Pyramid training - scary!

I have a 10K race coming up on the 25 November for which I am targeting sub 45 mins, and my on-line coach sent me this training for this coming Sunday (18 Nov), one week from my race.  It seems very scary image - grateful for any comments/tips please!

I am a 45 yrs old female.

A.  5 x 400m @ 1:32 per 400m , 400m jog in between

  • 5 mins jog or rest

 B.  2 sets x [600 / 800 / 1K / 800 / 600] @ 1:41 per 400m 

  • After 600m – 1.5 mins rest, plus 200m recovery jog
  • After 800m – 2 mins rest, plus 200m recovery jog
  • After 1K – 2.5 mins rest, plus 200m recovery jog
  • After completion 1st set, take 1.5 mins jog or rest
  • Jog 5-10 mins

 C.  4K Mid pace continuous run


  • pretty scaryimage


    but if you're targeting sub 45 you can do it

    what is your experience with online coaching? I have been wondering about such options but am sceptical if it's good value for money

  • Why are coaches so keen on these kind of sessions - what is wrong with 4*1600m or 8 * 800  - keep it simple.    

    Fwiw I think that session is too hard for someone targeting 45 minutes too.   I have doubts whether you would be able to complete it but doing sessions like that on your own is a sure way to destroy any enjoyment in the sport.   

    Having said that you may as well give it a go and see how you get on - it might work and you might enjoy it - good luck.

  • It does seem quite complicated - but if it was easy - you'd not need a coach ?

    I don't think it matters much what we think Moira.

    What do you think of it ?

    Is it achievable- it's not a massive leap on what you have done before ? Is it clear enough ?

    You have to trust in the plan and commit fully for best results.

    Good luck.
  • Honestly? With a decent warm up (2 miles) this session becomes 13.5 miles with 6 miles of quality at a pace faster than your target 5k pace! I got under 45 mins after a lot of work but nothing approaching this. If you manage this session, you'll smash 45 minutes.

  • Hmm!  I'll let you guys know after Sunday, if I'm still alive!  

    Does seem a bit drastic, and no, I have not run sessions like this before....I think it is either 400m reps or pyramids, which I have done only once (v hard).  

    What did you do to go under 45 mins, Chubby Bloke?  

  • There was a interesting article in AW last week - Jason Henderson the editor had been sent details of a 'running' coach who was charging £70 per month or something stupid to coach runners running London next April - on closer inspection it turned out to be a fitness instructor who had no experience of running or coaching - the suggestion was to get down to a running/athletic club join and be coached by experienced coaches who know what they are talking about -

    I suppose that the session is OK if it is broadly in line with what you have been doing up to now and have the fitness to deal with it and recover from it

  • I went 39 mins off the back of marathon training - no intervals or pyramids and average weekly running was 22 miles or so. 

    A lot of my runs did tend to be 6 miles at a good speed though - so I was basically practicing them most times that I ran.  

  • Is the session a choice of A, B, or C rather than all three together?  Is seems an awful lot to do the whole lot.

    Session B looks like a decent workout; A is short and fast, but C doesn't look like enough on it's own. 

    My tip would be - make sure you do a decent warmup. 2-3 miles otherwise you'll struggle to hit 1.30 for the first couple of 400s.

  • Yes it does seem to be a bit overkill for sub 45 mins! Especially a week before the race.

    The quarter mile reps at the beginning would feel uncomfortable for someone at this stage. They are like pace intervals for a sub 38 min runner.

    I'd say that the overall workout looks more like something for a sub 40 min 10K runner.....and one that wouldn't be done so soon before the race.

    Frankly, one week out from the race I tend to do a 4 mile race pace time trial. Your race pace needs to be sub 7:15 per mile. You aren't going to improve your fitness 7 days before the race, but you can improve your confidence and your pacing with some race pace practice mile reps or half mile reps with a very small recovery between each.

    Best of luck....

  • I agree with Jamie.  Getting you to do your first ever pyramid session one week out from your target race seems odd.  Any quality work at this stage should be practising race pace; in contrast, half the battle of doing your first pyramid session is getting a feel for how to pace pyramid sessions!  There has to be a danger of overcooking it and not being able to complete the session within the prescribed times, which isn't gonna be great for confidence.

