Spring is the favourite season for many runners. When spring rolls around, race season has finally arrived. The long, cold and dark Canadian winter however often makes it difficult to get in the necessary training for longer races. Shorter races such as 5K and 10K are the perfect compromise and are still among the most popular race distances.
Training for a 5K or 10K takes less time than doing so for a longer race. It can be done in as little as four to eight weeks. For many runners, it also means faster, fun workouts that develop speed and strength. These workouts use shorter intervals that are ideal for the track and won’t require much more than a digital watch.
The following are sample workouts, organized by difficulty, that can help you get the most out of an upcoming 5K or 10K race. You should aim to run at (or very close to) your goal race pace. If you don’t know what that might be, run “hard,” between 6 and 8 on a discomfort scale, where 1 is an easy walk and 10 is an all-out sprint. Regardless of your speed/pace, aim to run each interval in roughly the same amount of time. Also be sure to avoid starting too fast or else you’ll slow down or not finish. Walk or slowly jog for recovery between intervals.
Training for 5K
Beginner: 6-10 x 400m @5KP with 200m rest/recovery between intervals
Intermediate: 4-5 x 800m @5KP with 400m rest/recovery between intervals
Advanced: 3-4 x 1200m @5KP with 400m rest/recovery between intervals
Pro/Elite: 3 x 1600m @5KP with 400m rest/recovery between intervals
Training for 10K
Beginner: 6-8 x 800 @10KP with 400m rest/recovery between intervals
Intermediate: 5-6 x 1200 @10KP with 400m rest/recovery between intervals
Advanced: 4-5 x 1600m @10KP with 800m rest/recovery between intervals
Pro/Elite: 4 x 2000m @10KP w 800m rest/recovery between intervals
As always, begin each workout with a warm-up consisting of 10-15 minutes of very easy running followed by a few minutes for dynamic drills, stretches and strides. Follow the workout by cooling down with a final 5-15 minutes of easy running.