Race-Specific Speedwork

No matter what your race distance, speedwork will help you run more strongly and easily. It’s good to do both long and short speed sessions, though it’s worth adjusting the bias of your sessions towards the particular race you’re training for. Here are some classic sessions that are ideal for preparing yourself both physically and mentally for the demands of certain distances.

They give you a feel for the race pace and simulate the demands of the event, and, because they should be done at race pace, they’ll help you predict what you should be capable of. Classically, you build up to running the race distance at race pace during training, but broken up into intervals. The longer the event, though, the harder it is to achieve the full race distance in a fast training session, and the following sessions for races over 10 miles should only be attempted once. These sessions are not for beginners.

  • Key session for mile races: 8 x 400m with around 90-second recoveries
  • Key session for 5K races: 4 x 1M with 3-minute recoveries
  • Key session for 10K races: 5 x 2K with 3-minute recoveries
  • Key session for 10-mile races: 10 miles with 1M at marathon pace, 1M at half-marathon pace, 1M at marathon pace, 3M at 10M pace, 1M at marathon pace, 1M at 5K pace, 1M at marathon pace, 1M at 10K pace. Total time should be 4-5 mins longer than target race time.
  • Key session for half-marathon races: 13 miles with 2M at marathon pace, 3M at half-marathon pace, 1M at marathon pace, 1M at 10M pace, 1M at marathon pace, 2M at half-marathon pace, 2M at marathon pace, 1M at 10K pace. Total time should be 5-7 minutes longer than target race time.