/ Short distance running advice

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Irk the Purist - on 29 Jan 2014
Inspired by the current thread on fat loss and avoiding hi-jack...

I'm trying to get my 10k time under 40 minutes.

These are my current PBs.

4 mile - 26:30 (v windy)
5 mile - 32:17
10k - 40:04
half - 85:50
marathon - 3:25

Ignoring my marathon, which dates from 2008/9 (I've done hilly, off road ones in 3:39 since) my half time would suggest that my 10k and and under times are below par. What should I be doing?

Last night I did 50m sprint, 50m recovery, 400m (1:18), 1 minute rest, 100m sprint, 50m recovery, 400m and rest, 150m sprint, 50m recovery, 400m and rest and then the sprints down to 50 again.

I normally do longer intervals of up to 3 x 1 mile (6mins) or 6-8 800m (2:50) or 6-8 400m (1:20). I also do a lot of hill sprints as I live in a hilly area. Sprint up, jog down, repeat to sick.

I've been doing specific speed work once a week for a year and my 10k pb has come down from 40:11 (second half of my hm pb) to 40:04! 7 seconds!

Any advice?
daftdazza - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

hi, its a long time since I did any running, and I am rusty with all the training terms, but will try and give you a bit of advice.

Looking at a training, i don't think speed is holding you back, more a lack of speed endurance.

The sessions you do, could be improved by building them up to 30mins worth of effort, say 5 x 1 mile with getting down to a 1 minute recovery, i would also aim to build up to doing two of this type of sessions a week, or 1 plus say a park run or other race at weekend initially. Then you could manage two tempo sessions plus a race or park run a week.

eventually you could look at replacing one of the tempo session with more anaerobic type training totalling 15 mins effort, say 4 to 5 x 1km, or 400 and 800 reps which total about 15min or 5km, you can also have longer recover between reps. but jogging as recovering is a good idea, and easy to judge distances if doing this on a track. i think the recommendation is to look at doing this sort of training 8 weeks prior to a specific race your aiming to do well in.

with regards to the sprint training, i would just try and incorporate some easy short sprint, towards you the end of your normal training runs, but nothing which is going to leave you out of breath, again is lack of speed endurance not speed which will prevent you from breaking 40 mins 10km.

hopefully someone will come on and give you better advice, about exact reps and recovery times etc.
andy - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist: I used these (as well as a lot of the other stuff you're doing) to get my 10k PB from just over 40 to just over 37:

http://training4endurance.co.uk/running/running-intervals/tempo-intervals/

There's some links to some specific sessions near the bottom - the big difference for me was shorter, jogging recoveries than I'd been doing, so the fatigue built up as the session went on. I wasn't running reps a whole lot quicker than you - 1k in about 3:40 or so, but the real effort was doing #6 at the same pace as #1!

wbo - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist: You don't say what running you do, but I assume you do some kind of longish run on a Sunday. If you're keen on 10K, for you, you don't need to more than 12 or 13miles.
Your sessions seem ok although I haven't bothered to check out the times for pace. Rather than a specific sprint session you can do some 'strides' where you basically open up to a bit beyond race pace for 100, 200m just to get the feel for running fast. Hills, as you do, and some longish reps are v. good. My stock sessions were 8*800, or 6 *1km at 5k race pace with maybe 1 minute rest , sometimes less (40 secs).
Doing some shorter races will really help as well. Start with 2 sessions a week, or one and a 5k race. Lots of people try to fo 3, and find that more physically damaging than it's worth.

The New NickB - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Race some 5ks, that 1/2 suggests you can go a lot faster, but are missing a gear. Push yourself harder on the 4 x 1 mile. Going fast hurts, but it is useful to understand what you body can take. You are basically doing 10k at your 1/2 marathon pace. My 10k pace is 20 seconds a mile faster than my 1/2 pace, my 5k is 10 seconds a mile again.
Nutkey on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

> Race some 5ks, that 1/2 suggests you can go a lot faster, but are missing a gear. Push yourself harder on the 4 x 1 mile. Going fast hurts, but it is useful to understand what you body can take. You are basically doing 10k at your 1/2 marathon pace. My 10k pace is 20 seconds a mile faster than my 1/2 pace, my 5k is 10 seconds a mile again.

