If you have already done a 10mile race and would like to improve on your time and performance, or if you can competently run 5km or 10km and want to build up a longer distance at a faster pace, this is the training programme to use. It incorporates interval training and speed work to build up your speed and endurance, and calls on a commitment of running on 4 days a week over 3 months.
The aim of this programme is to make 10 miles an easily achievable distance for you to run, and to enable you to improve your technique and speed over this distance whilst maintaining the ability to run further at a slower pace.
|Week 1||Rest||30 mins easy run||30 mins easy run||Rest||30 mins easy run||Rest||3 miles steady run|
|Week 2||Rest||30 mins easy run||30 mins easy run||Rest||30 mins speed run||Rest||3 miles steady run|
|Week 3||Rest||40 mins easy run||40mins interval run||Rest||30 mins speed run||Rest||4 miles steady run|
|Week 4||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 mins interval run||Rest||30 mins speed run||Rest||4 miles steady run|
|Week 5||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 min interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||6 miles steady run|
|Week 6||Rest||40 mins easy run||45mins interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||4 miles steady run|
|Week 7||Rest||40 mins easy run||40 mins interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||6 miles steady run|
|Week 8||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 mins interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||8 miles|
|Week 9||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 mins interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||8 miles|
|Week 10||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 mins interval run||Rest||30 mins speed run||Rest||10 miles|
|Week 11||Rest||40 mins easy run||50 mins interval run||Rest||40 mins speed run||Rest||6 miles at race pace|
|Week 12||Rest||30 mins easy run||40 mins interval run||Rest||30 mins easy run||Rest||RACE DAY!|
Timing your runs and your mile speeds is an excellent way of monitoring your improvement, and a good motivation to improve. Don’t be afraid to set yourself challenges.
Use the speed sessions on a Friday to improve your aerobic fitness and strength, and to test your own effort and endurance levels. For the longer runs and steady runs you should train at about 75% effort (a run not a sprint!), but can put a little more effort in on the shorter, faster runs and interval training. Once you are comfortable with 6-mile runs you can try increasing your speed a little, but do so gradually and only after your body has warmed up.
From week 4 your interval training can be adapted to shorten the recovery periods if possible, but try different lengths of interval runs to find the level that suits your ability. You want to avoid having to walk at any point, so make sure you have enough energy between interval runs to maintain a gentle recovery jog. You may want to shorten the interval run but also reduce the recovery run before the next bout of faster running. Alternatively you may wish to increase the duration of the interval runs but have slightly longer recovery runs in between as a result. Ultimately the aim is to increase the duration of the interval runs and get your body used to faster running, and by now you should be able to manage between 10 and 20 mins of continuous interval runs with recovery breaks in between.
When going out for interval or speed training warm up for half a mile or so first with a gentle jog. Likewise, after speed or interval training finish with a gentle “warm down” jog.
On the longer runs after week 8, continue to start gently and build up to a steady but relaxed pace, but if you feel able to increase your speed for the last couple of miles do so. However, don’t go too fast too soon and exceed your maintainable effort level and risk burn-out.
On race-day, don’t start too quickly. Allow the body to warm up for the first half mile or so before you aim for your race pace, and try not to get caught in a faster runner’s pace. Ensure you begin the race in the correct starting position (if applicable) and try to run with other people aiming for a similar finishing time. Your interval training should make it easier for you to speed up at any point if you have had a slow mile or become caught-up with slower runners.
Adrenaline, excitement and spectator support on the day should ensure that – however hard you may find the run – you manage to finish with a smile!
A few things to remember from the start:
- Respect your Rest-Days as these are necessary to allow your body to recover and adapt.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat a week if you are feel unprepared for the next part, or to drop back a week if you find the next stage too demanding at first. Everyone is different and bodies adapt at different rates.
- When doing interval training do not be tempted to run at “tempo” speed for the entire length of the run. The aim of interval training is to do shorter bursts of running at a pace faster than you normally run, with gentle “recovery” running in between, to improve endurance and fitness on your longer, steadier runs.
- Avoid wearing cotton clothing on your longer or faster runs, as cotton absorbs sweat and moisture and can chafe the skin. Use synthetic “wicking” fabrics instead, and decent running socks that won’t wrinkle, rub or trap moisture. It is important for women to wear a properly fitting sports bra to reduce vertical and horizontal movement. A flat-seamed, wide strapped, non-underwired, maximum support variety is particularly recommended.
- Wear proper running shoes at all times (usually in at least half a size larger than your normal footwear) as these will provide shock-absorption, support, protection, comfort and the most efficient exchange of energy from the ground. Seek advice from a specialist running shop for shoe advice and information, and to find out if you “over-pronate” (see our separate section on this) and may need shoes with additional arch support built in.
To maintain this new level of fitness, try to do at least three 30-40 minute runs every week and keep experimenting with interval and speed running.