Those who train for a half or even a full marathon generally take plenty of time for thorough preparation. When it comes to the 10 km you hear that much less. And that’s a shame! Here are some general guidelines for a thorough preparation for the 10 km.
Too few runners really take the time to train thoroughly for a very good 10 km. And that’s a shame! Running a fast 10 is a great challenge for everyone, especially for runners who have set their sights on longer distances such as the half or even the full marathon. We opened ‘the bible’ of coach Jack Daniels to read some tips from him about a thorough preparation for a super-fast 10 kilometers.
Phase I – the foundation
If you’ve been out for a while and you’re starting to run regularly again, take about four to six weeks to build up some volume again. At this stage, don’t try to immediately get back to the level you once had or the level that your top fit neighbor or colleague has. Take it easy is the credo, Daniels swears. Half-hour runs (we’re not talking beginners here!) are a good starting point. It depends on your load capacity and your running history how many times a week you can do that, but for the majority of recreational runners three to four times a week is doable. Stay at that initial level for three weeks.
After those three weeks, you will increase the weekly volume. To do this, Daniels recommends that you add 1 mile each time you walk to that volume every three weeks. Let’s make that mile 1.5 km for arithmetical convenience, so each training session can be 1.5 kilometers longer. You can also hold this volume for another week or three.
In this phase you mainly walk calmly, easy pace. In addition, you can occasionally do some accelerations during your quiet endurance run. Mind you, no full sprints, but let the legs go quickly. Acceleration is then done on flexibility, not on strength.
Phase II – a touch of speed
The letter R stands for Rehearsals in the Daniels’ Running Formula. R means faster than I, which stands for Interval. In a training with Repetitions you run the repetitions at a higher speed than during I-training, but you do fewer repetitions and you have more rest in between. For a runner who runs a marathon in 4 hours, who does his 400 meters in an I-training in 1m54s and in an R-training in 1m46s, has to do 200s in that R-training at 53 seconds for our example runner.
You can use one of your workouts in this phase to run at R pace. The distances of the intervals – or of the rehearsals – are no longer than 400 meters and you run them just a little faster than the pace of the fastest 5 km. In any case, the total accumulated volume at this rate should not exceed 5 percent of your weekly total.
Phase III – hello, interval!
Then we have arrived at the next phase, in the interval training that enters this training block. The reps during an I-workout are longer and at a slightly slower pace than those during an E-workout. You are now going to intervals of 800, 1000 and 1200 meters.
In terms of pace, for I, maintain a pace that is about 6 to 8 seconds per 400m slower than your R pace. I-training should be no more than 8 percent of your total weekly volume or, as Daniels recommends, no more than 10 km of your weekly total, regardless of how much you walk per week.
Stage IV – Race Pace
In this phase the emphasis is on race pace. You train blocks of 1 to a maximum of 3 kilometers at that race pace. At this stage, you might consider running a 5K or even a 10K as part of your training, but one where you hold back, so definitely don’t run flat out.
If you run a 5K or 10K race leading up to your goal race, Coach Daniels recommends taking it easy in training afterwards. His formula for this is ‘one Easy day for every 3 km racing’. That means three days of Easy after a 10km race and 2 after a 5km race.