10K Advanced Training Plan

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10K Advanced Training Plan

The schedule below is designed for individuals who compete regularly in races up to 10K or beyond and who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week and have a basic understanding of how to do speedwork. If that sounds like too much training, and this is your first 10K race, you might be more comfortable using one of the training plans designed for novice or intermediate runners. The program utilises a countdown from week 1 to week 8 (race week) for a 10K race. The terms used in the training schedule below should be somewhat obvious to a runner of your caliber, but let us explain what we mean anyway.

Runs: The runs of 3-6 miles on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays are designed to be done at a comfortable pace. If you can’t carry on a conversation with your training partner, you’re running too fast. For those who use heart monitors to measure their level of exertion, you would be running between 65 to 75 percent of maximum.

Rest: Rest is an important part of your training. On Fridays you are offered the option of resting or taking an easy 3-mile run. Be realistic about your fatigue level and don’t feel guilty if you decide to take a day off. Specifically consider scheduling at least one extra rest day during weeks where you race: before and/or after. We have included several races en route to your climactic 10K race to get you in racing trim.

Tempo Runs: A tempo run is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near 10K race pace. (Notice I said “near,” not “at”). In this plan, tempo runs are scheduled for Tuesdays. A tempo run of 30 to 40 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, building to to peak pace for 10-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout. (You don’t need to maintain peak speed for more than a few minutes toward the middle of the workout). You can do tempo runs almost anywhere: on the road, on trails or even on a track.

Speedwork: If you want to race at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace several days a week. Interval training, where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking, is a very effective form of speedwork. The training schedule begins in week 1 with a workout of 6 x 400 metres and peaks in week 7 with 12 x 400 metres. Run the 400s at about the pace you would run in a mile or 1500 race. Walk or jog between each repeat. Although the best venue for speedwork of this sort is on a 400-metre track, these workouts can be done on the road or on trails, either by using measured courses or by running hard approximately the length of time you would run a 400 on the track. For instance, if you normally run 400s in 90 seconds, do fast reps at that length of time and don’t worry about distance.

Warm-up: Warming up is important, not only before the race itself, but before your speed workouts above and pace workouts below. Most novice runners do not warm up, except in the race itself. This is okay, because they’re more interested in finishing rather than finishing fast. As an advanced runner, you have a different goal, otherwise you wouldn’t be using this program, so warm up before you run fast. A typical warm-up is to jog a mile or two, sit down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, then run some easy strides (100 meters at near race pace). Then usually cool down afterwards by doing half of the warm up.

Stretch & Strengthen: Also important as part of the warm-up is stretching. Don’t overlook it, particularly on days when you plan to run fast. And on some of the easy days (such as Mondays and Thursdays), you might want to extend your stretching beyond what is normally needed for a warm-up. Strength training is important too: push-ups, pull-ups, use of free weights or working out with various machines at a gym. Runners generally benefit if they combine light weights with a high number of repetitions, rather than pumping very heavy iron. Mondays and Thursdays would be good days to combine stretching and strengthening with your easy run, however, you can schedule strength training on any day that is convenient for your business and personal schedule.

Pace: A lot of runners look at training schedules and ask, “What do you mean by ‘pace?” We mean “race pace,” the pace at which you expect to run the 10K. Saturday workouts include some running at race pace to get you used to running the pace you will run in a 10K or other races about that distance. However, somewhat like in the tempo runs, you want to start and finish easy. In the training schedules, we prescribe the total distance of the run plus the approximate amount of that distance that should be run at race pace. Thus, “5 total/3 pace” means that in a 5-mile run, three of those miles should be done at your 10K race pace. Obviously, you need to run on a course that has been pre-measured. If you can’t find an accurately measured course or don’t own a GPS watch, use your car odometer to at least approximate the mile splits (realising that car odometers are invariably somewhat inaccurate).

Race: We don’t often include many races in our training programs, other than the goal race in the last week of the plan. That’s because if you race too often or too hard, you can peak too easily. We’d rather have novice and intermediate runners do an occasional unplanned race. But you’re an advanced runner and can benefit from at least a few test races to fine-tune your fitness. Thus, we’ve scheduled a 5K race and an 8K race for weeks 4 and 6. If you can’t find races at those exact distances in your area, use whatever convenient races are available. Juggle days and weeks if necessary. And if that doesn’t work, you can always do a time trial at the suggested distance, although we always find it hard to motivate ourselves to run at our fastest in practice. Don’t be discouraged if your times are a bit slow, either in a time trial or a test race.

Long Runs: As an experienced runner, you probably already do a long run of around 60-90 minutes on the weekends anyway. The schedule suggests a slight increase in distance as you get closer to race date: from 6 to 10 miles. Don’t get hung up on running these workouts too fast. Run at a comfortable, conversational pace, except on those days where a 3/1 workout is prescribed. A “3/1″ workout is one in which you run the first three-fourths of the distance at a comfortable pace, then accelerate to near race pace over the last one quarter of the workout. (You should finish refreshed, not fatigued). If Sunday isn’t a convenient day for your long runs, feel free to do them on Saturday or any other day of the week for that matter.

The following schedule is only a guide. If necessary, you can make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule.

Click here to download the 10k Advanced Schedule