One of our cofounders, Tom, back in December ran a PB. He ran 33:09 down from 35:40 and there was 6 months between these races. This is a diary of the main features of training in between these runs. Tom is one of our developers too and writes some of the code that builds your training plans when you sign up, if you want a new PB – click here. This article will analyse the key features of his training during the buildup to this race. Tom is a triathlete so he completes lots of cross training during the course of this block, which is worth remembering if you are a pure runner.
Replicating this training will not get you the same results, if you’d like a fully personalised training plan to get a PB you can get one at app.therunningalgorithm.com/signup.
Tom’s Training Diary
This training block was supposed to start on the 23rd of September 2019 (with the race in early December) but was set back a week due to a big bike crash. Also, early on in this plan I completed 3 gym sessions per week and this was reduced to 1 as my running increased. I didn’t get injured but did get ill twice!
I started easy, the first week had only 29.4km of running, with no intervals and a longest run of 12km at a pace of 5:04/km. I did three gym sessions and completed heavy (for me) deadlifts as the main focus of these gym sessions, as well as a focus on core strength and hamstring flexibility. I completed 4 weeks of running like this (no intervals and lots of gym work), gradually increasing my mileage each week. In the 4th week I ran 37km with a longest run of 11km.
In the 5th week (6 weeks out from race day) I began intervals. I did 2 x 2km repetitions on a hilly cross country loop with my friend. I like to do intervals on a ‘slow’ course as it makes race day feel easier to me. The first repetition was done at 3:20/km pace and the second at 3:23/km. There was only 4km of hard running but it was my first set of intervals for a few months. On the Saturday of that week I also did a 5km time trial in order to see what sort of shape I was in, I completed it in 16:42. I ran 38.7km for that week at an average pace of 5:09/km.
The following week was similar, I did longer repetitions and then a 9km cross country race at the weekend. I ran well at that cross country race and made sure to pace myself conservatively. Overall that week I ran 44.4km.
The week after that I ran 50.5km with my intervals of the week being a 14km run with 3 x 2km of intervals. The pace of these were 3:32/km, 3:25/km and 3:13/km, this was a really good marker of fitness for me. That same week I ran a long run of only 14km at a pace of 5:33/km.
The following week I got ill, unfortunately this is a risk as I was around a busy university campus in November. I did get my interval sessions done this week but my overall volume was reduced to 28km as I had 2 days off training. The main interval session was 1 mile hard, then 4 x 400m. The paces for this run was 4:36 for the mile and the 400m reps were around 60s. My longest run was 15km at an average pace of 4:11/km, this was a bit faster than my usual long run pace.
We are now at the “week before the race”. I did my main interval session this week of 7 x 1km with a total of 50km again. I did a long run of 90 minutes easy too. The times for these km reps were 3:10, 3:11, 3:14, 3:17, 3:21, 3:18, and 3:18 with 60s rest in between. The pacing obviously wasn’t brilliant (it was wind affected) but I feel this workout went well.
Race Week: I cut my volume down to 33km (including race day) with only a few short runs. On Monday I did 5 x 2 mins at 10k race pace. On race day I ran 33:09 which was a massive PB but also quite frustrating as I ran a huge 5k PB in the first half of 15:54 (a 32s PB) and slowed down in the second half. I think I would’ve broken 33 minutes if I had paced it better but I was still very pleased.
This is a testament to how fit you can get in 10 weeks though and by following a sensible structured plan and focussing on consistency massive gains can be made. If you would like a custom training plan to smash a PB click here to grab yours!