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Peaking for a 15k

by Kelly
(Okc, OK U.S.A)

Hello, I am a 43 yr old man (5'11" 174) wanting to be at peak condition for the Tulsa Run(15k) in late October. I am currently running about 7 miles a day, with a few hills and a little fartlek work. My time last year was 60:24, with every thing going wrong at the start that could and I wasn't in 15k shape.

Would like to be better prepared this year!

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for your running training question.
You are at least well in advance with your question. I sometimes get the question which is a bit like "I have this really important fitness test coming up in two weeks time and I haven't trained for it, what can I do?"

It is a lot easier and useful to answer a question like yours!

I would definitely spend a long, long period building your base. Seven miles every day is a good start.

One thing I would change is that I would start using a hard/easy schedule and go for possibly shorter distances on the easy days, but longer distances on the hard days.

Increase your mileage and build up your weekly long run to, say, 90 - 120 minutes (see what you can handle, I just want to indicate that you should have a long run significantly longer than the other runs).

Closer to the race, about 12 - 15 weeks out, you want to start working on getting faster. You do this by adding quality workouts, like tempos and intervals.

I would start doing one weekly tempo session and one weekly interval session. Maintain your long run. Other runs should be easy/recovery runs. You can definitely do hill repeats and/or fartlek sessions as well as replacement quality workouts.

From about 8 weeks out to 1 week out, I would add another quality session (so another tempo or interval session) to the weekly workout. Still, keep the weekly long run. Again, see what you can handle and what you are comfortable with.

It would probably also be a good idea to find one or two tune-up races. E.g. a local 5k or 10k. It may help you gauge your progress.

In the last 1 - 1.5 week decrease your mileage a bit and get ready for race day. I would be careful with a quality workout less than 3 days out of race day as it may get you to the start of your race with tired legs.

A great book for running program templates and about running training in general is Daniel's Running Formula. You may want to get a copy and have a look at his 15k running program. I haven't looked at it for a while, but I think the basis is roughly the same as what I described above:

Build a good strong base early on, then start adding quality workouts to build that speed. With a good, strong preparation like that you should be able to shave off quite a bit of last year's result!

Best of luck.
Hope you post a race report in the running stories section of this website!

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