These workouts are usually done a few weeks before the start during the so-called “race-specific” training period. This is the hardest period for training. You must develop the habit of running for a long time at the pace that you expect to run the entire distance of the competition.
By the beginning of the this period you should have already done many slow runs in volumes, pumped up strength, and increased VO2Max at short intervals. If all this is done, you can “load” to the fullest.
What kind of training are we talking about?
🏆 Half marathon. 10 x 1000 at a pace which is 10–20 seconds faster than the expected race pace. Let’s say you want, for example, to run 21.1 km in 1 hour 30 minutes (pace of 4:15 min/km). This means that you need to run 10 times 1000 meters at a pace of 3:55–4:05 min/km with very slow 400 m of recovery to lower your heart rate below 135 beats.
🏆 Marathon. 4 x 3000 meters at a pace which is 10–15 seconds faster than your target marathon pace. If you target to run 42.2 km in 3 hours 30 minutes, that is, at a pace of 4:58 min / km, then each “three” should be at 4:45 min / km. In between, you should “rest” 400 m with the heart rate 135 beats and below.
🏆 Marathon. 2 x 5 km at a pace of 10–15 seconds faster than the target marathon pace. That is, for a marathon that you plan to run in 3 hours 30 minutes, you need to run 2 times 5 km at a pace of 4:45 min / km (see the calculation above). In this case, the “rest” time should be 10 minutes of running at an easy pace.
All of these workouts are designed to teach your body to sustain long distances at race pace. But don’t overtrain — 2–3 race specific workouts in the period of 3–4 weeks is good enough.
These workouts demand certain attitude and will-power — almost like during a competition. Once they are done, you are ready for the race. Mentally and physically.