Too many runners set their sights on running the marathon as they feel they have no speed, and therefore not suited to running shorter distances. This is generally because most runners devote minimal time to speed and development. Instead they develop endurance, and feel that because they can finish a marathon, they better suited to longer distances. I used to live in a city where the main event of the year is a 54 mile Race from one city to another and attracts 20,000 runners of all shapes and sizes. As a newbie to running…one was easily influenced into training for a marathon…you have to qualify to run the Comrades Marathon by running a marathon in a certain time…and then once you had completed the Comrades you were pretty much roped into training and racing the Comrades year after year…doing a 10km was considered too short and a waste of valuable time. Training for and racing 10km’s will develop that speed, strength and endurance one needs to move up to the marathon distance later.
If you have not run a 10km before you should work out a realistic goal time. You’ve established a 5km time…so if you take that 5km time and times it by 2.1…you will get a realistic 10km goal time. This is a generalized formula and should be used as a guide. For optimal results in a 10km one needs to run at intensity slightly above your anaerobic threshold, which is quite intense in terms of the physiological demand put on the body. This demand uses a greater amount of aerobic energy and therefore strength and endurance are important as well. For these reasons, the primary focus of any 10km schedule should be boosting anaerobic threshold, improving aerobic endurance, and developing strength to minimize fatigue during the race. Although these characteristics are the primary focus, approximately 15-20% of energy for the 10km is produced anaerobically; therefore the anaerobic system needs to be trained as well.
Based on the amount of time one has to train for a 10km, an 8-10 week schedule should suffice in getting one ready to race…there are 3 key workouts which should be incorporated in your regime on a weekly basis:
1) Long Aerobic – this is aimed at improving aerobic endurance, strength and fatigue resistance. It does not need to be excessively long, but should ideally be completed over an undulating terrain and at a moderate/comfortable pace. The distance can range from 60 – 80 minutes…starting out on the lower end and building to the top end during the 8-10 week schedule.
2) Speed – these efforts are aimed at improving your maximal speed and running economy. The speed sessions will range anywhere from 200m fast/quick turnover efforts to more sustainable 1,000m repeats. The faster speed repetitions should allow for full recovery, to allow one to hold good posture, focus on being fast, staying tall and in control of one’s technique whilst working on high speed turnover. The longer efforts will help boost your VO2 max, sustainable running speed and help with pacing. Recovery is shorter with these efforts and can be active.
3) Tempo – are longer intervals done at a speed slower than 10km race pace. The aim here is to improve anaerobic threshold, strength and running economy. If you do these intervals too hard, you negate the purpose of the session. These longer intervals can become stressful, so make sure to run them on a predominantly flat terrain.
All sessions should begin with a 15-20 minute warm up followed by good dynamic stretching and quick turnover short stride outs of 25 seconds…and then finish up with a 5-10 minute cool down post workout followed by some static stretching. As part of your weekly regime…you should try include 1-3 low intensity recovery runs of 30-40 minutes. They should be run at conversational pace and not stressful at all.
Achieving your 10km GOAL is not just about completing the KEY workouts…follow a sensible nutritional plan on a daily basis, make sure you stretch before and after workouts as improved flexibility will reduce the chance of injury, fatigue and help running efficiency and finally without RECOVERY your training would be pointless.
Next up…the Half Marathon Distance!!!
About the Coach
Darren De Reuck has been coaching runners for almost 20 years. Beginning in 1988, he coached club level as well as elite runners in his native South Africa. In 1993, he began serving as a training partner to his wife, Colleen De Reuck, always advising the Coach and later becoming her coach.
From 2000 – 2002, Darren headed up the official training club for one of the largest 10 km road races in the country, The Bolder Boulder. Drawing from his success with the Bolder Boulder Training Club, he formed The Boulder Striders in July 2002, a running group that caters to runners of all abilities. In September of the same year, he formed The Running Republic of Boulder. http://http://www.runningrepublic.com
This group is a USATF affiliated competitive running club and includes runners who are competitive at all age-group levels. Darren has served as the head coach for both of these clubs.