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Slowing 10k run time


I'm a childhood leisure pedaller, became more of a runner over the past 12 years (definitely my best leg) and then started swimming about 5 years ago.  Last year my 10k pace was down to 45:18, without a huge amount of effort.   I did do the London Marathon last year (April) and so ran 2-3 hours every weekend slows for about 9 weeks before that, alone with an hour's interval training and then a steadier midweek tempo run.  This year, having for the first time trained on my bike over the winter and having consistently run most weekends for 1:20 to 1:45, my 10k time has just fallen apart.  I really struggle to manage 50 minutes now and my glutes feel heavy and i lack bounce/momentum from the off.  Any suggestions as to what I could do here? My run has gone from best to easily my worst discipline, as also shown in all of my race results this season.  Thanks, Tricia


  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190


    It seems like there are a few things to consider?

    1. Is this true even when you are well refreshed and doing a standalone run? Could it be that you are just either a) generally overtrained or b) if race specific, going too hard on the bike?

    2. Are you doing brick sessions?

    3. You mention that you are running at the weekends but it seems you have stopped doing your interval and tempo runs midweek in favour of bike training? If that's the case then you are likely to have your answer - if you only train to run slow, then you'll only be able to run slow.

    People talks about polarised training, either really hard or really easy and that's the right place to be.  But if you aren't doing any hard running you simply won't have the fitness to go hard on race day.  If you are focusing on building bike strength I would probably move away from my long run and focus more on run speed sessions - long runs are good for building up your CV system but if you are spending a few hours on the bike then you are getting many of the same benefits.

    If you are only racing Olympic I would turn that 80 - 105 minute run into 45-60 minutes with some hard work, faster than race pace intervals thrown in to get the engine going and push out your top speed.  If you are doing less speed work to train for 10k than you were for a marathon then that is a big problem!

    I hope this helps.

  • I am no expert on this subject but had a similar experience. I decided to get into Triathlons last year, over the course of the winter my run times came down and down. In May I did a triathlon and managed a 48 min 10k run time. Then I started to do more an more cycling in the nice summer weather and my cycle times got really good, I improved my average speed from 19 to 22mph over a 25 mile ride.... however my run times took a dramatic turn for the worse and I did a couple of events with 54m runs in August. I was getting really disheartened, then suddenly in early September, out of nowhere, I knocked 30 seconds off my Parkrun PB, with renewed motivation (and an imminent Half IM at the end of September) I started to run 3 fast 10k per week, each run I was taking 10 to 15 seconds off the last, then in mid September I did a 47m 10k run and a 23.7mph ride in a triathlon (both PBs), then last weekend I did a sub 2 hour 13.8mile run in New Forest Half IM over a very hilly rough off road course.

    I have an idea that Park run may be a significant factor - recently I have been going as fast as I can in Parkrun (22m30s), over the summer I had minor muscle strains and did not push during Parkrun, but now that I am confident to run at the limit, I think that it is helping my longer runs. Also I have been running the same 10k run 3 times per week, and really focusing on my 1 mile spilts trying to maintain a fast but even pace.

    Another observation, which I have no idea has any scientific grounding, is that I find that now I am much fitter, it is taking longer to elevate my heart rate. I can run 10k at 160+ bpm, however, for the first 2 miles, unless I go mad my heart rate starts at 140bpm and climbs really slowly, and until my heart rate comes up to 155/160bpm, I struggle to run fast - I suspect that lack of good warm up is the issue. When you are fitter, does it take longer to warm up?

    From what I am reading, shorter, faster runs are better than longer slower runs for building up your speed. Just make sure you are warmed up first

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