Roadrunner, roadrunner #2: Include variety in your training

Now that you've planned out your goal race - let's say it's a 10k (great choice!) - it's time to do some training. If you want to run a fast 10k, you should probably practice by running at your goal 10k pace, right? Well, yes and no.

Goal Pace

It can certainly be useful to do some running at your goal pace, for both physical and psychological reasons. For some of your workouts, you can work on increasing both the total volume and individual length of segments that you can hold at around 10k pace, for example 800m repeats, then 1k repeats, then perhaps 1,200m or even 1.5k repeats. Good starting points include
10 x 800m
8 x 1k
or 10 x 3 minutes
at 10k effort, with an equal (1:1 work to rest) or shorter rest period. How much you progress should vary depending on your training history, among other factors.

Slower than race pace

Why ever would we run SLOWER than race pace when we want to run FAST? Sure, we all want to run fast, but the reality is that the vast majority of our training as distance runners should actually be at an Easy pace. Even on workout days, there is considerable value in running slower than your goal pace for most distance events. For our 10k example, a slower but very important pace is running at a Tempo effort. This would most commonly involve 15 to 40 minutes of moderately hard running, sometimes done as a continuous block (ex. 20 minutes @ Tempo effort) or split up into segments with a short rest (ex. 3 x 8 minutes Tempo with 2 minutes of rest in between). Tempo running is useful for all distance runners, from 800m specialists through to Marathoners.

Who wants to go fast? I want to go fast!

Most of us can relate to Will Ferrell's character Ricky Bobby - we want to go fast! Doing some work at faster than race pace can be very useful training. In the case of our 10k example, that would include:
*doing workouts around 5k pace
*competing in a 5k race, which can be great prep for a 10k goal race
*including some turnover work, a tertiary but still useful form of training for most 10k runners

Some possible starting points for workouts around 5k pace include
10-12 x 400m
or 8-10 x 2 minutes
these can be done with an equal (1:1) or shorter rest period.

Mix it up!

Training can and should be fun, and part of the fun is having some variety! Fortunately for us distance runners, varying your training - including sessions that are faster than, at, slower than, and a lot slower than race pace - is important in preparing for your fastest possible race. It sounds simple, and it can be; the complexity lies in how to mix it all together and adjust for you as an individual.

Other Content

Today in Canadian Distance Running - October 24, 2004: Emilie Mondor sets the Canadian 5k road record!

Today in Canadian Distance Running - October 24, 2004: Émilie Mondor sets the Canadian 5k roa…

Read more
October 24th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Andy Boychuk 10th in Olympic Games Marathon

Today in Canadian Distance Running - October 20, 1968: Andy Boychuk 10th in Olympic Games Marathon i…

Read more
October 20th, 2019

Roadrunner, roadrunner #5: Taper for your goal race

You’ve picked your goal race and trained hard over the last few months. As race day approaches…

Read more
October 7th, 2019

Roadrunner, roadrunner #4: Practice fuelling for longer races

Training for longer races has the added challenge of fuelling. Fortunately, fuelling is a skill you…

Read more
September 29th, 2019

Roadrunner, roadrunner #3: Keep your easy runs easy!

As we touched on last week, most of our training as distance runners should be at an easy pace. Easy…

Read more
September 20th, 2019

London Runner, Physi-Kult Kingston, and BackRoads London Partner

              Big…

Read more
September 10th, 2019

Roadrunner, roadrunner #1: Plan out your racing season

Welcome to “Roadrunner, roadrunner,” our new series of weekly tips for runners competing…

Read more
September 7th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Gabriela Debues-Stafford sets the Canadian Women's 5,000m record of 14:44.12

Today in Canadian distance running - September 6, 2019 - Gabriela Debues-Stafford (UTTC) ran a C…

Read more
September 6th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Gabriela Debues-Stafford sets the Canadian Women's 1,500m record of 3:59.59

Today in Canadian distance running - August 29, 2019 - Gabriela Debues-Stafford (UTTC) ran a Can…

Read more
August 29th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Mohammed Ahmed set the Canadian Men's 3,000m record of 7:40.49

Today in Canadian distance running - August 29, 2017 - Mohammed Ahmed (Niagara Olympic Club) ran a C…

Read more
August 29th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Angela Chalmers set the Canadian Women's 3,000m record of 8:32.17

Today in Canadian distance running - August 23, 1994 - Angela Chalmers (Valley Royals T&F Club)…

Read more
August 23rd, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Matthew Hughes set the Canadian Men's 3,000m Steeplechase record of 8:11.64

Today in Canadian distance running - August 15, 2013 - Matthew Hughes (UNON) ran a Canadian Men'…

Read more
August 15th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Drayton/Bannon take silver/bronze medals at Commonwealth Games marathon

Today in Canadian distance running - August 11, 1978 - Jerome Drayton and Paul Bannon took home the…

Read more
August 12th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Lynn Williams earns Olympic bronze mendal in 3000m

Today in Canadian distance running - August 10, 1984 - Lynn Williams earned a bronze medal in t…

Read more
August 10th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Jaqueline Gareau 5th at IAAF World Championship Marathon

Today in Canadian distance running - August 7, 1983 - Jaqueline Gareau placed 5th in 2:32:35&nb…

Read more
August 7th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Sylvia Ruegger placed 8th in the LA Olympic Marathon, setting a Canadian Women's record of 2:29:09

Today in Canadian distance running - August 5, 1984 - Sylvia Ruegger placed 8th in the LA Olympic Ma…

Read more
August 5th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Mohammed Ahmed set the Canadian Men's 10,000m record of 27:02.35

Today in Canadian distance running - August 4, 2017 - Mohammed Ahmed (Niagara Olympic Club) ran a Ca…

Read more
August 5th, 2019

Today in Canadian Distance Running: Kevin Sullivan set the Canadian Men's Mile record of 3:50.26

Today in Canadian distance running - July 28, 2000 - Kevin Sullivan (Windsor Legion) ran a Canadian…

Read more
July 28th, 2019

How They Train #5: Nicole Sifuentes 2016 Track Season

This is the fifth edition of ‘How They Train’ in which athletes and/or coaches will…

Read more
July 22nd, 2019