First you should start with a fundamental/base phase. Like if you were getting ready for any distance races this is focused on getting into great all around shape and getting ready to do the specific training that will sharpen and focus your fitness on its target distance (5k/10k). So it is pretty similar to what you would do for any distance but just with slightly different stresses. For example training for the 5 and 10k you are going to do more work to develop your muscular power and in turn your speed then you would getting ready for a marathon where you are much more worried about endurance both muscular and aerobic. The general focus of this phase is strength endurance basically referring to muscular strength and aerobic endurance. Now lastly a bit of disclaimer, I have been very focused on the marathon and I have only put together two small 10k seasons for myself, this one coming up off of a marathon phase with no race and certain limitations placed on it because I don’t want to do any workouts that bother the hamstring and one last spring that was much more focused on racing back into shape to get ready to train seriously for the trials after losing massive fitness to a 10 week layoff do to mono. So this is mostly theory and based on what I have scene others do. I have used aspects of this myself but never the full cycle and if I did I’m sure I would find things that worked differently then I expected and would make changes. At some point in the next couple of years I will have to do a full 10k season and I’ll have to redo this blog at that point. But it’s a start anyway.
Introductory phase; real quickly if you have taken more then 2 weeks off since your last season or just are not real fit for whatever reason you should do a intro phase to get fit enough to train. It should basically just be a build up of mileage with strides and some easy drills and bounding ect.. Just basically preparing your body to handle the stresses of the fundamental phase. Depending on your fitness level it could be anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. Longer then that would become redundant and counter productive.
Fundamental phase; this should be 6 to 10 weeks long. Depending on the time available and how well you handle blocks of training for different periods of time. Dave Bedford, who set the world 10k record in the 70’s thrived off of a program of 12 hard weeks but wanted to make sure he won at the 72 olympics so he followed the same program for 16 weeks and ran awfully at the Olympics, he was simple flat. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Mileage is very much a personal thing, "the magic is in the man not the miles" as Bowerman said, but there are some guidelines if you can’t run 70 or 80 a week you probably shouldn’t be focused on the 5k/10k, probably the 3k/5k at the longest. Also running much over 120 a week serves no purpose unless you are training for a marathon or see one in your relatively near future and want to prepare your body for that training. The real focus of this program is the quality. Now very quickly far too often in this country people here quality and think instantly of anaerobic intervals. We need to stop this. I simply mean the workouts, the vast majority of which are aerobic quality or muscular development focused should be the focus of your program. Miles are nice but if too many miles are causing your workouts to suffer then they are counter productive, but more importantly if the pace of your easy runs is too fast and is causeing you to have to drop your mileage or affecting the quality of your hard days then you need to slow it down. Too many guys run 6 min pace and say oh its easy. But they are run down and underperforming in races particularly and workouts often. I was one of these guys in college and in slowed my progress, and that of many of my teammates. If you are running at 70% of your 10k pace or faster then you are not running easy enough period and often you should really be running more along the lines of 50 or 60% If that means you run with the freshman girls on your team then so be it. You will be amazed how much this will help your running. Plus no matter how slow you go you won’t be able to go as slow as most of the Kenyans go on there easy runs. 10 to 12 minute miles are quite normal.
Types of workouts
Aerobic Quality- these are your bread and butter of the fundamental phase and you should do one or two a week. They can be hard or medium. The goal is to improve your blood oxygen levels(there is a real term for that but I’m not thinking of it right now) improve the capillary beds in your muscle, both in size and scope but also in number. To increase the number of mitochondria (the energy producers) in your cells and the power and efficiency of those mitochondria.
