Running: Speed Training - part 1
My target this year is to get my 10k down to 40 minutes. I also want to graduate to Olympic distance triathlon (which features a 10k run). With my running fitness in rather poor shape, I’ve opted for a programme of interval training to get me back to peak pavement pounding performance.
Interval training is well explained by El ZappoMan on ‘Runners Happy’, but the problem I’ve been grappling with is what should I set as my target time for mile circuits if I’m to hit that 40 minute target on race day?
How to Train by Hal Higdon is a fantastic book for running-specific training. It has a great description of the different levels of physical exertion running at different paces equate to, and how these relate to heart rates as a fraction of peak heart rate (BPMmax). He’s also included a handy table that lets you take your 10k, 1/2 marathon, or full marathon time, and predict what you’ll achieve for the other two. In the 1997 edition I have, published by Rodale Press Inc, this is on page 47.
I’ve reproduced this here, with a couple of extra columns - I’ve worked out how much slower the pace is for each longer distance as a percentage of it’s predecessor (i.e. 1/2 marathon pace as a % of 10k pace, and marathon pace as a % of 1/2 marathon pace):
What we see is that for a halving of distance, the mile pace improves by about 5-6%. So to predict a single mile’s personal best, I’ve taken the 10k pace colum, and improved it by three iterations (I know that 6/2/2/2 is actually 0.75 - it’s an approximation). This gives the final column, which seems to have numbers that kinda make sense.
What does this mean?
Well, looking along the 40 mins row (highlighted), I can see that my target 10k pace is 6:24 per mile. And if I can do 10k at that pace, then my one mile personal best would be around 5:32. This seems about right - when I did my last 10k PB (~43 mins), I could do a single mile in around 5:45.
For interval training though, I won’t be doing 5:32 miles!
According to Sports Coach, a 10k pace will be around 60-70% of max heart rate & 52-68% of VO2 max, while a 1500m pace would be 90-100% of max heart rate & 83-99% of VO2 max.
I’ve just joined a local gym, and have my induction there on Saturday, where I’m getting measures on VO2 max, Max HR, bike power output ( . . . and a partridge in a pear tree!), so I’ll be able to put running paces against these.
For my training, I’m going to set a target of one mile intervals at 5:58 - half way between the 6:24 (10k target pace) and 5:32 (theoretical mile PB). Running at that kind of pace right now isn’t realistic, but it’s the training goal that if I can achieve by, say late April, will mean I can hit my race goal in May. And after Saturday, I’ll have a set ofphysiological measures to go alongside these targets.