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Improving 10k time

  • 24-06-2020 9:09am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 701 ✭✭✭


    I am towards the end of studying a nutrition coaching cert and I have taken on my ex gym buddy as a client to practice. He recently has started running and is focusing on 10k. His best time is 40.17 and his goal is to get down to sub 40min. He has been stuck between 40 and 41 min for a while.

    I know very little about running, I have run 5km on a treadmill a number of times in about 25 minutes.. I would like to help him with a training plan though. All he has done to train is either run 10km or run 15km at a steady pace.

    I was doing some research online and info seemed to be similar from site to site, the Redbull page I came across had these tips,

    Increase mileage by 10-20% per week.

    Threshold pace, a few intervals of 8-15min min at threshold with light jogging between.

    Intervals, 6x800m, 8x200m, 5x2min at 5km/1mile pace with jogging between.

    Running at desired 10km race pace, 5x5min with short recovery.

    Doing one long run per week for endurance, 17-18km at 70 to 80% of 10km pace.

    Doing some strength training ie deadlifts, single leg squats, lunges and some upper body push/pull exercises.


    So I am just wondering is there a widely accepted "optimal" training plan for someone who is around where he is at. Would people think I am on the right path with the above or is there another approach that would be better. And assuming there is not something that people would just point to saying do "this" would there be a logical split of days running to days in gym? I think at the moment he is running either everyday or almost every day. Something like 3-4 runs p/w and two days in the gym would sound logical to me.. Also how often if at all would people take a week off and cut back mileage significantly to recover?

    Any help appreciated.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,600 ✭✭✭token56


    In my experience there is no one size fits all when it comes to training plans so it will be a matter of seeing what works best for him through a bit of trial and error. If he is already running sub 41 for 10K then he is in decent shape. Joining a club is always a good way of improving.

    The first thing I would do is find out exactly how much running he is doing at the moment, what has his average weekly mileage been for the last 4-6 weeks and how many times a week is he running. How many times a week can he commit to run? This will all inform any sort of plan you put together and he shouldn't start on anything higher than currently weekly mileage. If increasing mileage then the 10% per week rule is generally a good one to prevent overloading.

    If he is used to just running 10K or 15K and the same pace then he would certainly benefit from mixing it up a bit. Generally you want a mix of easy runs and then your hard runs like repetitions, intervals, hill sprints, and threshold running. When people talk about easy runs, they should be just that, easy, a pace you could hold a conversation at is the normal guideline. So if for example you were doing 5 days a week then 3 easy runs a week and 2 harder sessions would be quite common with one of the easy runs being a slightly longer run. The most import information here is is to know what paces these should be done at. To get a rough guide there are plenty of running calculators online you can use. I personally used the Jack Daniels running calculator.

    With regards gym work I think this comes down to personal preference. It can certainly be good to do some cross training but I personally wouldn't be a big fan of lifting heavy weights in a gym if I was really focusing on running. I would focus more on the stretching, core and stability side of things in any gym work but that is just me.

    For stepping back or taking time off I think it is just about being sensible. Most training plans you might see, for example a 12 week plan with the goal being a race or time trial and the end of it, would take the first 3 or 4 weeks to introduce the harder type of sessions and build up the mileage a bit, another 6 weeks of hard training and then 1 to 2 weeks of tapering. In those last 2 weeks the intensity would be dialed back and certainly in the days leading to the race it should just be easy running with maybe some strides to keep the legs ticking.


  • Registered Users Posts: 701 ✭✭✭rowanh


    Great, thanks for that.

    I just had a meeting with him and got a bit more info,

    Last month he ran 6-7 days per week, alternating between 10, 13 and 15km at a time. He tried running 30k once and felt pretty screwed. He would generally be trying to keep a steady pace the whole way through every run. He was getting some pain in his ankles and groin. He was using old crappy runner and bought some new ones which apparently have helped a lot though still some pain ankles.

    This month he has cut it back to every other day during the week and once on the weekend so averaging four runs pw. Still doing 10/13/15kms at a time at a steady pace. He was planning on starting to do a half marathon challenge in the watch app/website that he is using, I thinks a Garmin. I told him it might be better to hold off on that for now and get something established then slowly build on it..

