If you want to crush your 10K personal record, 10K-specific training and racing more 10Ks is a must; but, did you know that 5K distance can help you become a faster, more efficient 10K runner?
A runner who carries out speed workouts at 10K and 5K paces eventually becomes much more comfortable at 10K speed and much more fatigue resistant at a 5K pace, increasing the likelihood that he or she will eventually be able to run 10Ks at close to current 5K speed. Learn how to run both a faster 5K and 10K with the following speed workouts from Running Science by Owen Anderson.
Speed Training at 10K Pace
In speed training, a general rule is that work-interval length expands at the slower end of the speed spectrum, that is, toward 10K and away from 800-meter speed. A 10K pace can hardly be considered lethargic, yet it is the slowest velocity used in speed training so the work intervals are the longest. A practical and productive work-interval length for 10K-paced speed training is 2,000 meters (1.2 miles). A speed training session at 10K pace should include a thorough warm-up, a specified number of 2,000-meter work intervals at 10K pace, jog recoveries after each work interval, a cooldown, and then stretching at the very end of the workout.
The 2,000-meter intervals are easy to set up; this example presumes is based on a runner whose 10K finish time is about 40 minutes. Since there are 25 x 400-meter segments within a 10K, that's a 400-meter tempo of 40/25 = 1.6 minutes, or 96 seconds. There are five 400-meter components in a 2,000-meter work interval, so the goal time for each 2,000-meter interval would be 5 ? 96 = 480 seconds, or 8 minutes flat.
Ten thousand meter-paced intervals are demanding and facilitate a runner's capacity to move along at 10K tempo in continuous fashion for an extended period of time. Average work-interval intensity will automatically be about 90 percent of VO2 max, and blood lactate will be elevated during the intervals. So this workout will improve VO2 max and lactate-threshold velocity.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that running at 10K speed enhances economy at this pace, an effect that should lead to upgrades in vVO2 max. Thus, a platform is created that makes current 10K speed easier to handle in race situations—and the physiological advancements prepare a runner to move up to faster velocities in future 10Ks.