I shared with you all that I've decided to make the Sunflower State Games my first 10k run. In trying to make that goal, I've enlisted the help of my running friend, Tony Estes. Tony does personal training through his group, Fitness in Training. Check out his site at http://www.get-fit.org/. More than that, he's an accomplished runner in his own right, recently placing 24th in his age division at the Boston Marathon. I've gotten to know Tony through several community runs, so I dropped him a note to ask if I could bounce some training questions off him over the next several weeks. He graciously agreed. The first issue I have is adding distance to my runs, so I asked him to evaluate the workouts I'd done over the past week. Here was the schedule:
sunday - 4.5 miles on the soldier trail (concrete surface, very flat)
monday - "off" (that sounds better than nothing, doesn't it?!)
tuesday - 4 miles, treadmill
wednesday - 2.5 miles in laps (a roughly half-mile loop around my wooded property, up and down hills)
thursday - 3 miles at shawnee north (dirt trail, a few hills)
friday - "off"
saturday - 5 miles on rural dirt roads, very hilly
Tony's response was great - in short, it involves hills and intervals, and not going out and running seven miles every single day. I'd never really looked past just going out and doing a straight run, so I think his advice gives me a great way to shake things up. Here it is in full, and Happy Training!
Your schedule thus far looks pretty good, just a few things I'd suggest adding.
I'd recommend adding more hills into your training to help build, strength and stamina. The SSG 10K is a very hilly course. The more you can prepare on hilly routes, the more it will help your race performance. So add some hilly routes once or twice per week. Cedar Crest is very hilly in the timber and the soft surface is easier on the joints compared to the roads.
I'd also recommend increasing your long run to 6 miles next week and 7 miles two weeks later, keeping the other long runs at 5 miles. All long runs should be done at "recovery" or "easy" effort. The pace should be slow enough that it doesn't tax you but fast enough that you get the aerobic benefit. Use the talk test as your gauge. If speaking, you should be able to complete a full sentence before you're out of breath. But, you shouldn't be able to speak more than a full sentence. Some of your five mile long runs should be on a hilly route and try to do them on Sat or Sun to allow easy or off days before and after.
I'd suggest doing some hill repeats on Tuesday for speedwork. The driveway going up to the Cedar Crest parking lot is a good example of a fair incline. You want the hill climb to last around 90 seconds to no more than 2 minutes, with a jog recovery back down lasting around 3 to 3 and a half minutes. Always do an easy warmup of around 10 minutes and also do a 10 minute warmdown after you do the repeats. Start out doing 3 or 4 repeats and see if you can work up to doing 6 or 7 within four to five weeks by adding 1 repeat per week or every second week. Again, using the talk test, you should only be able to speak a few syllables or one word by the time you reach the top of the hill during each repeat but you should be nearly or fully recovered by the time you begin the next repeat. Try to remain steady or get a little faster with each repeat and really try to avoid allowing your recoveries to get longer as you progress through the workout. Over the weeks, you should find that your repeat times will get a little faster and you should also require a slightly shorter recovery period as your speed and stamina improves.
The other speedwork I'd suggest you add on alternating Thursday's is a steady-state or tempo run which should be done on fairly level ground or the treadmill. Again, always do a 10 minute warmup before and a 10 minute warmdown after. For 10 minutes to begin, and working up to 15-20 minutes later in the upcoming weeks, run at a steady and consistent pace near the pace you'll race the 10K. Using the talk test, you should be able to speak 3 to 4 words maximum before you're out of breath. It would be best to do this workout on Thursday's before your 5 milers but not the 6 or 7 miler. If you find this workout manageable and the hill repeats don't take too much out of you, it would be okay to do this workout weekly if you enjoy it and find it beneficial.
Adding these two workouts will best help you prepare for the race. If you want to run faster, you have to train the body and mind to go faster. Adding these two workouts will help you accomplish that.
The only risk of adding any challenging workouts is the increased risk of overtraining. The best way to monitor that is to listen well to your body. Learn how to differentiate the whines of laziness from the red flag warning of illness or injury. If any body part is swollen or discolored or if you have a fever, don't run. If in doubt, try walking first and if that goes okay, try running a little to start. It's always better to take a day or two off by choice than to take many days off because you have no choice. It's also very important to monitor your resting pulse every morning before rising from bed. Your RP is your body barometer. If your RP is near or 10% above it's normal rate on any given morning, you'll be well-advised to go very easy or take that day off completely. You have to check it daily to know what your normal range is however. It's easy to check, you just have to develop the habit and discipline to check it daily.