Following our Track Night and time busting miles, I thought it would be useful to explore how to beat Personal Bests (PBs) with meaningful training.
So first of all, how many of us actually run at our target speed for long enough on training runs?
All too often, we start slow, gradually get faster and finish with a sprint. Sound familiar? Then do the same three times a week?
Well, lets say we want to run 10k in 40 minutes (4 minutes per kilometre, which is roughly 6 minutes and 26 seconds per mile). In training do we practice the right pace consistently to achieve it or do we hope we run enough mileage to pull it out of the bag on the day.
Why not try running the distance (e.g. 10k) at your realistic target speed, but in intervals.
For example, try 25 (yes, 25)x 400 metres in a target time of 96 seconds per 400m lap (1 minute and 36 seconds) with 45 seconds rest. As you improve, you could increase the distance and reduce the number of intervals. So 12.5x 800 metres in 192 seconds (3 minutes and 12 seconds per 800m interval) with 45 seconds rest in between each lap. Then with time, you’ll then be able to run 6x 1-mile intervals in under 40 minutes(excluding your rest time between mile laps). You see what I mean? Keep on rehearing your target speed.
Even on your chilled Sunday morning long runs, try bursts faster than your target speed to get your heart working harder. If you’re training for a faster 10k, then perhaps try 3 to 5 minute bursts with 90 seconds of jog recovery in-between or try running longer than your target distance – perhaps as long as possible at a speed slightly higher than your target pace.
You cannot beat running fast; faster than your target pace in a good sprint session that can include long and short sprints with a period of recovery after each lap.
It may sound daunting, but it’s a fun way of ramping up and getting the most out of your running prep for races and intervals can be run mostly anywhere as well as on a track (but track can provide a barrier free and energising base to run on).
What’s your 1-mile PB? From there, you can work out your realistic pace for different distances.