10k training / race strategy?

4 messages
07/03/2013 at 09:47

Apologies if this has been done before (a zillion times...) but I couldn't find a relevant thread to tack this onto.

I'm running what I'm calling my first 10k "race" in just over 2 weeks' time.  I have previously completed 4x 10k, 1x half marathon, 2x marathons and 1x 33 Ultra Marathon.  I didn't train properly for any of them though - they were fundraising/charity runs (well, the marathons and ultra definitely weren't "runs"!).

I ran a previous PB of 46 minutes for 10k in 2009, when I was quite fit with football and gym work (but with no real specific training under my belt).

Based on my fitness at the beginning of the year (I could run 5k in about 22 minutes), I used the Furman training plan to work out paces etc. for a 12 week 10k schedule and was aiming for 44 minutes and thinking anything quicker would be a bonus.

I struggled with the speed work early on, but after a few weeks, I started finding it much easier and all the paces felt too slow (apart from the intervals - I'm still just hitting them on the mark).

This morning I ran my 6 mile tempo run in 42:42 - cruising at 7 minute mile pace for 4 miles, then the last two were all uphill, so I lost a good bit of time on mile 5 (7:37 mile) and mile 6 was a 7:07 mile.  The average over the 6 miles being 7:07.  The training plan says I should have been running at 7:37.

My long tempo pace (generally 8 mile or 10 mile runs) in the training plan has generally increased to 7:30 miles (plan says 7:52 miles) over the past few weeks and it feels comfortable all the way to 8 miles, but the last 2 miles are normally a bit tougher (but it's normally the same 2 uphill miles that I ran today).

So, what would be a good plan over the next 2 weeks?

In my plan, I have an 8 mile long tempo run (7:52 miles), interval session (3 x 1 mile at 6:49 pace with 1:00 recoveries), 3 mile short tempo (7:22 miles), 7 miles long tempo (7:52 miles), interval session (6 x 400m at 6:24 pace with 1:00 recoveries), 3 miles easy run (8:57 miles).

All of those paces look slow to me now, but I'm aware that I'm getting close to within 2 weeks of race day.  Should I cut back to the actual plan paces or push on with the quicker paces I've been running in recent weeks?  Going by the plan, there isn't much of a "taper" like in marathon plans - is that just not as necessary because of the shorter distance?

And on race day - I'm not sure how fast to go out at.  I feel strong on my runs and definitely think I could go faster on race day with the adrenaline, excitement etc.  Would it be ridiculous to set out at 6:30 pace and see if I can hold it for the entire race?  What I'm telling myself is that I'm never knackered at the end of my training runs, but I should be giving it absolutely everything in the 10k race and cross the line completely spent.

Any advice from the experienced folks on here would be much appreciated! 

07/03/2013 at 22:58

Most race efforts are ballsed up in the first quarter mile.

Have a good idea what result you are after (I tend to do a four mile time trial at race pace a week before to gauge) and make sure that you're first quarter mile isn't more than 2 or 3 seconds faster than race pace. Race day adrenaline makes the first mile or so feel very easy......but its a trap!!!! If you go out too fast you'll plunge into oxygen debt and your overall time will suffer; as will you!

PBs are usually set on even paced races.

Best of luck.....

08/03/2013 at 09:30

Jamie - thanks for the reply.  I'm going to head into that other 10k speed endurance thread that I discovered yesterday.  I should have posted this in there in the first place! 

08/03/2013 at 10:03

It's been too long since I concentrated on fast paced 10Ks  to be the best person to comment on your high tempo stuff.  But one thing stands out to me is that I presume what your programme calls a 'long tempo run' is what most people would call a long slow run.  You certainly need some long slow runs in the programme.. so I presume these are indeed the ones.

Your long slow runs (long tempo run) should not be a struggle in miles 9 and 10, even if it is a bit uphill.   I see that you are running them a bit faster than the recommendation.   I think this is not a good idea.  You need to run them comfortably in the aerobic zone, and it sounds like you're not... or a man of your fitness would not be struggling at all at the end.

If that's correct, then you've trained up a lot of your system very well, but the basic aerobic fitness - that feeds oxygen to your slow-twitch muscle fibres - has not been trained as well as it could be.

So whatever you do at the 'fast end' of your training, I'd recommend you do your Long tempo runs at 8 to 8.5 minutes per mile.

Good luck... it sounds like you're doing great.


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