Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Straight Talk: from Runners World on improving an intermediate runner's 10K

Continuing on this series on improving one's 10K run.


You'll be glad to hear that 10-K training forms the foundation of all-around fitness, because it includes ample amounts of the three core components of distance running--strength, stamina, speed.

By Doug Rennie
From the July 2004 issue of Runner's World


You've been running a year or more, done some 5-Ks, maybe even a 10-K. But you've always finished feeling like you could have, or should have, gone faster. You consider yourself mainly a recreational runner, but you still want to make a commitment to see how fast you can go.

Here's the two-pronged approach that will move you from recreational runner to the cusp of competitive athlete. First, you'll be adding miles to your endurance-building long run until it makes up 30 percent of your weekly mileage. Second, you'll now be doing a substantial amount of tempo running aimed at elevating your anaerobic threshold, the speed above which blood lactate levels skyrocket--a gulping-and-gasping prelude to your engine shutting down for the day. How to avoid this unpleasantness? With regular sessions at a little slower than10-K pace--that is, tempo-run pace. This will significantly improve your endurance and running efficiency in just six weeks.

So your tempo work will include weekly "10-10s," along with a mixed grill of intervals and uphill running, all of which strengthen your running muscles, heart, and related aerobic systems (see "Stuff You Need To Know,").

Oh, one more thing: Running fast requires effort--and some discomfort. Still, be conservative. If you can't maintain the same pace throughout a given workout, or if your body shrieks "No mas!" then call it a day. And maybe adjust your pace next time.

Get Your Training Started Find the 10K Plan for Intermediate Runners and more at the Runner's World Personal Trainer.

Race Day Rules
"Many intermediate runners run too fast in the first 5-K," says Coach Sinclair. "That's the surest way to run a mediocre time. Even pace is best, which means the first half of the race should feel really easy." Sinclair's wife and co-coach, Kim Jones, a former U.S. Olympian, adds this: "Divide the race into three 2-mile sections: doable pace for the first 2, push a bit the middle 2, then go hard the last 2."

Stuff You Need To Know
Pace Intervals (PI): Run at 10-K goal pace to improve efficiency and stamina, and to give you the feel of your race pace. For 10-minute pace (a 1:02:06 10-K), run 2:30 (for 400 meters), 5:00 (800m), 7:30 (1200m). For 9-minute pace (55:53), run 2:15 (400m), 4:30 (800m), 6:45 (1200m). For 8-minute pace (49:40), 2:00 (400m), 4:00 (800m), 6:00 (1200m). With pace and speed intervals (below), jog half the interval distance to recover.

Speed Intervals (SI)
Run these at 30 seconds-per-mile faster than goal pace. For 10-minute pace, run 2:22 (for 400m), 4:44 (800m), 7:06 (1200m). For 9-minute pace, 2:08 (400m), 4:16 (800m), 6:24 (1200m).
For 8-minute pace, 1:53 (400m), 3:45 (800m), 5:38 (1200m).

10-10s: 10-minute tempo repeats at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10-K goal pace; 3- to 5-minute slow jog after each.

Total Uphill Time (TUT): Run repetitions up the same hill, or work the uphill sections of a road or trail course.

Strides (S): Over 100 meters, gradually accelerate to about 90 percent of all-out, hold it there for 5 seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to full recovery after each.

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