As you probably know, my last marathon was in November and since then I haven’t done any races (other than a virtual 10k) and almost all of my runs have been at an easy pace. My mileage has been lower to work around the winter weather and I have pretty much just done whatever pace felt good each day. I’ve been getting to the point where I want to start varying my paces again (although mother nature likes to get in the way of those plans) but it can be challenging to do that when I’m not even sure where my fitness stands right now.
I actually do have a 10k coming up in April and I would like to sign up for a 5k over the next few months as well. So where to begin? I’ve never specifically trained for a distance shorter than a half-marathon, and I’m not feeling like I want to follow any sort of training plan, but I do want to get a little bit of speed back into my legs. I’ve posted 5k workout here and here, as well as a fartlek workout that is great for getting back into speed work.
As I thought about preparing myself for this 10k, I realized I have no idea what my 10k pace would be, or what I should work towards as a reasonable goal. I created this workout to help my legs get used to the different range of paces once again, from a marathon pace to a 5k pace. These paces are based on effort, and the thought was that I would run as hard as I would expect each pace to feel and then get a sense of where my paces are right now.
As expected, it was much easier to fall back into a marathon pace than a 5k pace. After all, those marathon paces were engrained into my body for several months last fall, and I have run some of my miles since then at or around that pace. The 5k paces, on the other hand, I haven’t gone near since probably September. I really struggled to even differentiate between 10k pace and 5k pace (although this was a hilly route, and I’m pretty sure the entire 2 minutes of 5k pace was all uphill).
Something else to consider when looking at the 5k pace is that this was the last interval of each set, meaning my legs were already tired from 11 minutes of hard running. However, this gives me a good starting point. My PR in the 10k was around a 7:38 pace, three years ago, and I have run faster 10ks than that in training runs since then. At this point a PR is probably a challenging but attainable goal. If I can put in some work, that is.
Here are a few other notes about this workout:
-You can certainly change the amount of time for each interval, but I would recommend keeping the marathon paces the longest, and decreasing the length of each interval as your pace increases.
-I just repeated the interval once (so two sets in total) but as your fitness improves you can repeat twice or even three times.
-Running this on hills is challenging (and a great workout) but remember that you are running by effort and the paces on your watch will not necessarily reflect how it felt.
-Take as much or as little recovery as you feel you need between each set. I was pretty beat from the 5k effort, so I took five minutes of recovery so that I would feel strong on the next set.
-Remember that warm up, cool down, and recovery pace should be slower than marathon pace (at least 45 seconds but preferably 1-2 minutes). I probably should have slowed down my recovery even more but part of it was on a long downhill which made that pace feel easier.
Let me know what you think of this workout if you give it a try! I found it to be a nice way to ease back into running harder paces without feeling too intimidating.
[Tweet “Try this race pace effort workout to ease your way back into training this spring! @runningoutowine #running #coachescorner #runningcoachescorner”]
Are you training for any races right now?
Do you get nervous to start adding faster running back in?
Do you “train” for 10k or just run them for fun/as part of your training for a longer distance race?
I’m joining Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coach’s Corner Link-up!
meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles says
this looks like a great workout! you knw I like these types that engage and challenge! I think I am running a 10k too in april (on the 2nd, didn’t sign up yet). I ran it last year and really liked it because it’s 5 minutes away! lol —– I hope you can do the li half — I didn’t sign up, didn’t decide but am thinking maybe/probably/decididing by next week
Let me know what you decide! I am going to see if one of my friends who will be going to the shower wants to do it.
Sam @ See Sam Run says
Great workout! That looks challenging and fun. I’m looking forward to a week “off” of training next week before I start working towards my April half!
Those off weeks are so nice! Hopefully you feel refreshed and ready to train for your April half after that!
I love the sound of this workout! I’m bookmarking and keeping it handy! Thanks Lisa!
I hope you like it if you give it a try!
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
YAY! Thanks for linking up! Race pace is such an important workout because you need to learn how to hold that pace. I’m having a few of my clients work on that in a few weeks.
Exactly! And it can be kind of scary to feel those paces again after not having trained in a while!
Megan @ Meg Go Run says
This looks fun!!! I will maybe try to incorporate this into my training!
I was actually thinking of your recent workouts today during my run! I was like I don’t know how Meg hold this pace for so many miles!
Megan @ Meg Go Run says
Laura @ This Runner's Recipes says
Great workout- I can’t wait to try it after my race! Multi pace workouts are my favorite, both as a runner and a coach. I want to run a 10k soon, because it’s such a fun distance and does put some speed in the legs.
10k pace can feel intimidating so it’s nice to have other paces in this workout too! I hope you get to give it a try after your race!
Michele @ paleorunningmomma says
I wouldn’t say nervous but I definitely feel unmotivated to add faster running into my routine, yet I think some of that has to do with marathon training in general just starting to feel draining. I think this summer, when I’m not training for anything, I’d like to cut back mileage but increase my speed a couple of times per week with workouts like this just for a total change of pace (lol) 🙂
I always enjoy my running routine when I am not really training for anything but doing some harder workouts once a week. But it can be tough to feel motivated when you don’t really “need” to do speed work!
Nice workout! I work on race pace with my clients. It’s so important to nail down the specific speed and to simulate it during training runs. Thanks for linking up!
Exactly! I ran SO many race pace miles before my last marathon and I definitely think it helped!
Jen B. says
Oooh this looks like a good workout! I have my half marathon on 3/20 and have been doing weekly speed workouts (I alternate between tempo and 400m repeats), but I think this workout would be good to do after my race in order to maintain a decent base.
I think it would be great for helping to maintain a base after your half!
Whoa, this looks like a perfect amount of tough. I’ve only recently (in the last year) started picking up the pace during my runs. I find it helps me get through the mental struggle on the treadmill, especially, when my paces are changing. I’m training for a half marathon (March 20) but I haven’t signed up yet because I don’t like jinxing it.
I don’t like signing up too early either! I signed up for a 5k on March 13th and then found out I have a baby shower in Boston that weekend. But I really took a chance because it was a 3 race series, and the last race is in September! So I think I can do the other 2 races, but won’t get the medal for the series.
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
I’m not really training but I have the NYC Half on March 20th and another half in NYC in Central Park on April 17th. Thereafter I plan to do marathon training over a six-month period, so starting in May I’ll buckle down with a real plan!
Thats exiting that you have such a solid race schedule!
Smitha @ FauxRunner says
I’ve done a similar race pace workout and it always always kicks my butt whenever I increase mileage beyond 15 miles. One day ….
You could always make the workout shorter if you feel like the distance is too much. It can definitely take a while to build up to higher mileage!
Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs says
I think this sounds like a fun workout (in that love it to hate it kind of way 🙂 ). Similar to a ladder workout which I love because of the pace always changing. I have a 10k on Sunday, which I haven’t trained for at all, so I’m sure it will be interesting.
Thanks for linking up!
Good luck in your 10k! I usually don’t train for that distance, but this time I’m realizing I don’t have any speed in my legs after several months off from training!
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
I would love to try and train for a short race like a 10K or a 5K. Like you I’ve never really trained for those per se. I have no idea what my 10K pace would even be!! I’ll have to try this out!