The 5K distance is often considered the "gateway" race. Crossing the finish line after running 3.1 miles can set a racing habit into motion with the quest to conquer longer distances and shave seconds off finishing times. In the stepping stones of races leading up to the bucket-list marathon distance is the 10K. Doubling the mileage from 3.1 to 6.2 can be daunting, but it's important to keep your workouts varied. And by varied, I mean adding speed work, which means pushing your pace, and mile repeats are perfect for this. My Equinox trainer Lauren, an avid runner herself, recommends doing a workout featuring mile repeats once a week during your training program, and doing them on terrain similar to what you will be racing on — you can stick to streets if you're prepping for a road race, or find a hilly course if your race is full of climbs.
When training for a 10K, a typical mile repeats workout means running a mile at race pace four to six times with a three to five minute recovery break between miles. This recovery break means you slow to jog, and the time of your "break" (in quotes because you're still moving) should decrease as your fitness level improves. Lauren says, "You want to try to hit your repeat pace at race pace or just under. At the beginning of your training program, you can add as much as 30 seconds on to your repeat time/race pace and take the full five minute rest. If you are in better shape and nearing your race date, drop a few seconds off your mile pace and take a shorter rest." Mile repeats improves both your speed and endurance, and helps you familiarize yourself with how your race pace will feel.
To see an outline of the workout keep reading.
Here is what a typical mile repeats workout would look like for someone training to run a 10K at an eight-minute mile pace, bringing them to the finish line in just under 50 minutes.
- Warm up with a five to 10 minute jog, followed by dynamic stretching (walking lunges for the hip flexors, leg kicks for the hamstring, butt kicks for the quads).
- Run four to six one-mile repeats at a 7:45- to 8-minute mile pace, rest for three to five minutes jogging between miles.
- Cool down jogging for five to 10 minutes followed by 10 minutes of stretching
No doubt, this is a tough workout that will take a little over an hour to do, but trainer Lauren assures me that this is a great addition to my (and your) training program. So . . . who's with me?