The next type of progression run is very similar, but should be more challenging. Run 20 minutes steady, 10 minutes faster, five minutes faster, five minutes faster. With this workout you'll be hard-pressed to say that you could have done 10 more minutes at the final pace, so the goal is to finish the run and say: "If I had to, I could have run five additional minutes at the final pace, but it would have been a race effort." This is the workout that has you running threshold pace in the middle, then has you running faster. This stimulus, where you start to produce a bit of lactate, is a good thing for all runners, even half marathon and marathon runners. While you wouldn't want to do this workout every week, it's a great workout to do every 2 to 3 weeks.
Long Repeats on the Road
Simple concept here: Run longer distances or durations on the roads. A great example is 3 x 2 miles for a 10K runner, with 3 to 5 minutes of slow jogging in between you'll get in almost 10K of work during this workout. The more you complete this workout, start decreasing the rest, and try to run the same pace you ran in the past. After 3 to 4 attempts, you'll be running race pace with just short rest, and this should give you confidence that you can run close to that pace for your race.
If that workout seems a bit daunting, start with this workout: 4 to 5 x 10 minutes with two minutes of slow jogging. You should finish saying: "I could have done one more 10-minute segment if I had to." This is a very simple workout, but one that will test you because 10 minutes of challenging running takes a bit of concentration.
Classic track workouts are Yasso 800s and 12 x 400m with 60 seconds recovery. I'm a fan of both of those workouts, but there are two others that you can try.
I believe that most runners undervalue striving for personal records in the 5K. But, if you want to run a good half marathon or marathon, you should have a decent 5K PR. Being able to run a solid 5K pace simply makes half marathon pace and marathon pace feel slower.
A simple 5K workout is to run 10 x 500m with a short 40- to 45-second jog. Envision this on a track: Run a full 400m lap, then run one more curve to complete the 500m distance. Now you just have to jog across the infield to the start line, and off you go on your next 500m repeat.
What's great about this workout is that because you run 5,000m, you can get a sense of what you can race 5,000m at by adding up the time on all of the 500m repeats, then add about 5 percent to that value. This is a workout you should be able to negative split, meaning you run faster as the workout progresses Try to run the first seven repetitions at about the same pace, then if you can run intervals eight, nine and 10 progressively faster, you've done a great workout.
Another workout I like is 600m with 200m float. This adds up to 800m, so you can do six of these and get a 3-mile workout, or you can do as many as 12 of these and get a 6-mile workout. Most people will do eight or 10 intervals, and run either 4 or 5 miles.
The key to this workout, much like the fartlek workout, is the 200m float. Let's say you are going to run 10 sets, so 5 miles, and you want to run the 600s at 10K pace. You should spend the first 3 to 4 of the 600m repetitions grooving the 10K pace. Once you have that pace dialed in, then you can start working on the pace of the 200m float by slowly increasing the pace on each float. By the end of the workout, the float should be fairly snappy, but you should still able to hit the 10K pace for the 600s.
This is a great workout to do when you're a bit tired, as you can run the 600s at 10K pace and take the floats a little slower. You can also really make this workout tough if you make the 200m floats faster and faster. As with the other workouts, you should finish this workout saying: "I could have done one or two more 600m/200m sets if I had to, but it would have felt like a race."
As the saying goes, "All roads to Rome," and the same is true for workouts that improve endurance. The key is to run challenging workouts, but ones that are also controlled. If you do that, you'll recover adequately, and be able to run your next workout or long run well.race.