<aol>

If I had to guess, I'd say it looks like you're running round too comfortably, and then putting ina big sprint finish.

You should be tired at 1/3rd and knackered at 2/3rd. And then try to get faster on the final 20% or so :)

My mile paces were (scarily, it's nearly 10 years since I set these times) very similarly spaced to NewNickBs -

Half: 6m22
10K: 6m02
5K: 5m49

What's worth bearing in mind is that when I've gone back and down the same races again, only less fit and seriously undertrained, I haven't gone *that* much slower. A *lot* of racing is psychological, and you stand a much better chance of doing a particular time if you think you can do it.
Irk the Purist - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Thanks all. I think it's actually a case of me being able to sustain my 10k pace for longer than 10km. I genuinely go as fast as I can on short stuff, it's like I'm speed limited. I do have a sprint finish but I don't hold back during the race. If anything I go off to fast.

I'll have a go at more speed sessions a week. I have had a baby this year so maybe it's lack of rest holding me back and all this hard work will pay off soon.
IainRUK - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

your longer reps are good.. I did 6 x 1k in 3:20, so 800's in 2:40.. 2:35-2:40

Assuming a matched rest your 800 time should be your marathon time, well maybe 5 mins too optimistic... so 2:50 you should be running sub 3 marathon.

I'd add more speed miles, 10 miles in 70 mins that sort of stuff..
IainRUK - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to daftdazza:

Try and increase your efforts to nearer or over 20 mins..


" Looking at a training, i don't think speed is holding you back, more a lack of speed endurance."

That's what I think.. he has speed.. 5k races and longer quicker runs, learn to race and hurt
Humperdink - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

I'd kind of agree with what some of the other folks have said, you need to improve your ability to run fast over a sustained period. You can either do this by running some tempos eg 4 Mile at 6:30 pace if your mile rep pace is 6:00. This should start out comfortably hard and get harder to the point where you are working hard but at the finish you think you could have done another mile. The other thing is to increase the volume in your sessions followed by the rep distance. So starting from 3x 1mile progression could be: 4 x 1Mile, 5 x 1Mile, 3 x 2Mile, 2 x 3Mile, 4Mile + 2Mile.....
This assumes that you are doing at least 30-40M a week though.

The other advice I'd give is that starting off too quick in the 10K will completely ruin any PB attempt (I can speak from experience here). From races where I have set PB's you should feel almost like you are going too slow through the first K and feel like you are starting to really work by 3K.

Good luck!
Liam M - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> Thanks all. I think it's actually a case of me being able to sustain my 10k pace for longer than 10km. I genuinely go as fast as I can on short stuff, it's like I'm speed limited. I do have a sprint finish but I don't hold back during the race. If anything I go off to fast.

How well warmed up before hand? For a long time I had a similar problem, and had identical 5 and 10k paces. A large part was taking several km to hit my max sustainable speed, by which point it would be too late to recover it in a 5k.

Try doing a 5k warm up finishing at target race pace a few mins before the race starts. Doing this (and developing the endurance to enable me to do so) made a significant difference to my short range race pace before I started adding in more speed work into my training.
wbo - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:
Honestly I would stick to the reps you are doing till you get a deal of confidence and obviously good fitness. If you start to do very long rep sessions (6 * 1 mile , or multiple 2 mile efforts) then they are very hard to do right. Also would you do these at race pace or slightly slower - dropping 30 secs a mile is pretty valueless - I've done those sessions, but they were run at 1/2 marathon pace, and that would only be 10 or 12 seconds beyond your desired 10K pace. And having done them, you are then spanked for at least 3 days before you can do the required '5k pace' session.
Humperdink - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to wbo:

I would advocate doing the rep sessions at "10K effort". You aren't going to be able to bang out those sessions at 10K target pace on a wet/windy midweek evening on your own. If this works out at 10-15 secs per mile slower then thats fine because you are learning to run for extended periods at a sustained effort. I agree that these are for experienced athletes (hence why asked if they are running a reasonable mileage) - but you shouldn't feel like you can't do another session until another 4 days afterwards. This is the reason for progressing the sessions you are building endurance at or around target pace so in a race situation this feels more comfortable. You shouldn't be jumping from 3x 1Mile straight to 6x 1Mile as clearly the quality of the reps is going to suffer and you will feel tired/sore. In terms of progression only one of those sessions should be done a week so its going to take you a month to go from 3 x 1Mile up to 3 x 2Mile.

