Schedule run “blocks” into your big-picture programme.The easiest way to increase your run frequency is to designate a month where you try to run daily, making the supplemental sessions 30 minutes at an easy pace. You will see results from inserting several of these run months into your annual training programme. However, remember to be flexible and listen to your body if you start to feel an injury coming on. No single training session is worth jeopardising your overall training consistency
Base your running programme on your current race pace. The next step is to understand how your existing programme addresses the demands of your goal event. When you read “3x2 miles at race pace,” what speed comes to mind? For most of us, the combination of “race” and “pace” leads us to believe that we should run as fast as we can. However, are you sure that best-effort pace is truly your race pace? Athletes often base training targets on goal paces that are influenced by their fastest training partners and imaginations! But let’s examine the actual paces in the middle of the field—people are often amazed by what true race pace is in the mid-pack. Take an honest look at the pace you run to ground your workout effort in the reality of your current fitness.
The most demanding workout of the week should challenge you above and below the pace that you will actually run on race day. For all distances, often the most effective workout is a high-quality two-hour long run (for less experienced runners, strive to get your long run up to the two-hour mark, even if that means running slowly or integrating walking breaks). To simulate race-day stress, place main sets at the end of the workout. The purpose of placing the main sets late in the session is to create a habit of negative splitting the back half of your runs. All other run volume in this session should be an easy or steady effort. These workouts will help train your body to recover while running slightly slower than race pace, and expand your ability to tolerate pace changes around average race pace.
Ironman: Insert 3x25 minutes running 10 seconds per mile faster than average race pace. Recover with five minutes running 20 seconds per mile slower than average race pace.
70.3: Insert 2x4 miles where you alternate a mile 10–15 seconds per mile faster than average race pace with a mile 10–15 seconds slower than race pace for recovery. Power walk for 10 seconds after each mile and 60 seconds between sets.
Olympic: Insert 2x3 miles where you alternate a half-mile at 10 seconds per mile faster than average race pace with a half mile 10 seconds per miles slower than average race pace. Do two miles at one minute per mile slower than average race pace between sets.
These sessions are demanding but achievable when done as prescribed. A successful session will prove your ability to handle that specific pace, which will give you the confidence to extend your limits on race day.