SLOW DOWN!
and Run Your Best 10k Ever!

by Patti and Warren Finke, Team Oregon
Often, when we are approached by runners for coaching, they come to us to improve their speed. In most cases, this is not what they really want or need. They want to improve their race times. They need to improve their endurance.

All of you can run much faster for a short distance than you can for a 10k road race. Therefore, you do not really need to improve your speed. The problem is maintaining the higher speed for longer distance. The foundation for doing this is not speed work, but endurance training.

Endurance training is achieved by doing lots of low intensity running. This is because much of endurance training is optimizing the energy delivery systems to and in your muscles. High loads (as in fast running) are not as important as many repetitions of the movement (as in more mileage)

The key is to adjust your endurance training by slowing down and running farther. By doing this, you will receive more benefits with the same overall effort. How slow? A reduction in speed of only 5% will allow you to run twice as far.

How can you gauge how fast ( or slow) to run? The easiest way is to use heart rate. We use heart rate monitors for most of our athletes. The monitors are great for both training and racing.

Training Heart Rate ( beats per 60 seconds)

Age 20 30 40 50 60 Beats <162 <155 <147 <139 <132

To get peak race performance, you need to do a small amount of speed work. This makes you more efficient and better prepared mentally for running at race pace. Speed work is the skill part of running. We all know how much skill it takes to run. It should be obvious that speed work is not the major factor in endurance racing performance. If you are an experienced runner with a good endurance base, you can use speed work to improve your running skills and efficiency and maybe get an increase in performance of 1 - 2%.

A 10k Training Program Based on Endurance

The first step in planning your program is to determine where you are now and what your training needs might be to allow you to achieve a top 10 k performance. We will define three runner categories based on where you are now and devise three different training plans appropriate for these runners.

"BEGINNER"

You are a beginning runner if you have just started to run, are just running occasionally for fitness and are covering less than 10 miles per week of running or walking. Why do a race at this stage? Races are great ways to maintain motivation if you pick the correct goals. For the beginner, a "best" will be to finish since you've never done the event before. Your basic need is the endurance to go 6.2 miles. A second goal for the beginner should be to have an enjoyable experience during the event. The training goals are to learn the basics to keep you healthy and maintain the enjoyment of running.

"INTERMEDIATE"

If you are an intermediate runner, you may have completed a similar length race before but it was probably one of the longest races you have done. You most likely run occasional races for the enjoyment of finishing and being with your running friends. You run between 10 and 20 miles per week and classify yourself as a recreational runner. Your race goals will call for bettering your previous time, having the strength to race rather than just run the entire distance and being able to deal well with any obstacles such as hills. Your needs are the endurance to run 6.2 miles and the stamina to run it at a fast controlled pace. The training goals are to stay healthy, have fun and add some speed training.

"ADVANCED"

You are an advanced runner if you race often, are running over 30 miles a week and routinely race 10k or longer. You are reaching to improve your performances and classify yourself as a competitive runner. Your goals for this race will be for a "best time, the strength to race through any obstacles and the speed to carry you to that "PR". Your needs will be more specific training to optimize your strength and speed for this particular race.

TRAINING SCHEDULES

The training programs shown are 12 - 16 weeks long. If you are already running at a mileage level beyond the first week, you can shorten the program by starting at a week consistent with your current training at the time.

All three levels will begin with endurance base building. The BEGINNER level will all be base building since the major goal is endurance. The INTERMEDIATE levels will have base building with emphasis on more strength and some speed ; while the ADVANCED level will include more specific speed work.

BEGINNER

The goal is to increase endurance through increasing mileage. All runs are done at an easy pace. Remember the way to stay healthy during base building is to not worry about speed, increase mileage slowly and back off, ice, and rest at any sign of trouble. If you are preparing for a specific race, it might be helpful to do at least a couple of your long runs on the race course, if possible, just so that you know what the course is like and where the major terrain features are.

The schedule shows 5 days per week of running; if you want to only run 4 days, omit a Tuesday or Thursday run. Maintaining the progression of the long runs is the key to finishing the race.

                         MILES
Week      S    M    T    W    T    F    S         Total Miles
 1        2    0    1    2    1    2    0            8
 2        3    0    1    2    1    2    0            9
 3        3    0    1    2    1    2    0            9
 4        4    0    1    2    1    2    0           10
 5        4    0    1    3    1    2    0           11
 6        4    0    1    3    1    3    0           12
 7        4    0    1    3    1    3    0           12
 8        5    0    1    3    1    3    0           13
 9        5    0    1    3    1    3    0           13
10        6    0    1    3    1    3    0           14
11        6    0    1    2    1    2    0           12
12        RACE DAY !

INTERMEDIATE

The goals of this program are to increase endurance and strength by increasing the overall mileage base and to improve aerobic glycogen metabolism and efficiency by increasing the longest runs to distances beyond race length. Some of the long runs should be done on hilly terrain to develop strength.

Some speed work at race pace can be done to improve efficiency. This will also help with self control; you need to know what it feels like to run at race pace so as not to go out too fast. Many of the runners from our Portland Marathon Clinic have trained to this level by early June and run 10 - 15k PRs without any speed work just because of the increased strength and endurance from the increased mileage base. We have added in some pace runs; the rest are run at easy pace. The pace runs should be run at your goal race pace. Pick a goal 1 -2 minutes (10-15 seconds/mile) faster than your previous 10k best.

