THE DETAILS: 10 x 1-mile with 1-minute rest at slightly slower than lactate threshold pace (aka sub T).
AN EXAMPLE: Alice Wright is training for the European Championships Marathon on August 15. We had her run this 10 x 1-mile workout on July 5–just under six weeks out from the race. The course she’ll race on in Munich is flat so we tried to find the flattest course we could for this session. We ended up doing it a place called Doney Park, about 20 minutes outside of Flagstaff, on a neighborhood loop with flat, well-kept roads and the beautiful Flagstaff peaks in the background. Aldo Marquez, a recent NAU grad, helped out on pacing duty–which was awesome. The plan was to run all 10 repeats right at 5:40. That was a converted pace to account for the 6,500ft of elevation in Doney Park. The idea was to run the repeats at about Alice’s half marathon effort (or 1-hour, 10min race pace). If you look at an altitude pace conversion chart based on her half marathon time, it’s going to give you right about 5:39-5:40. The cool thing about that for us, at altitude, is that Alice was able to run these at her half marathon effort, but essentially right at her goal marathon pace. So we were able to get a lot of bang for our buck; her heart and lungs were operating at that slightly slower than lactate threshold effort the workout calls for, but her legs got to move and feel the rhythm she’ll need to run at for 26.2 miles six weeks from now.
Alice and Aldo did a fantastic job start to finish. Every single repeat from 1-9 were between 5:37 and 5:39 with one 5:40.0 in there. The tenth repeat was 5:35 which was just a result of a little adrenaline, and perhaps joy/relief, because it was the last one. In the context of training, it was right what we needed. She had run a solid 20-miler (high-end aerobic work) three days prior and she’ll have a fast set of 800s (10k pace and below) three days after so in a week’s time we’ll have done a lot of good work and hit a number of different training zones.
Alice seemed to enjoy it…as much as you can enjoy 10 mile repeats anyway!
“It was good, pretty smooth. It was definitely pretty tough when I got to the halfway point, psychologically being at halfway is never that fun, but I got it done…another one in the books. I’m pretty happy with that.” – ALICE
HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF: This is a great workout for anyone training for a half marathon or marathon. And while 10 mile repeats may seem like a lot, don’t forget that you have to race for 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles on race day, so you kind of have to get used to the idea that this thing is going to be hard! Also, these are not the mile repeats you may be used to if you ran cross country/track in high school or college. Often times, when training for a 5k or a 10k, you’ll do 3-6 x 1-mile at either 5k or 10k race pace with 3-5 minutes rest. That’s a VERY different type of session. And in fact, we’d suggest that sort of session should occupy a much smaller percentage of your training when preparing for a half or full marathon. The 10 x Mile we describe here is slower and is really about mastering that controlled type of running required for the half marathon and marathon. To figure out the pace at which you should do this workout, we suggest keeping it simple. Run them at your goal half marathon pace. If you’re at altitude don’t forget to make the conversion like we did with Alice.
Hope you enjoyed this edition of our “NAZ Workouts.” Stay tuned for a track session next week featuring Wesley Kiptoo and Alex Masai!!