10 Miler Training
How about some 10 miler training tips for 2016?
My favorite race distance in 10 miles mainly because I never had the all-out raw speed that the mile requires but the 10 mile distance favors those with decent speed but monstrous stamina.
It is the perfect distance and doesn't beat your legs up like the marathon can and, unlike the marathon, you can recover faster from the 5K to 10 mile distance relatively quickly.
Two of my favorite 10 mile road races, arguably the two fastest and most competitive 10 mile events are the Army 10 miler and the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.
10 miler training is going to be somewhat more geared toward anaerobic training as compared to the marathon where the majority of your training will be at somewhat slower paces.
It really depends on what your goals are.
What I would suggest to a beginner for 10 miler training is going to be entirely different to someone seeking to break, say, 60:00 for the distance.
If one runner seeks to finish the distance and the other has a time goal in mind than there are different strategies for both.
My first experience with running 10 mile events came in college when we had to do a 10 miler in training and it had to be in 55 minutes or faster otherwise you were not on the cross country team.
I competed for Jack Hazen who is one of the United States top distance running coaches.
Jack has been at Malone University now for 40 years and was picked as the 2012 USA Olympic men's and women's distance running team at the London Olympic Games.
Our standards at Malone were very strict and the running tradition at the school has a lot of history.
55 minutes for 10 miles isn't necessarily a walk in the park and the first time I attempted it I ran 55:13.
It was good enough to be on the team.
Here are a few tips I would give to runners of all abilities to begin their 10 miler training successfully.
- Repeat 800's.
I do these religiously in my own 10 miler training and they are conducted at paces that far exceed my goal 10 miler race pace.
For example, if I am to run 5:05 per mile pace for 10 miles which is my personal best pace for the distance (50:50) I will aim to do my 800m repeats about 20 to 25 seconds below goal race pace.
Remember, running easy has its place which is recovery and that is about it.
The 10 mile distance involves about a 70% aerobic, 30% anaerobic effort so you want to be working that one aspect of training many runners neglect and that is speed.
Long runs every day at 2 to 3 minutes slower than your goal pace isn't going to help you when it comes to racing.
Do not get me wrong, easy mileage has its place and is still important for recovery and burning fat efficiently but when it comes to racing, speed is the dividing point between it all.
You do not need to do these types of workouts to finish a 10 miler.
An athlete can really run 2 to 3 times a week and finish a 10 miler without too much of an issue but there is more specific work involved if you have a goal time in mind.
2. Long Run Re-Structure
If you want to run much faster for the 10 mile distance then you have ever run before one of the best strategies I can give is to increase the pace at which you conduct your long run.
Far too many runners think doing 20-22 mile runs at a minute to 3 minutes slower than their goal 10 mile, half-marathon or marathon goal pace is going to make them faster.
Yes, workouts like this will make any runner stronger and more fit but on an anaerobic level the athlete will not have trained well enough to maintain pace in the race.
Remember, the goal is to slow less then the runners around you.
If you learn to increase the amount of time you are spending at a higher percentage of your max heart rate you are going to see significant improvements in your 10 miler results.
After you have 4 to 8 weeks of easy mileage I would focus on conducting your long runs at 160 beats per minute (if wearing a heart rate monitor) which, you will find, is much more challenging.
You cannot run every week hard.
Alternate one harder long run with one easier long run the following week to allow recovery and your body to adapt to this type of training.
It was this key change that I made that helped me lower my half marathon best from 1:10:13 to 1:07:06 and my marathon from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.
This step is critical for 10 miler success.
3. Mile repeats
The usual workout I would routinely do and still do to this day is 6x1mile but I'll usually start off at or around 85% of my best mile time (4:19) which rounds out to about 5:05 per mile.
I'll spend 3 weeks (the time it takes to physiologically adapt to the stress) at that effort and then move to 88% effort and repeat.
21 days is how long it usually takes to adapt to any stress load you place on the body so the workouts you do today you really are not going to get a benefit from until 3 weeks from now.
Patience is key so if you want to run 7:00 mile pace for 10 miles, take your fastest mile you have ever run and start your mile workouts at or around 85% of that time
Please note, do not start doing mile repeats until you have laid a strong foundation of easy mileage and light strides every other day for at least 4 to 6 weeks, preferably 8.
A house isn't built without a foundation and fitness doesn't just come to us.
It is a planned, progressive process.
Do not second guess yourself if you cannot hit the splits you want early on.
Focus on the effort and getting the reps in, do the best you can for the day.
Repeat the next week.
Trust me, it gets easier but it does take time and patience and the latter is hard to have sometimes when you want to be at your best from the start.
I love doing fartlek workouts during my 10 miler training because I can vary them up as much as I see fit as can you.
Typical fartlek workouts I focus on when training for a 10 miler are as follows:
8x1K on the road with 1K at 170-75BPM (aerobic capacity effort) followed by 1K at 135-45BPM (easy).
10x1minute hard followed by 1 minute easy (short and sweet)
2x5K at half marathon goal race pace (4:55) with 5-8 minutes rest between sets
These are just a few typical workouts I would so and you can adjust paces to fit your needs and capability.
In closing, focus more on the quality rather than just quantity when training for the 10 mile event.
The race itself involves a great deal of speed and stamina but if you focus on training at or below your goal pace and take equal precautions to run easy between hard effort you will do awesome.
10 miler training is all about balancing hard efforts with proper recovery between the hard, anaerobic sessions on the roads and track.
The greatest benefit of the training will come in the rest so ensure you are getting enough rest, hydrating well and eating properly.