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Master your 10K with this tempo workout

This tempo workout with minimal rest can be a huge confidence booster for your race day

Photo by: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series

The 10K distance can be difficult to get a grasp of as you need to properly pace yourself in the early kilometres to deliver a fast finish. The 10K is the second most popular race distance after the half-marathon, and it tests your fitness level, strength, energy and endurance. If you have a 10K race on the horizon, it is best to train for it by doing a mix of high mileage, aerobic-based speedwork and a bit of interval training.

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If you are looking to structure a 10K speed workout for yourself, try to aim for around 25 to 35 minutes of elapsed time for your intervals/speed to prepare your body physically for the distance.

The workout

Three reps of 10 minutes @ tempo pace with 90 seconds’ jog rest

If you don’t know your tempo pace, take the average pace of your last 5K race, then add around 20 to 30 seconds per kilometre. 

The purpose of this workout is to improve your aerobic threshold on minimal rest. The entirety of the workout is almost 35 minutes, which upon completion, will give you confidence toward your 10K race. On the first rep, focus on staying relaxed and settling into your tempo pace, finding a rhythm in your stride.

Treat the transition from rest into your second rep as you would to stay calm in the middle of a race. Focus on your breathing and keeping that rhythm. On the third rep, focus on maintaining your form and holding strong for that final 10 minutes. If you want to make the workout a little harder, try speeding up by five to 10 seconds per kilometre on the final rep to push your aerobic capacity, as you would in the late stages of a 10K. 

James Heptonstall and Noel Carroll training in Central Park

Use each 90-second rest as a slow jog or trot to get your breath back and relax your form into the next rep. 

If you can complete this tempo workout, going 10 to 20 seconds faster per kilometre than your tempo pace shouldn’t be an issue on race day.