Progression runs of 30 mins to 1 hr
8 to 12k steady runs at 95% 10k pace
4k to 7k steady runs at 10k pace
Tempo intervals with short rest at 95% 10k pace 1k to 3k 10k to 12k total volume rest of 45 seconds to 3 minutes
Long runs of greater then 2 hours at 70to 75% 10k pace (traditional Sunday long run)
8k to 16k runs (5 to 10miles) at 90% 10k pace (long tempo)
15k to 30k runs at 80 to 85% 10k pace (very hard medium long run or very long tempo)
6k to 12k uphill running at 95% 10k effort (pace obviously slower)
4k to 6k at 95% 10k pace
3k/2 miles at 10k pace
10k to 20k runs at 80 to 85% 10k
20 to 30k runs at 70 to 75% 10k pace (traditional medium long run)
Muscular development- hard effort should be done at least once every other week but can be done as often as weekly. Easy efforts should be done close to every other day and certainly at least a couple of times a week. Goal is to build muscular skeletal strength to run fast in relaxed manner and efficiently in terms of fuel(oxygen mostly in this case) used at fast paces. Also to develop the ability to run very close to top speed for the last 200 to 400 meters of a hard race.
Circuits- start with an aerobic interval 800m to 1 mile at 10k pace then without stopping go into a series of sprints and exercises, best if done on a hill. For example 1k at 10k pace into 100m all out uphill sprint into 50m uphill bounding, into 50m uphill springing, into 100m uphill sprint into 10 jump squats. (there are tons of examples better then this online, just search through Canova schedules on lets run and you’ll find a bunch.
Hill bounding and Springing (Lydiard style) Mix these two exercises done for 600 to 800m with jog down rest for 1 hr to 90 minutes, ie 600m bounding into 600m springing jog down and repeat or 600m bounding jog down 600m springing jog down and repeat
Easy (can be done as a recovery run once you are used to performing them)
Short hill sprints 60 to 100m 8 to 14 seconds, alatic work with jog down full recovery (heart rate down to close to 120 for most people) this is great muscular exercise but also because it drives the heart rate up very fast and down very fast again it increases the hearts stroke volume which is very important and so these should be done at least once a week. You can do anywhere from 10 to 30 plus of these in a set, start low build up.
Butt kicks 8 to 14x30m
Continues warm up drills
Bounding on the flat
Straight leg bounds
Short hill bounding and springing
Laying out a fundamental schedule
This is where your fitness level will dictate the specifics of your training the most. I love to work on a hard easy hard easy type cycle. To do that I may have to make my easy day very easy, in my present schedule its at 6 and 6 double and I take it very easy on both easy days. But you may not be able to go hard again after 1 easy day no matter how easy you make it. I know I couldn’t when I first started training like this. Now there are a few different ways to approach this you may just want to go hard easy easy hard or you could go hard easy medium, easy hard. Or you may find you can go hard easy hard but then need to go two easy days. One nice way is to have a hard week and a medium week. So maybe in week one you have two hard efforts and a medium effort then in week two you have three medium efforts. Something like that. Also you may find that some of the hard efforts are particularly hard for you and some are easier. Now first if that is so you want to get in some of those really hard ones because they obviously address a weakness in your fitness. That is not to say you should ignore completely the workouts you tend to do with more ease just that they should be less of a focus in your training and can be done much less. But also they are something you can squeeze into a medium week so you get two mediums and a hard but the hard isn’t that hard. I’m sure if that was totally clear but I hope it was.
Racing in the fundamental phase- Races are good workouts and as such are fine in this phase but with a couple of caveats. First you need to be prepared that you going to be tired and that backing off for a race is a bad idea so you must train though. (in a long 10 to 12 week phase you could back off for one race midway) as such you will most likely race poorly and often race very poorly. Think your in 30 min 10k shape you may well struggle to crack 31 or a runner targeting 36:00 may struggle to slip under 40:00. Second races are harder then workouts, they just are, so they take more time to recover from so in the interest of staying healthy and not getting your self into a pit of exhaustion where you don’t recover you need to give yourself extra time to recover after these efforts. Also because of this you simply don’t want to race a whole lot but a couple of races are not a bad idea at all.
The Specific phase
Now is when you want to start to really focus your training on getting ready for the rigors of your event. So now you need to start doing your aneorbic intervals and your more race specific intervals. Also you want to do a number of what I call shift intervals or shift time trials. These are efforts of 1 to 6k where you run the first part pretty easy generally at about 90% 10k pace and then shift gears and run all out. You will be surprised how fast you can go in these often much faster then you are able to run in a single time trial or all out interval. The focus of these is to prepare your body for tactical races that may finish in a long drive to the finish and to practice running fast paces when you are tired. Also during this phase you should not completely abandon your aerobic quality and muscular development work. This things should just take a back seat to some of this more race specific work.
