052: Key Running Workouts for 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon Training
How do I get faster? The ultimate question for a coach and competitive runner. While there really is no magic workout or super predictor, there are some best practices.
Different workouts are designed for different physical benefits, and those benefits have varying levels of importance at different race distances. Longer races require the physical ability to hold up over a few hours of running, while 5k races force an athlete to deal with higher levels of pain but for a shorter period of time.
As we have pointed out before, two athletes running the same workouts at the same pace(or intensity level) may not gain identical adaptations. New runners and seasoned runners will adapt differently, and age and gender seem to also play a role. With that in mind, we present some workout ideas for success at major race distances.
- 3 x 4 x 400 at sub 5k pace with 45-60 seconds between each and 3 minutes between sets or 400 at mile pace
- 1200 at 5k-10k pace repeated 4 times
- Mile repeats just slower than 5k pace with half time recovery
- Fartlek runs (5 minutes up/2 minutes down) with a goal overall pace between half and full marathon
- Long distance fartlek runs (1/1, 2/2, 3/3) 1/1 means 1 min on pace/1 min easy pace
- Repeats of 2-3 miles at 10k pace with 5 minute recovery - can do 2 sets of 3 miles or 3 sets of 2 miles
- Beginners: Increased long run
- Veterans: Increased steady state run at half marathon pace. Start with 20 min steady state in the middle of a run and work up to 45-60 min at steady pace
They may not be mandatory, and there are definitely crossover benefits of doing any of the workouts for any other distances, but this is a short list to consider adding to your workout repertoire.
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