I'm stuck on a grotty 50 mins. for my 10k (the last three races). I'm not too disappointed as I used to be rather tubby, but I do want to break at least 47 mins. so I've started doing some speed work. Intervals - 400/600m at abt 80% MHR. But I've read I need to do some fartlek work too. What is the difference between interval and fartlek and is there anything else I can do to build up speed over 50 mins. ... ?


  • intervals are like repetitions of a set distance with a rest/ recovery in between. so, a key session for you might be:

    400m with 200m walk recovery x 3
    5 minutes rest, then repeat.

    You could use a track and do shorter reps like this, or you could do 1000m reps all in less than 5 minutes (say 4 mins 50 seconds)if you want to break 50 min for 10k. then you'd get used to how that pace feels. I've tried this at my projected race pace and it works, helping you to settle into a pace. If you're doing 1k intervals, do about 4 or more and have like 4-5 mins rest in between.

    Alternatively, intervals can be done for time, such as 2 mins fast, 2 mins slow. Remember your recoveries can be walks, jogs or complete rests.

    Fartlek is more informal than intervals, it's usually not measured, you see an object in front and increase your pace til you reach it, you can aim to have about 5-10 bursts of speed during your run depending on how long you're accelerating for. it's also good to finish off with a few strides, accelerating over 50-100m gradually, before cooling down.

    i hope that helps, those are my own experiences, there's probably some articles on this site, too!
  • As SS says, you need short speedwork to teach your body to increase speed. Intervals/repititions are short distances or times with set recoveries, fartlek is more informal - just jog to warm up, sprint to the next lampost, jog to recover for two lamposts, sprint to the big bush, jog to recover to the green car, then sprint to the telephone box.... and so on. It might also help to go out for a slightly longer run and jog for 2 miles warm up, then run faster for one mile, jog a mile, run a mile, jog a mile, run a mile then jog home. This will also provide you with 'over-distance training' so that in your mind you will know that you can run further than 10k and therefore, in your next 10k race you can increase speed in your last mile because you can run the distance easily.
  • LizzyBLizzyB ✭✭✭
    One that's been working for me is to warm up for three miles or so, then run 5 mins at 5k pace (85-90% WHR), jog for 2 mins, then repeat about five times. It's a killer, and you might want to start with 2 mins at 5k pace and build up but it does teach your body to run further at a faster pace.
  • Severa, Dangly and Lizzy, thanks for all the tips. Off out now to apply a couple of them ...
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