    He has lost a couple kg over the last few months, before the lockdown he would have worked out regularly and would like to regain the weight. He is generally at around 10% body fat and easily gains/loses weight in lean mass. I was under the impression that the likes of deadlifts might aid running but even aside from that he would be into doing some weights for strength/physique/enjoyment. He currently is doing little to no stretching before or after. And no supplementation or any recovery other than eating some extra carbs for dinner after running.


    I just got a running log from him,

    May weeks 80,99,96,112kms
    In the last two weeks 42 & 66kms

    He has been doing lots of 15kms in around 1:05 to 1:10, most runs are over 10k.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    To be honest I pretty much agree with everything token said.

    I was in a similar position in 2017. Running 4-5 steady runs a week with no real structure. In Feb I ran 40.35. With some changes to training I ran sub 38 by July.. Some of the key changes (with some added benefit of hindsight);

    1. Moved to the structure of 3 easy, 1 tempo, one longish. Over the course of the 5 months I added a second session. So 3 easy, one tempo, one interval, one long.
    2. In hindsight I ran the easy too hard. If he's running any of the easy faster than 8min/mile it's too fast.
    3. He's already running decent mileage. I'd scale back his easy runs to 10k max. They should take him more than 50mins. Slowing these down will help him have higher quality sessions.
    4. The long runs should all be easy. Slower than 8min/mile. there's no need to have any of those long runs longer than 2hrs.
    5. One threshold/tempo run a week. In hindsight I had too much volume on these. Five or six miles at threshold was too much. They should be split into interval tempos with recovery.
    6. Interval sessions like you suggested above with some more volume at race pace as the race approaches. Plenty of these around 6.20 to 6.30min/mile pace.

    There's a million and one ways to do it. But for sub 40, for a guy running with no structure right now and already hovering at 41 then the basic changes above will do it. Supplementary stuff is great but not needed in my opinion. Deadlifts and weights etc, added to the above changes will be too much too soon unless you are really clever in how you structure it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,289 ✭✭✭ariana`


    rowanh wrote: »
    I am towards the end of studying a nutrition coaching cert and I have taken on my ex gym buddy as a client to practice....

    I know very little about running...

    Any help appreciated.

    I'm confused, are you helping him with nutrition or with running? With respect to the running aspect it sounds a bit like the blind leading the blind here which makes me wonder why you think you can help him :confused:

    Anyhow if I was his friend and i knew very little about running myself, i'd point him in the direction of Boards so he can start to find out more for himself ;)

    There are tonnes of generic 10k plans out there he could follow and lots of books & online information he can read if he wants to know more about the hows/whys behind the plans.

    A decent book to start with might be Faster Road Racing which has plans from 5k through to half marathon with 3 different levels at each distance.

    Best of luck to your friend and to you with your nutrition course :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 701 ✭✭✭rowanh


    ariana` wrote: »
    I'm confused, are you helping him with nutrition or with running? With respect to the running aspect it sounds a bit like the blind leading the blind here which makes me wonder why you think you can help him :confused:

    Anyhow if I was his friend and i knew very little about running myself, i'd point him in the direction of Boards so he can start to find out more for himself ;)

    There are tonnes of generic 10k plans out there he could follow and lots of books & online information he can read if he wants to know more about the hows/whys behind the plans.

    A decent book to start with might be Faster Road Racing which has plans from 5k through to half marathon with 3 different levels at each distance.

    Best of luck to your friend and to you with your nutrition course :)

    Fair points and thanks :)

    I am helping with his nutrition, when he went through the exercise his is doing at the moment it seemed like a huge red flag so I said I would look into it and I have just been enjoying learning about running. I know a good bit about the fundamentals of fitness and enjoy learning new things.. So not quite blind though I take your point. I was asking initially if there is an optimal plan for where he is at, if numerous people had pointed to one plan I would likely have just given him that.

    Over the years of training with him I have tried to get him to read articles and watch videos numerous times, he is not really interested, he would be happy enough to just do stuff, even if that stuff is inefficient. I would be fairly confident that I can help him, even it is just picking out a program and giving it to him..


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  • Registered Users Posts: 979 ✭✭✭Seannew1


    Get tempo runs into your training. They hurt and are difficult on your own but build up pace and stamina over your longer distance. For 10km, I would start at 3 mile and build up to 5 mile. Some people may argue that it's a bit excessive but works for me.


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