Quality VS Quantity
Well I suppose it depends who you talk to. Emil Zatopek, believed there was no point in running 20miles relatively slow. He believed that running at race pace was more important but obviously not the race distance or you would only do this once and rest for the day. Emil’s answer was to run at race pace for 400m, ( training for 5km & 10km ) then jog for 150m then repeat. You can now express your views and disagree but the fact remains, he won the 5km, 10km and Marathon at the 1952 Olympics.
Hicham El Guerrouj
The 1500m world record and mile world record holder, as I type. You can find his training on the internet, without too much trouble. His training as such is not disimilar to Coe’s or Aouita’s. Which is not surprising as Aouita based his training on Seb Coe’s and El Guerrouj based his on Aouita’s. There is a difference however, as the coach of El Guerrouj said that what ever he did, he must do it at his best ability on that day. So he too did all his workouts very hard, that is not to say he did not have rest days, as he did. He did lots of his training at race pace or faster.
I believe this is a good rule, the majority of your training should be done at 80% effort. As you near your race / event, if you are a middle distance runner, then more of your training will be done at race pace or faster.
Aouita ( 1500m, mile, 2km and 3km and 5km world records )
Looked at Seb Coe’s training and said he could not do it. Example 8 x 800m all under two min, with between 20 and 30secs rest. Aouita decided to run the 8 x 800m faster but have a longer rest period. This worked for him as he broke world records from 1500m to 5km.
Was once heard to say, long slow runs make long slow runners and to a certain extent he is without a doubt right. If you wish to run fast, you must train fast. If you run all your training sessions at 80% you will be moving fast enough. As an example, lets say you run for 60mins and you best time for 10km is 50mins. Then that is how far you run for when you do your 60min run, 10km. Just knock off 5mins for every 30mins of running, so for 60mins we take away 10mins and we are left with 50mins. Whatever distance you cam cover in 50mins, is your distance for a 60min run. Ok, another quick one, a 90min run, what ever you can cover at race pace in ( take away 15min ) 75mins. For someone who does 10km in 50mins, the answer is 14.5km.
If you wish to cover a certain distance, lets say 8km ( estimated race time of 39.40 ), multiply by 1.172, which gives you 80% 46.30.