  • I'm a 41 yo female and went sub 45 for a 10k in Sept. No interval training but lots of tempo runs. Still fairly new to running so didn't know much about pacing so used to do all my training runs too fast. But the week before my race, I just did an 8 mile easy run on the Sunday and then a short 3 mile tempo run on the Wednesday. Then nothing until the race on the Sunday. Good luck!
  • My on-line coach give me a schedule once a week, when I have passed him my running log from the previous one.  I have met him and he is a marathon runner (long distance as opposed to short-mid-distance), so sometimes am concerned with the amount of miles he dumps on me.  Currently run between 40 to 50K a week, and race HM and 10Ks only.

    SlowKoala, well done on sub-45 mins, this has evaded me so far, with my best time at 30s slower.

    What is the main purpose of pyramid sessions anyway?  Why can't I just do 1K or 800m reps?  And I don't think I have ran 400m reps at under 4:00/K anyway, seems very fast.....!

    So the general concensus seems to be fast and long tempo runs.....right?  Chubby Bloke, is that what you did?


  • I would look at 2m warm up, 5 x 1 mile at race pace (7:11) with 90s-2min rest between each. If you can do this then sub 45 should be on the cards.

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    Ironically I was informed recently that this type of training is bread-and-butter for some people, not out of the ordinary at all.  At least in this situation you are peaking for the race!

    A. is speed-endurance, and would be a reasonable early winter season middle distance session.  It's a bit faster than your 1500 pace (assuming you are presently ready for a 45 min 10k), but 400 jog recovery could take you 3 minutes so you're getting a good rest.  That session, easily achievable.  image

    B. is odd to my eyes only because I change pace on a pyramid, but here you're keeping steady pace and changing distance and recovery, so it's not really odd.  This is done at your 3k pace (same assumption).  One set would be easily achievable due to the long rests and gently rolling starts.  Two sets?  That's 7.6k at your 3k pace.  If I understand the between-sets rest as being cumulative with the post-600 rest then this would still be a killer session on its own.  If you're supposed to do it after already testing your speed-endurance in A., it's possible that at some stage during the second set you'll be bringing up your lunch.  image

    C.  Well, there's a decent warm down.  image

    If you can achieve this, you're ready to thrash 45 mins.  I think your coach should know whether you're capable of this.  Perhaps he's just not telling you that you're actually going to go sub-40??  image

  • It seems like a lot a week before a target race. My coach would have put that session in reverse (getting faster and shorter as the session goes on, rather than slower and further, as we always aimed for negative splits), but not the weekend before a race I'd been working up to for a long time. By that point all the hard work should be done, and it should just be about sharpening and fine tuning.

  • I completed this session!   Relief!  

    Did a 1.5K warm up, then I went flat out for the 5x 400m reps, cos my watch was a bit on the blink and I averaged 1:29 per 400m.  Really killed me!  Each time I got to 200, I was already tired and wanted to stop....

    After my first set of pyramids I almost gave up 'cos it started to rain, but persevered and completed the 2nd set.  All within the target time...yeah!  The way I approached it was to take it one bit at a time, without thinking about the 'unrun' portions.  Baby steps.

    My 4K steady run after the pyramids averaged at 5:03/K, quite tired afterwards, but not as bad I thought I would be.

    Sent my log to my on-line coach, hope he is impressed, cos I am very impressed with myself.  

    Have recovered and now just have to tackle my race this Sunday....

  • Hi Moira,

    Please for your race sake don't do any serious quality work this week. Perhaps just some race pace training reps.

    You did well to complete that session!!

  • Moira Kwok wrote (see)

    I completed this session!   ....

    Well that shows what we all know about training !    Well done, do let us know how you get on in the race, it should feel easy after that. 

  • Well done ! I doubt I could run that session - it looked so tricky I'd have to be running with the instructions in one hand the whole time !

  • Well done. You should fine sub 45 a walk in the park after that one!

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