and maybe even 430 If I properly trained for a year, I think I can I still have that in me. That means I should be able to run like a 220 marathon 250. So I’m like the v dot score doesn’t make any sense with what I’m actually you know, what you can do in the v dot score never make sense. You have to It’s just that’s your potential, but you have to actually work at it. So um, I know that I’m heavier on the the speed. So I need to work that especially for the 5k Because like you said, that is more speed. And in my head. I’m like, it’s more Rubik and I think I think it’s a combination. I haven’t, my brain has not seen my body do the speed. past five minutes, the three 310 per kg that I need to do. 312 Okay, it hasn’t seen it. So it’s not allowing me to do it. So it’s like, it’s just like this, this subconscious thing that’s happening where my I just freak out. If I’m whole if I’m like, I start the lactic starts building up, I freak out, and I slow it down a bit, you know, hit 323 25 minutes, like okay, that’s comfortable. That’s not gonna get me where I want to go. So

Mike  14:58  

embrace it, embrace it. I’d have you doing I get you doing it three in the build up, I’d get you doing a 3k time trial on the truck, getting in the 930. That’s your aim. Yeah, it’s quicker than race pace. But it’s, if you can cope with that you’re coping with the lactic buildup, it’s making you more able to cope with it. And it’ll really pay dividends. When you come out, do the race, not so beneficial for 10k. But for 5k. It’s still you know, I think you could take big chunks off of the time. All right.

Darren  15:28  

All right. Well, I’m, it’s, I’m actually going into the last six weeks of this block. So it’s a 12 week block, but I broke it into kind of like, build a building in so I’m ending my vo two max. So I actually wanted to do more race specific. So this is perfect timing, because I actually will implement this over the next four to six weeks. And I’ll probably do four just to be safe, because I don’t want to break myself. And if I do well, then I’ll I’ll either sign up with you or I’ll just implement it but yeah, I’m definitely you’ve sold me you like that, like six weeks

Mike  15:58  

to make a physiological change less than three, you’re probably not going to do much to afford work. A lot of my Guru that I like Arthur Lydiard, who based things he could get people fit, you know, in just a little bit speed work on three or four weeks, so long as the aerobic engines there. It doesn’t take too much anaerobic work to get your fitter four weeks be perfect four weeks, and a nice taper to freshen up and you’ll be raring to go. Lean said finished. Let’s move into the cooldown.

Darren  16:27  

Alright, so now the question Question of the day as we do with all of these episodes, we want to make this a two way conversation. So please feel free to email me talk at de les Chris calm or probably Instagram message. Mike at run.nrg

Mike  16:45  

run.nrg. Yeah, yep. And you

Darren  16:49  

can or you can message me at D Lake creates. And the question the question, the question is, it’s about race day, because we’re talking about races in this episode. Would you rather negative split or even split? There’s no right or wrong answer. But usually we have a side that we pick. Mike, would you rather negative split or even split on race day?

Mike  17:09  

So you think you know my answer would actually my answer is complex, because over 10k negative split, definitely. But I would say a 5k is slightly, you’ve got to get out fast, you’ve got to try and hold it in the middle, then push on Howard at the end. So 5k tends to go first K faster than average second K faster than average, third K drops a bit a little bit below average fourth K, you might still be below average and 5k pulling it back. But it’s possible to do that because you built up an ability to cope with a lactic that’s going to build up in your bloodstream. But a marathon as I keep finding is definitely in my view, it’s a negative split all the way because you want to save everything till the end. And if you if you go into the red if you use a few too many carbs early on, or you go into the red zone as in buildup lactic acid early on, it’s gonna come back and bite you in the bum at the end, and I’ve been going out the trouble is I’ve been going out thinking I can do a 249 marathon, whereas really, I’m in shape to do a sub three. If I go out, like 305 pace and negative split down to 255 place paste I probably come home nicely in 259 but I go out at four minute ks which is probably 249 pace, and then I ended up doing five 530s And I’ve got a post I put on Instagram with me hobbling home in a marathon at about six minutes per kg pace. So yeah, it’s definitely a case of do as I say not as I do, as the coach would say.

