8 weeks till 10k - How to get the most from training

Hi guys,

 

I'm running in the Manchester 10k on 26th May and up until the last few weeks my training was going well. I ran my first 10k in London last year and completed it in 55mins 10secs. Since continuing my training I have managed a PB of 50.48 which was about a month ago.

Unfortunately due to weather (icy pavements rather than the cold itself) and slight injury issues, my trianing has been very minimal of the past weeks. The last 10k training run I did about 2 weeks ago ended with a time of 54.07 - which was a struggle and I felt really disappointed.

With just under 8 weeks to go I really want to try and get the best out of my training. I was considering doing some interval type training to improve my running.

Can anyone recommend any plans to stay on track? I've maninly been running a 10k once or twice a week, but feel I need to do more high intensity training to make improvements.

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Comments

  • You absolutely need to be doing interval training to get faster. Sets and repetitions of 200s, 400s, 800s, even 1000s with varying recoveries @ various paces from 3K - 10k over the next 8 weeks will definitely reap results.

     

     

  • Yeah I'll give that a go. I generally run on footpaths, so are there any recommended timing intervals rather than distance I could work to?

  • You can get a couple of 4 week cycles into that time - 3 weeks building +10% / week, then a week where you only do half the previous total. Then repeat starting from the week 2 total milage. The week 4 rest is critical, don't go all out thinking it'll help.

    Eg (rough idea - and the starting milage would depend on where you are now...):

    Week 1: 15m / Week 2: 17m / Week 3: 19m / Week 4: 10m

    Week 5: 17m / Week 6: 19m / Week 7: 21m / Week 8: 4m+race

     

    During the week do one session with intervals, one long slow run (something like 1hr-1:30), and one other shortish run at near race pace. If you have to sacrifice one run for whatever reason, make it this last one. 

    But yeah, if you train to plod you'll end up a plodder, you need to do some speed work to get faster. Intervals or fartlek are the best way (IMO) to get this. They need to be hard: the day after you should be able to feel it. (As in tired, no injured!) If you don't have a GPS or track nearby you can always use time based intervals, for example 8 x (1 min hard / 1 min jog). Do a couple of km slow to warm up and cool down.

  • Another possibility I forgot to mention would be hill repeats: run up a hill, then jog back down. Repeat image

     

    You'll need a hill at least 1-2min long.

  • I would have to disagree with a few posts on this thread.

    The key session to improve 10k pace is a tempo session. The bare minimum you should be doing session wise in a week is a tempo session and a long run padded out with other stuff.

    A 10k race is mostly, not 100% but not TOO far off, aerobic. You can improve your 400s all you want but if you can't maintain pace they're no use.

    Build in one tempo session a week of 20-30 minutes. The pace of a tempo is in heart rate terms 80-85% of your max heart rate which SHOULD equate to 10ish seconds per mile slower than your 10k race pace.

    Speedwork is important too but not as important for a 10k. The key time to do the real sharpening stuff is 3-4 weeks leading up to a race. 400s should be done at 5k pace and not flat out. Before that longer intervals of maybe a k or so.

    -------------------------------------------

    The key to improving 10k times is to improve your strength / endurance. Long running and tempo running are the key sessions. Anything other than that is bonus territory. Sessions should be done at appropriate effort levels too.

  • Tempo or intervals, I guess we can both agree that the key thing is doing some faster runs, rather than just going long and slow. 

  • Well it's targetting your lactate threshold via tempos I would have said Jim. It's what our coach would preach to us and it's worked well.

  • fair point Tommy and tempo running has been a major contributor to my recent improvements, although I do both a tempo and interval sessions per week.

    Matt - a staple of my training is the timed interval tempo:

    5x 5mins @ threhold pace off 60 second recovery;

    4x 6 mins @ threshold off 90 sec recovery;

    i even have a 8x 5mins @ threshold off 60 secs planned for tomorrow myself

    Easily doable on a long straight road or footpath. (threshold being in line with tommy's slightly slower than 10k pace)

  • All really helpful guys. I just needed to visualise how I was going to go about so I can crack on with it. Unfortuantely I'm suffering from a bad neck at the moment so I really need to up my game in the coming weeks once I'm ready to run again.

  • Yep there is definitely room for intervals in there. The "theory" is you need about 4 weeks of them to sharpen.

    I have found my improvements of the last 3 months have mainly come from tempos / long runs and a bit of fartlek thrown in.

    Key session to me is the tempo and shouldn't be missed in a week. Intervals are very useful but tempo is where your key improvements will come from. They'll increase efficiency so will get you some gains.

    Our tempos are on a track so end up 2x15 minutes with 2 minute break in between. I wouldn't recommend a tempo on a track...

  • All good advice, thanks. I had been using a 10k iPhone app which was using intervals of running followed by recovery. It wasn't specifying a tempo, but I found that during the running sections which were between 5-7 minutes I was pushing my tempo and work rate that bit harder. In an avergae week recently I've only been doing one or two 10k runs at steady pace.



