VO2 Max and Speed Workouts to Improve Your 10K Performance

 

By Rick Morris

 

Your 10K race pace is well below your VO2 max running velocity. For most highly trained runners, 10K race pace is somewhere around 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than their vVO2 max (running velocity at VO2 max). Since you’re not running at VO2 max intensity, does that mean you don’t need VO2 max or speed training? Nope – you still need it. You need it no matter what distance you’re training for. Why? – Because if you increase your vVO2 max your 10K race pace will be at a lower fractional percentage of your VO2 max. That means your previous 10K pace will be easier. At that point you have two choices. You can continue to race your 10K at the same pace and have an easy time of it or you could increase your pace and reach a new 10K PR. Well, we all know the answer to that one. If running were easy we wouldn’t be doing it. Of course you will run hard and advance to a new 10K PR

 

Here are some 10K specific VO2 max/speed workouts to get you started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 x 1000 Meter Repeats

 

Here is a track workout that’s a bit intense, but very effective at improving your 10K performance.

 

Description: Run 10 x 1000 meter repeats alternating between 300 meters at 10K pace and 200 meters at mile pace within each repeat. Take no recovery between the components of the repeat.

 

Pace: Alternating between 300 meters at 10K pace and 200 meters at mile pace.

 

Recovery: No recovery within each repeat. Recover with 3 minutes of passive rest between each repeat.

 

4 x 300/600/1600 Meter Compound Sets

 

Compound sets are composed of runs of different distances and paces that are performed with no recovery. This type of training is not only a great way to improve your vVO2 max and speed but is also effective lactate threshold sessions.

 

Description: Run 300 meters at mile pace, 600 meters at vVO2 max or 3K pace and 1600 meters at 10K pace. Take no recovery between the components of the compound set. Repeat that 3 more times for a total of 4 compound sets.

 

Pace: 300 meters at mile pace, 600 meters at vVO2 max pace and 1600 meters at 10K pace. If you don’t know your vVO2 max pace you can estimate it using your 3K pace or running about 10 seconds per mile faster than your 5K pace.

 

Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. Recover between each compound set with 3 minutes of passive rest.

 

Enhanced 10K Race Pace Run

 

Here is a workout that will add some variety to your training program. This one uses a combination of road running and a track workout.

 

Description: Start this workout with 3 miles on the road at your 10K race pace. After a 5 minute recovery, hit the track for 4 x 400 meters at vVO2 max pace. Recover between each 400 meter with 100 meters of easy jogging. Rest for 5 minutes and then run 4 x 200 meter repeats @ 800 meter pace. Recover between each 200 meter repeat with 100 meters of easy jogging. Rest for 5 more minutes and then finish this workout with 3 more miles on the road at 10K pace.

 

Pace: Do the 3 mile road runs at 10K pace, the 400 meter repeats at vVO2 max pace and the 200 meter repeats at mile pace.

 

Recovery: Rest between each of the components for 5 minutes. Recover between each 400 meter and 200 meter repeat with 100 meters of easy jogging.

 

4 x 1200/600/400/200 Compound Sets

 

Here is a compound set that’s not for the feint of heart. This one starts out fast and just gets faster. Tough? – You bet! But it will send your vVO2 max pace through the roof.

 

Description: Run 1200 meters at 10K pace, 600 meters @ vVO2 max pace, 400 meters at mile pace and 200 meters at 800 meter pace. Take no recovery within the compound set. Repeat this 3 more times for a total of 4 compound sets. Recovery between each compound set with 3 minutes of rest.

 

Pace: 1200 meters at 10K pace, 600 meters at vVO2 max pace, 400 meters at mile pace and 200 meters at 800 meter pace.

 

Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. Recover between each compound set with 3 minutes of passive rest.

 

10K Lactate Builders

 

This is a classic lactate turn point workout but it’s also a great way to improve your vVO2 max and running speed. This one has been modified to make it more specific to your 10K needs.

 

Description: After a warm up, run 1 minute at 800 meter pace, then slow down to 10K pace for 2 minutes. Keep up that sequence until you can no longer hold a quality pace.

 

Pace: Alternating between 1 minute at 800 meter pace and 2 minutes at 10K pace.

 

Recovery: No recovery

 

 

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