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Speed training advice

I'm trying to increase my speed for an upcoming 10K. I've never thought about this before; until now I've run for a set distance or a set amount of time, without worrying about speed. I've found that my speed has increased naturally as I've got fitter.

However I'd really like to have a go at giving my speed a boost over the next month. I'm wondering if I should focus on running shorter distances faster (to get used to running at an increased pace), interspersed with "normal" distances at my "normal" speed.

Or is there a better tried and tested approach?

Any advice? Many thanks!

10 Replies

Run your normal distance, but with intervals. Run faster for 1 minute, every 5 minutes. Don't go crazy, running faster is just a modest increase. Over the course of the month, increase the duration of the faster interval, aiming to get it up to 2 minutes. When you complete the 10km run, continue the intervals approach. Any good running watch will allow you to set up the intervals and give you a nudge to run faster or slower.


It's not your pace/speed that you need to improve - it is your stamina. Most people can run "fast" - for a short time. eg running to catch a bus :) But do not have the stamina to run that pace over a longer distance. My first question would be - have you actually run 10K yet? if so, and you want to increase your average pace to a faster pace, then you have to train at that faster pace . Try doing some 1klm repeat intervals at that pace with a minutes interval between runs. Start at a small number- like 3 and determine if you can maintain that pace over all 3 intervals - if so, slowly increase the number of intervals until you get to 10 - then do the same thing again except use 1 mile as the interval distance - sometime after this then run 5K at your desired 10K race pace - can you do it? -if so , run 6 K and maybe 7K at that pace. But don't try to prove to yourself that you can run the full 10K at race pace, that is what the race is for - to determine that question :)


I don't know if it works or not, but there is a plan to improve your 10k time on the Zombies, Run! app. The app is free if you can live with only 1 new "mission" per week (I can). It's called the "10k Intermediate" training plan. I have simply taken the content of it and put it in a chart on my fridge.

I say I don't know if it works or not because I am in week 1. My aim is to shave a minute off my best 10k time which is currently 58 minutes.

It consists of 4 runs per week: two normal runs, one with sprint intervals (to evade zombies) and one longer run which builds to 13km then back down to 10km.

I'll report in 7 weeks whether it has worked!

1 like

Thanks all for the advice! Interval training makes sense (I remember intervals being key in the bridge from 5 to 10k) and I quite enjoy that approach.

This will be my first organised event. Most of my running has been solo, so I'm not sure how it will feel to be surrounded by others! Having my own little training plan will help me block out all distractions.

Thanks again for the input!


Intervals and hill reps are great ways to get your speed up. I particularly like doing this as it’s fun too. I got my 5k time down from 31 to 26 doing it:



And the C25k + speed podcast is excellent.


I did those to death Ju and still do. A belting set of intervals, and all free

I liked doing short, fast runs. Fast 3k’s. They are easy to accommodate in your day. You can run them in one go as quick as poss or do them 1k at a time while still jogging in between so you’re doing 3 fast 1k’s.

Be sure that you are ready for fast leg work though! Fast running is hard on the legs so make sure you’re ready. Cross training is needed if you’ve not been doing it

Strong body as well as strong legs 🙂💪😃

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Hi brightspice,

I'm having similar thoughts.. though I'm aiming at improved Parkrun times at the moment. Others have mentioned the Zombie App which I have heard is good ... BUT I don't have a smart phone... I think that makes me the last person in Western Europe.

I came across Fartlek the simplest description I found was on YouTube here

I liked the sound of it because it seems to be (or can be) less structured and I have trouble sticking to times and beats to run to. The recommendation seems to be to do it once a week. I have had a go this week... though on a treadmill in the gym but it seems quite an interesting idea.

On the subject of YouTube I've started to follow this guy Harry Runs at


Hes a mega runner... races 100k etc but he does seem to offer sensible advice for mortals... I've found his warm up points and other tips useful.

Happy running.


Thanks for the suggestions - will definitely look at Fartlek. I'm aiming to add speed to my run today. Will also look at the YouTube link!

I'm running the upcoming 10K "with" a couple of others (in the loosest sense of the word - I am quite expecting them to disappear in front of me), but if I could do a personal best I would be very happy. Thanks again for the tips

1 like

Hi brightspice I've since spoken to a couple of friends who are PE teaches and mentioned Fartlek to them (I'd never heard of it) and they all knew what i was on about and said its pretty good!!


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