    So, what should my weeks look like in terms of training sessions. I gather I should do some tempo runs and longer steady runs.
  • 3 sessions a week- intervals, tempo and long run(at least 75 minutes). If you can only do 2 sessions do your tempo and a long run. (A 7 minute interval is almost sufficiently long that it is a tempo if you do a few repeats)

    Anything else should be easy running and cross training or core work really.

    N.B. I would classify intervals as shorter bursts - e.g. 400s / ks/ hill reps. 7 minutes x however many would be more like a tempo.

  • I am also running the 10k in Manchester Matt, so see you on the start line. I am only up to week 11 of the 10k plan with now 7 1/2  weeks to go. So I am running 8.2 km at the moment of which about 1k is walking. Not done exercise for 20 years though so I am happy with my progress.

    I am way off your pace and i will be happy to finish, but secretly wanting sub 60 mins (not sure i will manage that, think more like 70 mins for me).

    Some good points above that i will work on once I have completed week 14.

    This will give me 4 weeks to do some quicker runs mentioned above if indeed my legs will hold out.

    Would I follow the same advice as above, or perhaps something a little less strenuous for me as I am clearly not at the same level as Matt.

    Comments would be welcomed.

  • John Jenkins 8 wrote (see)

    I am also running the 10k in Manchester Matt, so see you on the start line. I am only up to week 11 of the 10k plan with now 7 1/2  weeks to go. So I am running 8.2 km at the moment of which about 1k is walking. Not done exercise for 20 years though so I am happy with my progress.

    I am way off your pace and i will be happy to finish, but secretly wanting sub 60 mins (not sure i will manage that, think more like 70 mins for me).

    Some good points above that i will work on once I have completed week 14.

    This will give me 4 weeks to do some quicker runs mentioned above if indeed my legs will hold out.

    Would I follow the same advice as above, or perhaps something a little less strenuous for me as I am clearly not at the same level as Matt.

    Comments would be welcomed.

    All the best with it John. I did the British 10k in London last year having used the 10k iPhone app. hadn't really done any structured running for years before that. I was really happy with my 55mins 10secs.

    Tempo running has to go into my training regime now.

  • John the main thing if you're moving up to 10k from less of a fitness level is to get the fitness level up.

    The best way to get the fitness up, in my view, is slow miles. I would concentrate on getting slow miles done to build up the fitness until you're over 10k(doesn't need to be much).

    After you've done that then maybe once a week in a run(though the slower runs are more important) do a mile faster(as in at a pace that can be maintained for a while but is reasonably hard to run) and build up to a couple. Keep the effort level not too high on these mind you as they're not a race.

  • All this talk of training makes me want to get running again ASAP. This bad neck of mine is driving me crazy!

  • Johnas wrote (see)

    fair point Tommy and tempo running has been a major contributor to my recent improvements, although I do both a tempo and interval sessions per week.

    Matt - a staple of my training is the timed interval tempo:

    5x 5mins @ threhold pace off 60 second recovery;

    4x 6 mins @ threshold off 90 sec recovery;

    i even have a 8x 5mins @ threshold off 60 secs planned for tomorrow myself

    Easily doable on a long straight road or footpath. (threshold being in line with tommy's slightly slower than 10k pace)

    So if I did 5 x 5mins with 60 seconds recovery, would doing this twice a week and a longer run help me achieve improvements?

    I guess I'm trying to get a plan in the simplest terms, so I can get training. 

    I want to be able to write out a plan Mon - Sunday (including rest days) to know exactly what I have to work to. 

  • Hi Matt... To give you an example, I have a mate who over the years had never broken 1.43 for the half marathon - he'd run 2 or 3 HMs a year and was always  between 1.45 - 1.43. Mr consistent but was dead keen to set a PB in Amsterdam HM last October.

    We looked at his weekly training (like you, a few runs per week - same distance, same pace) and changed it as follows;

    Mon - recovery run to work (about 40mins)

    Tues - tempo intervals such as 5x 5mins off 60 secs recovery

    Weds - rest

    Thurs - tempo such as his run home from work (40mins) with 2x 10mins @ threshold with 3 min recoveries or fartleks of 5mins, 4mins, 3 mins, 2mins, 1min with 90 sec recoveries between each

    Fri - rest

    Sat - rest or a cheeky 30mins easy if he felt like it

    Sun - easy long run (we started at 60 mins and built up to 90 mins). As he was training for half marathon we injected some Half Marthon Pace into these long runs in the final weeks as race day came close.

    How did he do? In 8 weeks of training he finished in 1.38. image

  • Tried my first tempo session last night. Found it hard work, but that may be because I've had a bit of a lay off in the last week or so.

    I did 5 minute warm up then 3 x 5 mins with 60 secs recovery in between ending with a 5 minute cool down. Did struggle a bit to maintain the pace for all 5 minute bursts.

    Overall, including the warmup/cooldown and recovery parts I was running around a 9 minute mile according to my 10k app. The app's quite handy, as on week 8 of the plan it has 5 minute runs followed by 1 minute walks for between 8-10 repetitions. I just used this as an audio guide to indicate when to run and when to recover.

