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Training for a faster 10K – Tapering with easy runs and speed workouts

Just two more weeks until the training plan ends and I’m running a virtual 10K race to beat my PR. I have messed up the training schedule a bit since Coach Greg actually thinks I’ve still got three weeks to go. So for next two weeks I have three easy runs, two versions of goal pace repeats and one speed repeats workout planned. After that, I should be ready for my race. 

Easy run

The weather has been going up and down for a while, but today is another warm morning. It’s sunny and 15°C when I start my run at 8:00 in the morning. Not the best running weather for me, but I’ve only got an easy run on the schedule today. Well, it was supposed to be. As I did a lactate threshold test last week, I now have kind of accurate heart rate zones to aim for and wanted to keep my heart rate during this easy run at zone 2. Even though I was going slow, my heart rate kept sneaking back into zone 3, so I ended up with a lot of short walk breaks to get it down again.

I ran 5K at an average pace of 9:02 min/km, 50/50 zone 2 vs. 3.

 
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Goal pace repeats

Today is a national holiday in my country and I’m using it for a longish run. My Garmin Coach plan says today’s goal pace repeats are a 69 minute workout. The workout: 15 minute warming up, 10 minutes at goal pace, 3 repeats of 5 minutes at goal pace with 3 minutes recoveries.

It’s going to be a hot day today, so I planned to go out early. I made it out by 8:30, but it was already 18°C. I have my hydration pack filled up with 1L water, partially to drink, partially to throw on my head. So far I’ve found this the fastest and easiest way for me to cool myself down during a hot run. 

I quickly realize it’s not so easy to spray the water from my hydration pack on top of my head. Apparently gravity doesn’t work that way. So I end up putting the water on my hand and then moving my hand to my head. Not so efficient and lots of water ends up nowhere near my head. It’s still helping though.

The first goal pace interval is coming up as I’m in the middle of a sandy trail. Luckily I know the trail moves to a more stable road soon. I run 10 minutes at an average pace of 6:56 min/km. That’s a pretty good start, but as I’m starting my recovery jog I’ve already calculated that the next interval will be partially uphill. It’s just the question if I’ll get to have the benefit of the downhill as well. The interval ends right on top of my hill. I run this interval slightly slower as the first at an average pace of 7:01 min/km. 

The next interval is harder, I’m running without the possibility to hide from the sun and it’s getting warmer and warmer. I still manage a 7:10 min/km pace though. Save the best for last, the last one of my intervals is on a road in the woods that gives me lots of cover from the sun. It’s the fastest of the intervals at 6:54 min/km. 

Given the circumstances I’m very satisfied with today’s results. 

Easy run

A fresh morning today as there is no sun at all today, nice for a change. I enjoy a 5K easy run at an average pace of 8:50 min/km.
 
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Goal pace repeats

Another goal pace repeat workout on the schedule today. I feel as though these workouts are really preparing me to run at this pace on race day. Today’s repeats are 10, 7 and 4 minutes long with a 5 and 4 minute recovery jog. 

I’m feeling really good today and run the intervals at 7:01, 6:53 and 6:37 min/km. That’s way faster as my intended goal pace of 7:10 min/km. It didn’t feel as if I was overdoing it though and I still have a

Speed repeats

This speed repeat workout is usually planned as a taper workout in the last week of the training plan. Mine had already showed up for next week, so I rescheduled it to today. The plan, 6 repeats of 1 minute at 30 seconds below goal pace followed by 3 repeats of 1 minute at 30 seconds faster. 


First 6: 6:49, 5:57, 6:13, 5:34, 5:34, 5:34 min/km
Next 3: 
5:27, 5:00, 5:22 min/km

All of the repeats were within range or faster, but my attempt to run each interval faster as the previous failed. Again. 

Easy run

Last run before race day! Just a 30 minute easy paced run at an average pace of 8:18 min/km completely in HR zone 2. This felt really good and easy. I think I’m ready for race day!

Summary

After lots of goal pace workouts in the last 2 weeks, as Coach Greg prefers, I feel ready for race day. As I’m finishing up this article, I’ve already attempted my virtual 10K. Unfortunately the hot sun and lack of water stations made me turn around back home at 4K. I knew I wouldn’t make my time and decided that if I wanted to do another attempt later this week I would be better rested if I didn’t continue now. Smart? Maybe. I’m disappointed though. If it had been an actual race I would’ve pushed through, but now I decided to retry under better conditions, because I knew I wouldn’t reach my time goal. So, depending on the weather, another attempt will be done later this week!

What do you think? Is this a good or bad thing about virtual races?

5 thoughts on “Training for a faster 10K – Tapering with easy runs and speed workouts”

  1. Hey –
    I just discovered your blog yesterday. It’s great that you’re on such an amazing journey. I’ve been running for 6 weeks with my Garmin Coach for 10k. It indeed gives me motivation to continue and not skip a workout.

    However, I can’t seem to find any answers to confusing metrics, even though many users have them. I switched from Coach Greg to Coach Amy because I thought it would make a difference, but the coach still suggests me workouts where I’m already supposed to run 8min-segments at way over goal race pace (6:00). I’ve absolutely messed up today’s workout with averaging at 07:02 with lots of walking breaks in the 8min segments and still received a “Good job”. Have you experienced the same? Do you follow heart rate zones at all? Most of the training runs be it easy or stride repeats etc. bring me easily into zone 4 or even 5. The only difference is by what time mark I’m tapping into the zone. Should I stop listening to the coach’s advise and pick my own pace based on the HR zones?

    1. Hi Janina! Happy to hear you are enjoying the Coach plans. I believe there might be a bug with the paces for speed and/or goal pace runs, but I haven’t experienced it myself yet. I only use my heart rate for the easy runs to ensure I’m not going too fast, regardless of the pace the coach has set for me. Different days, different conditions. Important to note here is that I do use a HR strap for more accurate HR readings.

  2. Thanks for your reply. I’ll definitely take the next steady state run more slowly. I guess it must be a bug then indeed, because it’s suggesting me to stick with a time of 5:00-5:30min/km for 4km – I would never be able to achieve that without walking in between. I’m going to get myself the HRM soon, too 🙂

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