One of the first barriers I recall as a beginning runner was the 5 minute mile. Since then, average pace for any distance has always been in the back of my head. Once I broke 5 minutes for one mile, the target became 10 minutes for 2 miles (10:10 was the closest I ever got in high school). Now, some 35 years later, my focus is to run under 6 min for just 3.1 miles. Yesterday, I failed again, averaging 6:11 (19:03).
I feel like I can run that pace for a 10K (I did run 39 min in October- 6:17 pace), so why what do I need to do if I want to run faster? My workouts tell me that I am pretty fit, but if I want to run under 6 min pace, clearly I have to include more time actually running under 6- that means shorter, more intense intervals with longer recovery. In addition, I plan to do what I can to add a little strength with Hindu Squats and maybe hills/stairs (I live on the 10th floor- why take the elevator?)
When all fails, I take a peek at the Runner's World Age Graded Calculator. My age graded time for a 19:03 5K is a decent but not great 15:27. The calculator says an 18:30 is good for a 15:01, slightly faster than my all time PR. Stay tuned.