Regardless of the distance you’re training for, some higher intensity 10K race pace efforts will work wonders for your top-end speed.

You might be training for your first sprint distance, or perhaps you’re a five-time Ironman finisher who’s already got your Kona qualification sewn up. Either way, you will reap huge rewards from some well-timed 10K race pace efforts. Fit these into your week on a day when you’re not already taxed from a harder run or ride so that you can work hard and maximize the gains. If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, take an easier day and hit these when you’re feeling fresh and raring to go.

You can never start out too easy when warming up, so don’t be afraid to walk for the opening minutes, and then break into a relaxed jog, before building the pace to a moderate effort (6/10 rate of perceived exertion, RPE). Include a few (three to five) strides in the final five minutes of the warm-up, so that the 10K race pace work doesn’t totally shock your system when you reach it.

The 10K efforts should be comfortably uncomfortable. If you’ve not run a 10K recently/ever or are unfamiliar with the effort level, aim for 8-9/10 RPE. As with all higher intensity work, listen to your body, and if you’re feeling good, don’t be afraid to push it. Ensure the one minute easy is exactly that: easy! Let your heart rate come down as much as possible and try to regulate your breathing. When running the 10K race pace intervals, focus on smooth form and posture, and try to run relaxed.

Close out the session with a 10-minute easy cooldown, bringing your heart rate and breathing rate down.

10K Race Pace Work

Warm-up

20 minutes warm-up, including 3-5 strides in the final 5 minutes

Main set

6 x 90 seconds @ 10k pace, 1 min easy between each interval
4 x 60 seconds @ 10K pace, 1 min easy between each interval

Cooldown

10-15 minutes relaxed running