800m to 2 mile intervals at 10k goal pace with short rest (over the course of phase you should shorten the rest or increase the distance of the reps not increase the pace)
Short progression runs 15 to 30 mins
10k runs with the first 6k to 8k at 85 to 90% 10k pace and the remaining 2 to 4k at 10k pace
5k to 6k runs with 2k to 5k at 90% 10k pace rest at 105% of 10k pace
Alternations, 6miles or 10k total distance with the "on" reps at 10k pace and the "recovery" part at marathon pace or a bit slower. Start with 400/1200 try to get to 1200fast/400 recovery
Alternations of 2miles to 5k with "on" at 5k pace (5%faster than 10k pace) and recovery at 5% slower than 10k pace about half marathon pace. The idea is to try and average 10k pace for 2 to 3 miles.
600m to 2k intervals at 105% 10k pace with short rest (same as 10k short rest not increase pace)
4 to 6k time trials at 10k pace
2k to 2 mile time trials at 105% 10k pace
Traditional all out hill repeats 200m to 1k run all out with jog down rest
12x400m at 5k pace with 100 jog rest
Combination aerobic anaerobic work
Shift intervals/time trials 3x2k 1k 95% 10k 1k all out, 2x3k 1500/1500 split, long rest on these 5 mins or so, time trials of 4k to 4 miles again split down the middle same paces
10 to 14 miles at 70% 10k pace into 4k to 6k at 90% 10k into sets of short intervals 300m to 500m at 105% of 10k pace w/ short rest ie a minute between intervals 3 mins between sets, only do 2 to 4 reps in each set only do 2 or 3 sets. For example 3x3x400m
Muscular and aerobic work options stay about the same but avoid the short aerobic options instead use some of the combo work above and the circuits change slightly instead of starting with an aerobic interval you should start with an all out what I call high school style interval, super anaerobic. Which is to say you go out too hard and get yourself in as much anaerobic pain as you can as quickly as you can. So you do an interval of 800m to 1k and just hammer out sub 30 for the first 200 and go as hard as you can. Sure you will run slower then you could have if you ran smart and you’ll be more tired too but that’s the point. You want to start the exercises with your body in an absolute state of crises. Just like the last 400m of a hard race. These Kenyans and Ethiopians you see dropping 50 to 53 second last laps on the track in Europe aren’t 45 second 400m men they are just able to run within a fraction of there top speed for 400m when their body is very near collapse. You want to be able to do the same.
Laying out your specific phase
You are more worried during this time with the specific out put of your workouts versus really only worrying about the effort during the fundamental phase so recovery is even more important. So drop your miles a bit, say 5 or 10 per week, and put in an extra easy day here or there and go a bit easier even on your easy days.
You want to do one or two anaerobic or combo workouts a week and at least one circuit, one aerobic workout in each two week cycle. I really think one effort/run should be at least 15 miles in length, but there are some very successful runners who don’t do this so its not a absolute.
You should also race at least a couple of times, under distance is best. I wouldn’t want you racing every week but once for every 3 weeks or so is good. Again races are harder then workouts and you need to respect that and recover more from them.
You still want to be doing short hill repeats and the other easy muscular workout but cut the volume back to where you started the fundamental phase at. At this point it is just maintenance work.
As you get into your goal racing season so you need to back off and focus simply on racing mileage should be cut back to 50 to 60% you can last about 4 to 6 weeks without getting back to a little work and without loosing fitness, you should race every week you should do strides a couple of times a week and one or two real easy workouts like 6 laps of the track of sprint float sprint, or some light intervals at race pace or a hard mile or two mile time trial ect… I purposely don’t go into a ton of detail of how to do this part because it is so personal and so much based on the specifics of your racing season. Also there are so many example available out there.