Darren  18:44  

Yeah, okay, I’m gonna I like to answer I’m going to piggyback on that just my opinion. There’s science out there. There’s a lot of coaches Mike is obviously a coach I’m a I’m a coach but not as experienced as Mike I’d say I’ve never thought about the race because a lot of everyone says negative split negative split and I think so many people base that off of most people doing a half marathon a marathon everyone’s doing these long races you know and you know our if you’ve listened to this podcast already previous episodes you know, our stats were a bit more on the faster get it done. Even though Mike is doing an Ironman, which is ironic to everything he’s doing, you know, 19 hour race, but back to the the negative split versus even split. I think you should strive for overall even splitting for shorter races. And funny enough is a lot of the the eight hundreds and 1500s Are there negative split? I think the world records, the 800 board records end up being positive split, some of them end up being positive split, so when you get down to the shorter races 400 I don’t know if you can even split those like it’s just such a fast race anything below 400 It’s just too damn fast. I think I’ve seen the 800 I’ve seen a couple of guys. Rudisha, I think he positive split on his world. He has 140 800 and he positive split, but that’s pros. You’re dealing with a whole different set of people there but I think Some of those lessons can be, can be used by amateurs in that it depends on the terrain, this is a track a track is usually perfect, you might have a wind and some of the you know on a turn or straight. But if you have a terrain where Tilly, you got to take that into account, so get off your get off your pacing, and maybe think about perceived rate of exertion, or rate of exertion, that’s something that a lot of people don’t think about. And in the beginning of a race, when you have no lactate going at that whatever pace you’re doing is going to be so much easier. So maybe thinking about, hey, it’s gonna feel easy, and that’s okay. And then knowing that it will feel harder, but you’re still keeping the same pace. So I’m kind of you know, I’m not really I’m obviously negative split person, I think even split is always best if you have a perfectly flat course with no wind. But thinking about the perceived rate of exertion based on certain certain factors in the race. And also if you’re doing a 10k or longer, so that’s my answer to no answer.

Mike  20:52  

So in essence, though, it’s a five and the 10k distance, you should start off, and just gradually, based on perceived effort, you should gradually notched up each k, as you go along, we pushing a little bit harder, it might be that the reality is you’re actually going a little bit slower each time. But if you just try and maintain the speed, it’s very difficult, what you need to do is just constantly think you have a little bit left, I can push a bit harder and push a bit harder. And as you fatigue, the release to go quicker is going down. And so these runners, although they’re maintaining the same speed, it is exponentially getting harder and harder each k. So if you go out feeling it’s pretty hard, the first k, you haven’t got that exponential curves to go up to keep the same. So one thing’s gonna give, and it’s gonna be the pace, and it’s gonna go, whatever the opposite of an exponential curve going is, it’s going to be a huge drop off, there’s just gonna tail straight off, and you’re gonna slow down. So that’s the advice, really perceived effort is really the way to go. And just keep notching it up a little bit as you go along. And the same with the marathon go out feeling comfortable, first, you know, halfway in a marathon, you should feel really comfortable. And then you know, sort of up to 30k, it’s starting to get real from 3002, even to 35 37k, you’re still holding something back. And then when you get 37k marketing, well, it’s okay to go. It doesn’t matter. I just got to do everything now. And that’s the time when you can’t talk. You can’t, you know, you’ve got no spare breath. It’s just breathing and it’s focusing on keeping moving. So the time ultimately is the time. It’s the effort that you you plan over that time span to gradually not show up until there’s nothing left in the tank. And hopefully, nothing left in the tank coincides with the finish line. Not before and not after the bang. That’s the theory.  

Darren  23:06  

is the health and fitness internet too much sometimes, too many conflicting articles and videos that confuse you on how to train a deep right. Or you don’t have time to just read and watch everything about I don’t know the new trends on carb cycling for trail running. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of all that for you. Sign up for our free email newsletter three thing Thursday. We’ll put three perfectly curated and created things in your inbox for better living and training. Go to V lay creates.com/ttt We do the hard time consuming work and scour the health and fitness internet’s deepest and darkest corners. This is so that every Thursday you have a piping hot new email with the latest and coolest tips, tricks, tools, tactics and skills. Also that you can train and live consistently to do dope shit in your next endurance event. If you sign up now you can receive my quick guide on how to get healthy, stay fit and use data to create habits that last a lifetime that dla creates.com/ttt to be inspired and motivated on the regular time Tom is a resource no one can make more of so we appreciate you taking precious time out of your day to listen this far. Our goal is to show the world how to live better through running, cycling and triathlon. The episode and many others have a transcription go to the show notes description to find out more. This was produced in Sydney, Australia and I’d like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora nation who are the traditional custodians of this land. I pay my respects to the elders past, present and future. I recognize the continuing connection to the land, waters and culture. These lands were stolen and sovereignty was never ceded. If you liked this episode, again, we’d highly appreciate if you go on whatever app you listen to, and make sure to follow. DLA creates podcast. We’re on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcasts, Amazon, a cast and a bunch of others. And if you’re feeling real loose a rating review or share of this episode to anyone you know that would be into something like this. Would it be Amazing. If you have any questions concerns, suggestions for the episode or hell you want to be on the show, hit us up. The best way is to email talk ta lk at D Lake creates.com. We’re also on the socials, mainly Instagram, you can hit up my Trees at the letters are u n.in. RG or you can hit me up on Instagram at D Lake creates.com Or just wherever you can find us. It’s fun. If you need any transcripts, you’re into podcasting, or let’s say you just are big into accessibility. Please use the company that we use speech docs, you can check them out at speech docs.com Don’t worry if you didn’t get all that there’s a link in the show notes description. Thank you again so much for listening. Peace.