Tucson 10k Training:  Start Now! - News

Tucson 10k Training:  Start Now!

11 July 2017

Phase 1: Getting your groove on.  


Start here if you need to spend a few weeks making running part of your regular schedule. The more consistent your running is, the easier it will be to build and add intensity.  In this phase, the important thing is getting out the door.  Do the following schedule for 3 weeks.

Monday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday:  Aerobic Run for 30-45 minutes. 

Wednesday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Thursday:  Build-ups.

Friday:  Day off.

Saturday:  Longer Aerobic Run 45-60 minutes.

Sunday:  Recovery Run for 20-30 minutes.


Alternate exercise:  Alternate forms of exercise that best support running, in my experience, are biking, swimming, the Elliptical Machine, Pilates, yoga, and strength training (preferably geared for runners).

Aerobic Run:  Run at an effort level you can hold steady for the whole run.  Try not to start or finish too fast, keeping your effort/pace even throughout.  You are growing your cardiovascular (aerobic) system when you run at a comfortable effort.

Build-ups:  Build-ups, or strides, are very short intervals that last no more than 20 seconds each.  Start at a comfortable effort and gradually build-up speed every couple of seconds for 20 seconds.  After each build-up, run very easy or walk for 40 seconds. Find a flat grassy area like a soccer field to do build-ups. Be sure to warm-up for 15 minutes at a very comfortable effort and cool down for 15 minutes after.  By doing build-ups, you are training your body to change gears and run faster, safely.  Start with 6 build-ups.  If you feel ready, you can add 2 more each week up to 10.

Longer Aerobic Run:  Run 10-15 minutes longer than your longest weekly run.  You can gradually make this run longer or keep it the same until if feels too easy.  Run at an effort level you can hold steady for the whole run. Try not to start or finish too fast, keeping your effort/pace even throughout. You are growing your cardiovascular (aerobic) system when you run at a comfortable effort.

Recovery Run:  Run very easy for 20 minutes.  If you do this run nice and easy, you’ll feel better at the end of the run than you did at the beginning.  This will train your body to run through fatigue.

Phase 2:  Getting stronger.

Start with this phase if you’ve already been running regularly and want to add some variety and intensity to your training.  Hill work will enhance your aerobic and anaerobic systems by increasing your heart rate and running intensity.  It preps your legs to handle speedier workouts down the road.  Follow this schedule for 3-4 weeks.

Monday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday:  Aerobic Run for 45-60 minutes.

Wednesday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Thursday:  Hill Reps.

Friday:  Day off.

Saturday:  Longer Aerobic Run 60-75 minutes.

Sunday:  Recovery Run for 20-30 minutes.

Hill Reps: Find a hill that is about a 5% grade.  Like build-ups, start at a comfortable effort and gradually build-up speed every couple of seconds.  After each hill rep, run very easy back down the hill to start again.  Focus on keeping a straight back, quick feet, and a powerful arm swing on your way up the hill. Power walk uphill if necessary. Run for at least 15 minutes at a comfortable effort before and after.

Week 1:  5 x 30 seconds.  5 x 20-sec.  5 x 10-sec .  (Focus on form over speed)

Week 2:  10 x 30 second hill reps.

Week 3:  6 x 1-minute hill reps.

Week 4:  4 x 2-minute hill reps.

Run the race course:  During this phase, do one of your longer aerobic runs on the race course.  It helps to run the course ahead of time and it's also a good training opportunity to get in a longer hilly run, if you haven't been doing so already.

Phase 3:  Getting faster.

Start with this phase if you already run hills regularly and are looking to add speedier running to your schedule.  Follow this schedule for 3 weeks.

Monday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday:  Aerobic Run for 45-60 minutes.

Wednesday:  Alternate Exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Thursday:  Pace work.

Friday:  Day off.

Saturday:  Longer Aerobic Run 75-90 minutes.

Sunday:  Recovery Run for 20-30 minutes.

Pace Work:  The following workouts will provide you with some good information about your current fitness and give you an idea of your 10k goal pace range.  It’s a good idea to go into a race with some knowledge of your ability so you’re not standing at the starting line clueless.

Timed Mile (week 1): Go to a track or a flat running path and run a mile at a moderately hard effort.  Time yourself.  Make sure to run at least 15 minutes easy before and after your mile.

20 Minute Tempo Run (week 2): Do this tempo run on a flat running path at a comfortably-uncomfortable effort that you could hold for 45-60 minutes if you had to. The pace you run for this tempo run will likely be about 30 seconds slower than your 1 mile pace. Make sure to run at least 10 minutes easy before and after your tempo run.

Half Mile Reps (week 3): Go to a track or a flat running path for this workout.  Run 5 x .5 mile intervals at your goal 10k pace with 2-3 minutes of easy running between each. 

Finding your pace range:  Your goal 10k pace will most likely be about 15-20 seconds slower than your 1 mile pace and about 10-15 seconds faster than your tempo pace.  For example, if you ran a 7:00 mile and a 7:30/mile tempo run, your goal 10k pace will be around 7:20/mile.  Now, take that pace and turn it into a goal 10k pace “range” by subtracting and adding 5 seconds (7:15-7:25).

Phase 4:  Taper Week

It’s common practice to ease up on the mileage a bit the week or two before a race.  This phase is good for anyone who has been running more than normal and wants to allow his/her body time to recover before the big race.

Monday:  Alternate Exercise for 30 minutes.

Tuesday:  Aerobic Run for 30-45 minutes.

Wednesday:  Alternate Exercise for 30 minutes.

Thursday:  Build-ups (6) with 10 minute warm-up & cool down.

Friday:  Day off.

Saturday:  20 minutes very easy.

Sunday:  Tucson 10k Race.