Workout of the Week: 10K Tune-Up

Use this workout to build confidence in speed for your next 10K.

Woman running intervals on a blue outdoor running track

I’m going to let everyone in on a secret. As a cyclist, wattage-based workloads make intrinsic sense to me. Just as my 10-year-old can rattle off all the places we hide candy, I can stream percentages of threshold for any workout.

But I don’t only work with cyclists; when I work with runners and triathletes, I rely on Jack Daniels to help define paces. In this case, however, I’m referring to the legendary coach and sport scientist!

Entering times and conditions into Dr. Daniels’ pace calculator has proven to be the most reliable way for me to accurately prescribe ranges that achieve the results I’m looking for—and those are the basis of today’s workout.

The 10K is maligned as less prestigious than the marathon, but this complex distance is the most popular running race and the backbone of Olympic distance triathlons. Specific preparation is essential for achieving your goals, and because it’s typically run at or just above threshold, it can be a very uncomfortable effort!

Today’s workout is a tune-up for the 10K and perfect to repeat in the final weeks leading up to the race. This session is not focused on building fitness—with the short durations and long rests we will not be challenging the aerobic system. Today’s session is focused on building the confidence and comfort that can make or break your performance.

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In my opinion, the best way to get comfortable at this race distance is not to overemphasize running at race pace, it is to spend a small amount of time running faster than race pace. Compared to the volume of time that we train at base pace, we spend relatively little time moving at fast speeds, and this limits our movement economy. For our bodies to move like a well-oiled machine we need to emphasize paces that challenge our neuromuscular system.

This workout covers short distances with long rest—we do not want fatigue of your metabolic system to compromise the stress on the neuromuscular system. The first time you do this workout, you may feel a little out of control. Your legs won’t feel like pistons pumping to the finish line and the fury of your arms may not match your pace across the ground. Keep it up for a few sessions; as your coordination improves, you’ll begin to find comfort at the fast paces—and your 10K speed will feel like a walk in the park!

Workout of the Week: 10K Tune-Up


15 min. base-pace running with 3 strides to finish

Main set

2-3 sets at Jack Daniels Rep Pace (similar to 1-mile race pace):


Full recovery between efforts (2 to 3 min.); until heavy breathing subsides and you can complete the next effort with maximal intensity.

5 min. set rest


10 min. easy jogging