Jo Pavey 10k Training

Posted by | January 16, 2015 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Jo Pavey 10k Training Session

stopwatch running trackJo Pavey’s extraordinary run in the European Championships 10000m has certainly made more than a few runners think again about what they can achieve.

In a recent issue of Runner’s World Jo detailed an ideal session for sharpening up before a 5k or 10k.

Unusually, it includes both interval and threshold training.

The session

  1. 3 x 800m with 2 min recoveries
  2. 3 mins rest
  3. 3 x 400m with 90 sec recoveries
  4. 5 mins rest
  5. 10 mins at tempo pace
  6. 5 mins rest
  7. 4 x 200m with 60 sec recoveries

The reps should be run at 5k pace or even slightly quicker.

We ran this session on the track yesterday, but altered it slightly — why?

Our runners have quite a wide range of abilities, and running to distance means that the slower runners have a comparatively harder session.
A 15-min 5k runner would be running their first 3 x 800 in just over 7 minutes. A 25 minute 5k runner would be taking 12 minutes; that’s quite a workload at 5k pace and our nearly exhausted runner is not even half-way through their session.

A more personalised application uses time rather than distance.

Here’s what we did.

Revised session

  1. 3 x 4 mins with 1 min recoveries
  2. 2 mins rest
  3. 3 x 2 mins with 1 min recoveries
  4. 2 mins rest
  5. 10 mins at tempo
  6. 3 mins rest
  7. 2 x 200m with 200 rolling recovery between

Why is this important? Well, it makes a session with a large group of mixed ability runners much easier to manage. Also, it is not disheartening for the slower runners because they don’t get the feeling that others are hanging around waiting for them to finish.

Running to time is especially important when running longer intervals, for instance 5 x 1k. This isn’t ideal for slower runners because the rep time can become disproportionately long; they cannot sustain the ideal interval pace for the 1k distance. So it’s more workable to run for time such as 5 x 5 mins. Pushing interval reps much beyond 5 mins means the rep becomes more like a mini-tempo session because the pace is slower; importantly, it’s altered the intended type of training.

In the example above, running 800m reps at 5k pace could be too demanding for some runners and the resulting fatigue could mean that the tempo part cannot be run at the most effective pace. The whole session falls apart and has a quite negative effect on the athlete — not what’s intended at all.

There’s also another practical benefit of running to time: we don’t need the track, so the session can be run out on the road.

What else contributed to Jo Pavey’s Euro Gold?

Jo’s lifestyle has changed somewhat in recent years; two children (one just ten months old) has meant that life revolves around her family rather than her running. She says she is much more relaxed about her running now. Yes she’s busier — much — but her training has become much less regimented. e.g. her morning session might actually be run in the afternoon (after the kids have been sorted out). Maybe this results in more focused session or a more laid back approach, whatever, it seems to work for Jo and becoming more flexible in your training could work for you too. She seems much happier too, and that is one factor that can have a massive effect on athletic performance.

Another factor that Jo values is getting enough sleep; vital for all of us but even more so for anyone with a demanding training regime.

As far as the actual the actual schedule is concerned. Not surprisingly Jo suggests that endurance runners should include the four staples: interval training, long run, threshold run and recovery runs.

Jo Pavey seems to be a perfect example of older doesn’t have to mean slower; older = wiser = faster.


Jo Pavey 10k Training Session by RTP

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