Training for race-day success should include a number of workouts, long runs and easy/recovery days but the most specific way to prepare is to practice running at goal race pace. Not only is this an effective way to further improve your fitness, but it serves an all-important role in boosting your confidence and comfort on race-day.
The following are simple yet challenging workouts (“practice sessions”) that have you run multiple intervals at goal race pace with short breaks in between. If you can stay on pace and ace these tough training runs, race day success should be well within reach.
Complete the workout at least one full week in advance of your goal race. Ensure you are well rested before and take plenty of time to recover after you do the workout.
For a 5K: Warm-up for 10-15 minutes then complete 4 x 1K@5KP with 500m easy between followed by a 10-15 minute cool-down.
For a 10K: 10-15 minute warm-up then 4 x 2K@10KP with 500m easy between then 10-15 minute cool-down
For a Half: 10 minute warm-up then 4 x 3K@HMP with 5 minutes easy between then 10 minute cool-down
For a Marathon: 5 minute warm-up then 4 x 5K@MP with 5 minutes easy between then 5 minute cool-down.
If, when and where possible, try to do the workout at the same time of day on a course that mimics what you’ll experience on race day. If the race starts in the morning and has hills, run hills in the morning. If it’s an evening trail race, try doing the workout one evening on trails. The more similarities between the practice session and the race, the more comfortable you should feel on race day.
Remember, running at roughly the same pace for the entire duration of the race is the best way to guarantee success. Be sure to avoid starting too fast or else you may fade and slow down in the second half.