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This challenging speed workout helps build fitness and boost confidence leading up to your goal race. 

The challenge of finishing a marathon or ultra-distance race is all the rage right now, but racing a tough 10K is an endurance endeavor of another sort that even a lot of competitive runners quietly choose to avoid. While completing the distance doesn’t pose much of a problem, pushing close to your limit for 6.2 miles is a different kind of difficult.

Preparing to race shorter, more intense distances also requires a gradual shift in the focus of your key workouts. While long runs, hill workouts and tempo runs still have a place in your training program—especially in the base phase when you’re still building strength—more regular race-specific interval sessions will help fine-tune your fitness and boost that all-important element of confidence in the final 4-6 weeks leading up to your goal event.

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The 10K Overdistance Interval Session is a 10K-specific workout that starts with four 60-second repetitions at 3K race effort (about 30 seconds per mile faster than 10K race pace), progresses to four 1.5-mile intervals at 10K race effort, and finishes with four more 60-second repetitions at 3K race effort. When all is said and done, the workout totals about 7-7.5 miles worth of quality work.

Here’s how you do it:

The Warmup: Run easily for 2-3 miles (or 15-25 minutes); follow with dynamic stretching exercises, drills, and 4-6 x 20-second strides.

The Workout: 4 x 1:00 @ 3K race effort w/1:00 recovery between reps; 4 x 1.5 miles @ 10K race effort with 3:00 rest between reps; 4 x 1:00 @ 3K race effort w/1:00 recovery between reps

The Cooldown: Run easily for 2-3 miles (or 15-25 minutes), stretch, refuel

Carrara likes to have his athletes do this workout about 4-5 weeks out from a goal 10K and says the session should be done in an environment that is specific to the event you’re targeting. If you’re preparing for a 10K road race, the workout should be done on the roads; if you’re racing cross country, seek out a grass loop or packed dirt trail.

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Paddy Ryan
I have been running since I have been in primary school, all the time striving for better times. To date, I have run 10 marathons and 1 Ultra and numerous other races besides. I am focused on running a sub 30 10K and my next goal would be sub 2:30 marathon, all in time. I am also dedicated to helping other runners improve through coaching and advice to help them every step of the way.

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