If you plan to do some other races during your training, use them to replace the long run that weekend. Remember, you do not get the same endurance training benefits from the short race. Do not attempt to do both the same weekend; allow at least 2 weeks of recovery between any race and the 10k where you want to run your best.

          MILES
                  
Week      S    M    T    W    T    F    S    Total
 1        7    0    2    5    2    5    0           21
 2        8    0    2    5    2    5    0           22
 3        8    0    2    6    2    6    0           23
 4        8    0    2    6    2    6    0           24
 5        9    0    2    6    2    6    0           25
 6        9    0    3    6    2    6    0           26
 7        9    0    3    6    3    6    0           27
 8        10   0    3    6    3    6    0           28
 9        10   0    4    6    3    6    0           29
10        10   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
11        12   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
12        12   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
13        12   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
14        12   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
15        12   0    4    6    4    P    0          ~30
16        10   0    4    6    2    2    0           24
               RACE DAY !

P= Pace Run
Pace Run: 1 mile easy warm up
          n miles at goal race pace
          recovery walk  to heart rate(HR) under 110
          n miles at goal race pace
          recovery walk  to heart rate(HR) under 110
          n miles at goal race pace
          1 mile easy cool down

          n = 0.5 mile first week, add 0.25 miles every 2 weeks
          to a Maximum total of 1 mile.

Example:  Week 15 Pace Run
          1 mile easy warm up
          1 miles at  goal race pace
          recovery walk to HR under 110
          1 miles at  goal race pace
          recovery walk to HR under 110
          1 miles at  goal race pace
          recovery walk to HR under 110
          1 mile easy cool down

ADVANCED

The goals are to maximize strength and endurance by increasing the mileage base; to optimize aerobic glycogen metabolism through over race distance longest runs; and to enhance efficiency with race pace runs.

To further optimize efficiency and glycogen metabolism if you plan to race on hilly courses, some of the long runs can be done on hills on the course or similar terrain, and some speed work on aerobic threshold will be done to allow quick recovery from hills and surging or other tactics for racing.

Select a realistic goal pace. If you have been racing for years, it's not realistic to expect a major breakthrough. We recommend that you set a goal time about 1 minute faster than your 10 K best and use this pace for your pace training speed. You should also set a second goal which may be to simply run a PR.

Except for the speed workouts, all runs should be done at an easy (conversational) pace. You are encourage to run one or two shorter races (8K) between weeks 10 and 16 to get you psychologically prepared to race. On weekends when you race, replace your long run with the race; do not do both.

                    MILES

Week      S    M    T    W    T    F     S         Total Miles
 1        10   0    3    6    3    6    2           30
 2        11   0    3    6    3    7    2           32
 3        11   0    3    7    3    7    2           33
 4        12   0    3    7    3    8    2           35
 5        12   0    3    8    3    8    2           36
 6        13   0    3    8    3    8    3           38
 7        13   0    4    8    3    8    3           39
 8        14   0    4    8    4    8    3           41
 9        14   0    4    9    4    9    3           43
10        15   0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
11        15*  0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
12        15*  0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
13        15*  0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
14        15*  0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
15        15 * 0    4    9    4    S    4          ~43
16        10   0    4    9    2    3    2          ~30
               RACE DAY!

* = If possible, do these runs on terrain simulating your race course.

S = speed workout to be done on a 400 m track.
    All workouts consist of a warm up, the main workout and a cool down.

Speed work warm up  weeks 10, 11, and 12
     1 mile (4 laps) easy jog
     4 x 100m @ 10k goal pace, 100 m walk
     4 x 200 m @ 10k goal pace, 200 m jog
     2 x 400 m @ 10k goal pace, 400 m jog

Week 10   
     2 x 1200m ( 3 laps) @ 10k goal pace, 
     walk between repeats until heart rate (HR) under 110

Week 11
     4 x 800m ( 2 laps) @ 10k goal pace, walk until HR <110
 
week 12
     3 x 1200m ( 3 laps) @ 10k goal pace, walk until HR <110

Speed work warm up weeks 13,14, and 15
     1 mile ( 4 laps) easy jog
     4 x 100m @ 10k goal pace, 100m walk
     2 x 200 m @ 10k race pace, 200m jog
     2 x 200 m @ 2 seconds faster than 10k race pace, 200m jog
     3 x 400m @ 5 seconds faster than 10k goal pace, 400 m jog

Week 13
     6 x 800m ( 2 laps) @ 10k goal pace, walk until HR <110

Week 14
     3 x 1600m (4 laps) @ 10k goal pace, walk until HR <110

Week 15
     6 x 800m ( 2 laps) @ 10k goal pace, walk until HR <110

Speed work cool down to be done each week
     1 mile (4 laps ) at easy pace

Explanation of Speed work shorthand

4 x 200 m @ 10K goal pace, 200m jog means:
run 200 meters (1/2 lap) at 10k race goal pace, then jog 200 meters for recovery, repeat 4 times.
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