  • Matt which app did you use for the tempo runs, i think i missed it in the conversation. It will be worth me looking at it for the final 3 or 4 weeks of my training.

  • It's called 'Run 10k - interval training coach + stretch program' its developed by Felt Tip Inc. I'm not sure how much it is now, but i'm sure it only cost me about £3.

    When I did the 10k last year, I'd done no structured running in years. The app is a 13 week training plan, which takes you from intervals of 30 seconds walking and 4min 30 secs running all the way up to running a full 10k. Obviously if you're already running a bit then you may not need to start from scratch.

    It includes a total distance read out and an average pace, which is invaluable when trying to ascertain your improvements. You get a 5 minute warm up period including a time to stretch, and then off you go.

  • Matt Downes wrote (see)

    Tried my first tempo session last night. Found it hard work, but that may be because I've had a bit of a lay off in the last week or so.

    I did 5 minute warm up then 3 x 5 mins with 60 secs recovery in between ending with a 5 minute cool down. Did struggle a bit to maintain the pace for all 5 minute bursts.

    Overall, including the warmup/cooldown and recovery parts I was running around a 9 minute mile according to my 10k app. The app's quite handy, as on week 8 of the plan it has 5 minute runs followed by 1 minute walks for between 8-10 repetitions. I just used this as an audio guide to indicate when to run and when to recover.

    great to see you've had a stab at the tempo intervals. You're wise to start with 3 reps first but I would increase the recovery between to start with to at least 90 secs - 2 mins. Over time you can increase the amount of reps or the time of the interval whilst decreasing the recovery.

    You will find it tough to start - your body is not used to it. But that's what causes the adaptations. The pace should be 'controlled discomfort' - where easy runs are 'conversational' in pace, threshold running should be 3 or 4 words max. Based on your 10k time, the average pace for your threshold should be around 8 - 8.30 min mile if that makes more sense to you with your app.

  • Thanks Johnas, that's really helpful. i'll apply that to my next tempo run.

     

  • I was doing a slow jog as recovery - is that the right approach?

  • slow jog is ideal but don't be scared to walk around between as a recovery either.

    Does the app recommend you stretch before or after your run out of interest?

  • The app includes 5 minute warm up. The app states 4 minutes warm up (i.e. walk) folliowed by a minute of stretching). Then the cooldown is 4 minutes follwed by a minute of stretching again - it also includes stretch examples.

    I've been led to believe (from various sources) that you shouldn't stretch cold muscles. Therefore, you should do something light that replicates running - i.e. walking, before you stretch out your muscles

  • tempo running and intervals needs you to be warmed up properly and i don't think the current regime cuts it. a 4 min walk, followed by static stretching and then launching into such a session is a pretty sure fire route to injury.

    if i were you i would jog for at least a mile to get the heart rate up, then do some dynamic stretching/drills (bum kicks, lunges, leg swings, see here), then another short jog before launching into the session.

    The warm down part of your app sounds right and worth following.

     

     

  • So, I've done 2 tempo runs this week with a rest day inbetween. The runs involved 10minute warm up jog followed by dynamic stretching. Then into 3x5 minute tempo runs with 2 minute resting period in between. Finished with 5 mins cool down a d stretches.



    Went for my first full 10k in a while this morning. Warmed up with 1k jog, dynamic stretching. Set off on my 10k. Felt tough in places and 'hit' one or two walls which forced me to walk briefly. Got to 9.35km and felt I had nothing left. Time was 50.13, so if I had continued, I think I would have hopefully come in around 53.30ish. Still better than my last practice 10k run. My PB this year in training was 50.48. I think the tempo has had slight impact this week.



    I had been doing a spinning class each week recently but have missed a few. As this was based on interval training I think this was helping with my running. May start that again.



    Also, about an hour and a half before my run this morning I drank a smoothie I made from banana, peanut butter, protein powder, oats and milk. About 400ml. Did get the odd stitch during my run so wonder if this may have been a cause. I know there are mixed views on what and when to eat before running.
  • After a few weeks of doing 2 tempo runs per week followed by a full 10k training session I have managed to get my PB to 49:48. Went for a training run on Saturday morning before breakfast and really suprised myself with the result.

    I hadn't actually run in any shape or form for a few days, so I wonder if this helped me to feel fresher.

    2 weeks until Manchester 10k, so I'm thinking I'll keep on with the 2 tempo sessions and finish with a 10k this week, then maybe a 5k in the week leading up to the race.

    Any other advice for the final 2 weeks?

  • I know this might sound silly, I've read up on all these speed training routines and tried them out but I find it hard to structure my training like that myself. I tend to listen to my body and push when I feel I can.

    This might seem a daft question but can you increase your pace by just "running faster" keeping it simple.

    I mean I generally go out and run at a comfortable pace at first then when I can I push along for a while, upping my pace. Then I back off and recover but not slowing my pace below my normal running pace if that makes sense.

    Seems to be working as my times are coming down for both 5k and 10k and I always run between 7-12k every time.

    I would say that the best way to improve your pace is to just push on when you feel comfortable, dont just plod. It's mostly in the mind.

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