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Speedwork for Beginners

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The charts below can help to give you a general idea of the appropriate speeds and distances you might use in your speedwork sessions. Because training for the 5K demands workouts different than those for the 10K or marathon, we have presented a separate chart for the shorter distance.

These workouts are intended for beginning runners. This means that for men, 5K time is 24:00 and up, and 10K is 48:00 and up. For women, 5K time is 26:00 and up, and 10K is 54:00 and up.

Both charts are divided into two sections, for on-pace speedwork and fast speedwork. Both sections include suggestions for pace, number of repeats, and the appropriate amount of rest during intervals for five types of workouts. Keep in mind that the race paces referred to are not your goal pace but the pace you expect you could run today. In other words, if you are training for a 7:00 5K pace but can only run at a 7:10 pace now, the 7:10 pace is the speed at which you should run your repeats.

5K Speed Training

On-pace Intervals 440s 880s Miles Hills Long Hills
Repeats 4-6 4-6 3 4-5 3-4
Pace 5K 5K 5K 5K 5K
Rest (minutes) 2-3 3 3 Jog Down Jog Down
 
Fast Intervals 440s 880s Miles Hills Long Hills
Repeats 4-5 3-4 -- -- --
Pace 5K minus 10 sec 5K minus 10 sec -- -- --
Rest (minutes) 3 3 -- -- --

10K and Marathon Speed Training

On-pace Intervals 440s 880s Miles Hills Long Hills
Repeats 4-6 4-6 3 4-6 3-5
Pace 5K-10K 5K-10K 5K-10K 5K-10K 5K-10K
Rest (minutes) 2-3 3 3 Jog Down Jog Down
 
Fast Intervals 440s 880s Miles Hills Long Hills
Repeats 3-4 -- -- -- --
Pace 5K minus 10 sec -- -- -- --
Rest (minutes) 3 -- -- -- --

        

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