Think September is too early to train for the Redondo Beach 10K on Superbowl Sunday, or January is too early for the Peach Tree 10K in Atlanta, July 4th. Think again endurance athletes. No matter how hot it is on race day, based on a training schedule of 30 miles per week, your 10K race is still 99 percent preparation and one percent perspiration. (6.2 miles on race day, divided by 30 miles per week for 20 weeks, or 600 miles gives 1.033 percent). Here is a gentle, yet gently progressive 20 week training schedule adapted from 10K & 5K Running, Training & Racing: The Running Pyramid, the 180 page, 5 phase training book for 10K and 5K race preparation, by David Holt.
Week One of Twenty. Phase One: The first 3-6 weeks training for any 10k race in 5 months. 10K racing requires endurance to run 6.2 miles, plus the speed to run it fast. You will work on BOTH elements from week one. New and recreational runners will improve their running or jogging form with small amounts of modest paced speed running. This article shows you how to integrate fartlek or speed running into your training schedule. All runners should run speedwork, especially the beginners. New and modest mileage runners need to learn good running form...by running fairly fast while building mileage. Do not sprint. Do run fast enough to get somewhat out of breath, run easy, then run fairly fast again. Run efforts of 30 seconds to two minutes; run gently for a similar duration. After three efforts, walk a quarter mile, then run a few more efforts. Run at close to 10K race pace intensity. How serious are you about running. (Fartlek is Swedish for playful running. Fartlek is very productive running, yet it is rarely serious running!) Serious 10K runners (or intermediate runners in many peoples training schedules), will run fast once a week, starting with about 1.5 miles of fast running, building up to 3 miles by the end of 6 weeks. Beginner runners or those new to fast running will keep most efforts short to develop good running form, then gradually introduce some longer efforts of up to half a mile into the fartlek running. After running 6 sessions, you should be running half of the session as long efforts and half as short efforts. Your long run will be 10-12 miles each week. Restrict your running intensity on your long runs to 60-70 percent of your maximum heartrate. Running close to twice your 10K race distance will improve your circulatory system and oxygen uptake as we’ll explore in two weeks.
Three weeks in this fartlek running phase will be enough, then you can move straight to hill training. Not able to handle 10 miles in one run, or three miles of gentle speed running? It may take you 9 -12 weeks to reach the 10-12 mile run point while also being able to handle the fartlek running. Add a mile to your long run each week; add a quarter mile of speed running each week to maintain good form for that extra mileage. Once you can handle the 3 mile fartlek session AND the 10 mile run week after week in the same week, you're ready to follow the remaining 20 weeks of the training schedule. Here’s the basic weekly training schedule for 30 miles per week 10K or 5K runners. Day one: 10-12 mile easy pace run Day two: rest Day three: easy 6 mile run Day four: Up to three miles of fartlek running, plus warm-up and cooldown gives you 7 miles Day five: rest Day six: easy 7 mile run Day seven: rest Total mileage is 30-32 Saturday and Sunday could be your day three and four, giving you rest days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This running schedule should be repeated until you can handle the volume AND the fartlek quite easily. New runners and joggers will run their single fartlek session three days after the longest run, thus gaining the most benefit from the hard running days, easy running or rest days extolled by most coaches. How long should 3 miles of fartlek take you to run. Time the fast running. Don’t time your walking or easy running. When cumulative time for fast running on your watch is the time it takes you to race a 5K, you should have run 3 miles or so of fartlek. In future sessions, keep the recoveries short enough that you complete the session in about twice your 5K time. If you need more than six weeks in phase one, rest up with a 24 mile week and use those fresh legs to run a decent 5K or 8K or 10K race. Then, once you’ve run a 10-12 miler in five or six of the last 8 weeks, you can move to Phase Two. Moderately intensive 30 mile per week runners will run fartlek twice a week. These runners will have been through a similar training schedule many times by now, and probably ran a 10-12 mile run in 40 of the last 52 weeks. These runners will also have raced in many of the other 12 weeks. Day one: 10-12 mile easy pace run Day three: warmup and cooldown for: 3 miles of fartlek running for a relaxed yet quality training session. Emphasize 1-2 minute efforts. Total 7 miles Day four: easy 6 mile run Day six: warmup and cooldown: run 3 miles of fartlek. Include a few 3-5 minute efforts. Total 7 miles Days two, five and seven are rest days Total mileage is 30-32 Experienced runners may only need three weeks in Phase One. You'll run fartlek as: relaxation after a series of races at the end of your last build-up, as a transition from racing longer distances, as a transition from racing shorter distances, for regaining or confirming fitness after an injury, or perhaps as your vacation running.
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