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Goal and background: I'm training for a 10 mile (16k) run at the end of July. My typical runs are 6k and my weekly long run is 8k. I'm trying to run 4x per week. My pace is roughly 6 mins/km — so I tend to do 5k in about 30mins. So I'm not fast, and I have a fair way to go in less than two months.

The issue: My cardio seems to be doing really well. But my overall strength isn't. When I find the right pace, I generally feel very good cardio-wise by the end of my runs (even the long 8k runs). But my legs always feel very tired, sometimes to the point of being wobbly. Cardio-wise, I think I could easily run 10-12km now, but my legs would never hold up to that.

The Question: I have 3 competing needs now: running, strength training and rest. With less that two months to race day, how can I do enough of each to be ready? At this stage should I run and rest more? Should I run less and do more strength work? I think I still need 2 rest days per week, so that only leaves 5 days for running and strength work. Should I just keep running and do as many squats as possible everyday? Should I run only hills?

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Terry

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Keep running. Your legs have all the strength they need to run. What you need to develop is muscular endurance. Squats will build strength, but they won't give you the endurance. You should also give your muscles a bit of rest after you 6k runs if they really tire your legs out that much.

Alternate days that leave your legs feeling tired, exhausted, or "trashed" with days of either easy jogging or rest. This will allow you to go a little bit farther on some of your runs and help your muscles adjust after those runs. Eventually, you should find that you've been able to build up enough endurance to run the whole 16k.

Try splitting your runs into something like this:

6k

3-4k easy - this should not make your legs tired - think "recovery jog"

6k

rest

8k

4k easy

rest

It's slightly more distance than you've been doing per week, but the recovery jogs and rest days split up your longer runs so it should feel either similar or easier. As a result, your legs should feel a bit fresher on the 6k and 8k runs. After a week of that, see if you can't turn the 6k runs into 7k or 8k runs and your 8k into a 9k or a 10k. If you're comfortable with that, try doing 5k easy instead of 4k easy the following week. If your legs feel tired after 5k easy, go back to 4k. Keep adding a little distance to what start as your 6k and 8k runs, but keep your recovery days relatively short and easy.

Notes on pacing:

  • Recovery jogs/easy runs should feel easy. You should be able to hold a conversation throughout the run, and it should not make your muscles feel any more tired than before the run.
  • Your longer days can be a bit faster, but since your goal right now is endurance, you should try to maintain the same steady pace throughout the run.
  • Go by feel, not time. You can worry about pace/km, workouts, and race times after you have the endurance to run the full 16k with relative ease.
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Great advice, Evan. Thank you! –  saltcod Jun 5 '13 at 18:37
    
You're welcome! I hope your training goes well. –  Evan Jun 5 '13 at 18:42

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