To avoid any confusion - I'm not saying that this type of session should be done 30 secs slower than race pace - thats for tempo running. Running 30sec per mile slower than target pace for a continuous 4 mile effort is not valueless, its ideal for developing lactate threshold and running economy which is why most good atheletes will do tempo sessions.
IainRUK - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Humperdink:

For sure.. the big key ingredient is consistency.. if you are wrecked from a session for 4 days you have no consistency..

If I do 8 x 800s Is 2:35-2:40 pace.. I wouldn't say its easy but I'll do a 14 miler the next night no issue.
Irk the Purist - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:
As a bit of background, I come from a long distance background. Started at marathon and got longer! Did the Lakeland100 in 2012 when I was doing up to 100 miles a week. Baby since so mileage is more like 20-30 but I could certainly cope with doing more. It took me a few months to be able to run 7 min miles after my ultra training because I neglected speed work completely!

Thanks all, I'll try a few ideas out over the next few months and let you know how I get on!

(Also, I did 85:50 hm on 25 miles a week for about 6 weeks. I just kept running 10-13 miles trying to go faster than the last time, had a week off and went for it on the day)
Post edited at 12:56
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

I like you started competitive running with marathons, I found I regularly ran under three hours which was an initial target, then under an hour for ten miles became the target, it took me two years, just missing it by a minute or even the odd few seconds.
I eventually joined Salford and started to go to their training sessions, the interval sessions were a revelation, within a couple of months I ran 58 mins for ten miles, though my marathon times did not significantly alter, my advice is to go to an athletics club with a good coaching history, talk to the coach and follow his advice.
Humperdink - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

Yep - but thats because you are a high mileage beast :) (and you've been running for a considerable length of time)
Irk the Purist - on 17 Mar 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

As promised... an update whether you care or not.

I raced a 5 miler on Saturday, off road on a hot day coming in at 30:48. I think the race was short (4.8ish) but my pace was good (about 39:51 10k pace.) The difference was that I felt great, almost like I was running within myself rather than half dead. I had loads left for the last mile and put my foot down with my watch telling me I was at 5:58 pace for the last split (nearly a mile). That tells me I had more in me and I've got more confidence for next time.

What have I been doing? I've been doing shorter intervals because I think I lack the strength and raw speed to go faster. My endurance is good and I embrace suffering, I just can't go any faster it seems. Doing 100m sprints with 100m jog recovery mixed with 400m/800m intervals, mostly on the track but the odd bit of street work where I find a hill for the last 100m or so. I've been combining that with long intervals/tempo runs to build speed endurance. I've progressed to 6 x 1mile at 6:15 pace and I can generally match that for all of them and it's not too much that I can't do another session 2-3 days later.

I also ran 4 miles to warm up for the 5 miler and wore a hat.

Maybe the winter training is starting to pay off? 35 mile ultra on Saturday and then I think I'm going to concentrate on speed, get that long run back down to 10-12 miles. I think I might be a convert to short and fast.
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Humperdink - on 20 Mar 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Fansastic - well done! Now you just need to enter a flat 10K with a reasonable field and smash out 10K under 40mins - you've done all of the training you just need to convert it now. The only thing I would recommend personally on race day is perhaps a shorter warm-up (2-3M) and then some strides (literally stride out relaxed for 50-80m four/five times with walk back recovery to get your body primed for running quick when the gun goes) in the last 5-10 mins before the start

It looks like you've been doing a good mix of speed, speed endurance and endurance work so its no surprise you are going well. You should also run a 5K (possibly before the 10K but you don't have to) to give yourself a good benchmark of where you are over that distance too. Then it just depends on what your next goal is :)

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