With only weeks to go, completing a workout that closely mimics the demands of the race will let you know exactly where your fitness is at and confirm that you’re ready to run your best.
Find below a few of the most effective and runner-approved race prediction workouts for various distances. Aim to run the workout approximately two-to-three weeks before your goal race. Make sure you are well rested before and take extra time to recover after completing the workout. Unlike race week workouts–done just a few days before an important race–which are both less stressful on the body and designed to build confidence, these prediction runs are considerably more taxing and require extra time to recover.
5K: Race pace 800s
The 5K is the shortest of the popular road race distances and frankly, it’s all about maintaining a high degree of speed and relative discomfort. Short, fast repeats are among the best and most effective ways to train for a 5K and 800m repeats–two laps of a classic track–are an optimal workout to test your fitness and readiness to run.
The workout: Complete a short warm-up then run 6 x 800m at goal 5K pace. Recover between intervals with 400m of easy jogging or brisk walking and be sure to finish with a proper cool-down.
10K: 3 x 3K at race pace
The 10K requires a careful combination of speed and endurance, with an emphasis on the former but a requirement of the latter.
The workout: Warm-up then run three intervals of 3K at goal 10K pace. Take five minutes of recovery jogging between intervals. Finish with a cool-down.
Half-marathon: 5K repeat tempos
The half marathon is a distance that combines and demands a high degree of speed and endurance. Because you’ll be running just above lactate threshold, longer (3-6K) tempo efforts at race pace are the best way to train the body to sustain an even pace without fatiguing.
The workout: After warming up for a few kilometers, run three x 5K at goal half-marathon pace with a five-minute recovery jog in between. Be sure to cool-down afterward.
Marathon: The fast finish long run
Long runs are the staple of any marathon training program and while most should be done at a comfortable and conversational pace, it’s also important to occasionally add some marathon pace efforts to build confidence and practice running at race pace.
The workout: During one of your last/pre-race long runs, do the first half at an easy pace then increase your speed and run the final 10-15K at your goal marathon pace. You can also do this gradually, building to goal race pace over several kilometers then running at or even faster than race pace for the final few. The idea is to practice running at marathon pace on already tired legs. Be sure to refuel and hydrate as you would on race day and try to mimic the marathon course as closely as possible.