I’m fresh off my first 10km and race of the year. The race was held in the city of Yeosu in Southern Korea. I ran a personal best of 36.08 minutes, placing 6th overall. A box of kimchi and a medal was the prize! Today we will delve deeper into the training it takes to run your best 10km.
So what does it take to train for a 10km race?
The answer falls under two categories:
The first timer or the fun runner
If you fall under this category, your aim is to keep it simple with your training. 90% of a 10km race is aerobic in nature, meaning easy running in training takes priority. Try to increase the duration of your long run by 5-10 minutes per week. There should also be an element of faster running to help your body deal with the stresses. If you have the time or the interest in running a good personal time, I would recommend including tempo runs. Tempo runs are periods of running lasting 5-20+ minutes in duration. The run to rest ratio is 5:1, so if you run 10 minutes at tempo effort, you take 2 minutes rest. Tempo/cruise intervals are a great option, consisting of 5-10 minute efforts with a short rest in-between each. The effort level is comfortably hard, 8 out of 10 on the effort scale. The talk test is a good way to gauge intensity. You should be able to say a few words but not talk conversationally. Tempo runs increase your body’s ability to deal with fast pace running, preparing you for a succesful race day.
Runs per week: 4 minimum
Main training focus: 1. Easy runs/long runs 90% 2. Tempo runs 10%
Sample Easy run workout: 30 minutes at conversational pace
Sample tempo workout: 3×5 minutes at Tempo pace with 1 minute recovery after each.
Mileage guideline: 15-25 miles each week
Top tip: The further out from race day you start training, the fitter you will be and the more gradual your training progression can be. Aim for a minimum of 6 weeks.
The serious runner or personal best chaser
Focusing on easy running is also important for runners here. Including one long run per week, between 70-90 minutes is ideal. The next most important workout is the tempo workout. Instead of doing cruise intervals, continuous tempos are more beneficial, to stimulate race day. A 20-30 minute tempo works wonders, performed once per week. The next most important type of workout is a VO2 max workout. VO2 max workouts are the hardest workouts, so allow adequate recovery afterwards. Perform your last VO2 max workout 10 days out from race day. 10km race pace falls somewhere between tempo pace and VO2 max pace. VO2 max workouts involve fast runs lasting 2-5 minutes. The recovery time is the same or slightly less than the fast run, so 1:1 work to rest ratio works best. VO2 max pace is a pace is somewhere between 3km and 5km race pace, depending on your current fitness level. This pace feels hard and you might only be able to say one word!
Runs per week: 5-7 days per week
Focus: 1. Easy running/long runs 85% 2. Tempo runs 10% 3. VO2 max training 5%
Sample Long run: 80 minutes at an easy consistent pace
Sample tempo run: 25 minutes at Tempo pace with 2 miles warm up and cool down
Sample VO2 max workout: 6×3 minutes hard with 3 minutes recovery jog after each.
Mileage guideline: 35-60+ miles, depending on your current fitness levels
Top tip: Racing the 10km is a great launch pad to the half marathon distance, so racing 10 km’s early in the season is very beneficial for the longer distances.
I hope you got some valuable information from this post. Let us know what your 10km training looks like, or ask us any questions you may have about the 10km.
Next week we will discuss what to do the week of a 10km race, in order to run your best time and we will talk race strategies and pacing.
Until next time,