I often go through running literature and use time to time running calculators to see how they stack up against anecdotal long term coach observations. In this regard, I can share a couple of training ideas with you and this could be giving you options to improve faster. Or to find the missing clue in your training, what is holding you back.
We can see 2 type of giant mistakes in case of chosen intensities. One is when hard workouts are not hard enough and easy workouts are not easy enough. That is the case when athletes go always a bit higher than need to be, often slipping up to zone 3 or low zone 4 and this burns the “anaerobic” candle too much. When they have to go hard with specific intensities, they cannot, they are too tired, or they can but the recovery will be way too long to enjoy the real benefits of these focused hard efforts.
The other mistake can be the total opposite. Easy runs are too easy and hard runs are too hard. In this case the athletes develop their anaerobic system over the advantage of the aerobic one. There is no middle ground. Zone 5 or Zone 1. It is a sprinter mentality and often achieved because of a training group being too strong for the athlete who tries to keep up.
In order to develop the necessary body confidence for running a 10k, an athlete must go through multiple phases of training and respect the paces prescribed. This will assure correct total running volume, health and development.
I use again this 35min 10km example and system at the moment as I am coming back from a long trail running season and that is my first step. I also find that this is the final easy genetic limit what an athlete can surpass in a leisurely way, before going really berserk on volume, training, sleep and eating.
Training paces explained
- Aerobic Capacity
4:07 to 5:00/km
- Improve resistance, lactate threshold and to do over distance work
1000 / 2000 / 3000 / 5000m repeats
3:34 to 3:36/km
- Improve Anaerobic capacities while keeping health and development in mind
200 / 300 / 400 / 500 / 600 / 800 / 1000m repeats
3:20 to 3:23/km
The first point to understand, that as you improve your fitness, these paces will very slightly switch downwards and also volumes at these paces will go up.
The second point to understand is the application of paces to surfaces. In case of aerobic capacity you can shift these paces downwards up to 20 seconds from road to track. That is not obligatory, but advisable for some workouts. In this realm however pace doesn’t really matter as volume takes care of the development. A 3:45/km track pace worth 4:00/km on concrete on streets or about 3:48 to 3:52 on a race course.
In case of lactate threshold and anaerobic routines, you also have to increase the pace, if you worked on the track. 2 to 6 seconds for the volume oriented work and 1 to 3 seconds for the speedier sets. You can start out with the original paces and see how your preparation races and time-trials go. If you are lacking the necessary resistance and arriving short of 15 to 25 seconds of your goal time, look back at your training. How long have you been training, what volumes at what paces on what surfaces. Do you just need more time ? Do you need more volume ? Do you need more speed ? Do you need other type of workouts ? Do you need to improve your form ? Maybe simply lose 5kg of weight ?
Final steps. The closer you go to a race, especially an “A” race, the more your workout paces and volumes should correspond to race pace. A couple of 200m repeats at the end of a lactate threshold workout @ 35s is a good idea to stimulate leg-speed. However a full 3 x (10 x 200m) set should be more likely done at 39 to 41 seconds with short recoveries and should actually feel quite doable and sort of easy.
Track workouts for the 35min 10k
- 2 x (3 x (2000m)) @ 3:35/km /r3:00 /R5:00
- 4 x 3000 @ 3:36/km /r3:00
- 4000 @ 3:36/km /r4:00 + 3000 @ 3:33/km /r3:00 + 2000 @ 3:30/km /r2:30 + 1000 @ 3:28/km
Sounds pretty high volume. It is not. Simply, pacing is crucial. If you goal pace is 3:36 and you went out at 3:31 on the first split, you just have compromised the entire workout and most likely will not finish it. The goal is to improve resistance. There are time trials and 10km pace specific practice. This is not one of them. This is a regular weekly resistance run.
- 4 x (6 x (500m)) @ 3:23/km /r45s /R4:00 => the 500s are @ 1:41 to 1:42
- 15 x 400 @ 1:20 /r1:10 or 4 x (5 x 400) @ 1:20 /r0:40 /R3:00
- 4 x (8 x 200/100) 40s/ (r30 – 35s)
These are some routines on the faster end, that can be used. Of course the closer we arrive to the race, the more they have to converge towards race pace. This is to create a lot of volume at race pace, what is strength, confidence and all the physiological abilities.
Any questions ? Post in the comments section. I’ll try to find and answer for you !