PRE: Perceived Rate of Exertion. We will often discuss training paces using a scale from 1-10, with 1 being walking effort and 10 being maximal sprint effort.
RECOVERY: PRE = 3.5; This is approximately 2 minutes slower per mile than 5k date pace. For example, an athlete with a 5k date pace of 6 minutes per mile should run at a velocity of about 8 minutes per mile for RECOVERY effort. These runs can range in length from 25 to 50 minutes. The objective of a RECOVERY run is to provide gentle aerobic stimuli with minimal musculoskeletal stress in order to promote optimal tissue repair. While “jogging” is often synonymous with careless, mechanically inefficient movement patters, RECOVERY pace running should be conducted with mindful mechanical efficiency in order to reinforce optimal movement patterns.
EASY: PRE = 3-4; This is similar to RECOVERY run effort. EASY pace running is used prior to, following, and/or in between higher intensity efforts like workout segments or races. Preceding a workout or race, athletes should begin at a PRE of 3 and gradually increase effort to a 4 over the course of the proscribed run time. Following or in between higher intensity efforts, athletes should begin at a PRE of 4 and either maintain or gradually reduce effort to a 3 over the course of the proscribed run time. Note: While “jogging” is often synonymous with careless, mechanically inefficient movement patters, EASY pace running should be conducted with mindful mechanical efficiency in order to reinforce optimal movement patterns.
LSD: PRE = 4.5; This is aerobic development pace, slightly higher in intensity than RECOVERY and EASY effort running. The purpose of Long Sustained Distance running of 40 to 90 minutes in duration is to stimulate adaptive response in various aerobic pathways, including cardio-vascular power and efficiency, mitochondrial density and efficiency, metabolic efficiency, muscle fiber size, and fatigue resistance. Given that the largest energy contribution comes from the aerobic system for races of 800m or longer, LSD paced running is the cornerstone of distance training. Extending the length of the Long Sustained Paced run over the course of the season and over the course of the high school career is essential for reaching endurance performance potential.
20k: PRE = 6; Often called “threshold” effort, this pace is about 30 seconds per mile slower than 5k date pace. It should be the fastest pace you can sustain for about a half-marathon (13 miles). This is the running effort at which the aerobic system is no longer able to supply the necessary energy to sustain the pace. This effort level creeps just beyond the “aerobic threshold”, the point at which lactate acid levels in the blood stream begin to increase. 20k paced running should feel “comfortably quick”, allowing maintenance of breathing rhythm and sustained mental focus. Only slightly faster than LSD pace, you should be able to sustain 20k pace with only slightly more effort and recover from it quickly. In segmented training, a rest interval of 1 minute should be sufficient. Training at this pace promotes improved lactate recycling and fatigue buffering. These adaptations allow you to sustain faster paces for longer durations.
10k: PRE = 7; Known to some as “critical velocity” (CV), this pace is about 15 seconds per mile slower than 5k date pace. 10k effort is approximately 90% of 5k effort and often used for training segments of 3 minutes in duration with relatively short recovery. Training at this pace is optimal for increasing the oxidative capacity of type II muscle fibers and improving stamina at higher velocities. This velocity is particularly beneficial due to the high adaptive stimulus with relatively low musculoskeletal stress.
5k: PRE = 8; This pace is approaching the VO2max window, wherein sustained effort becomes noticeably more difficult. Training at this pace stimulates adaptive response to the various pathways responsible for oxygen utilization and mechanical efficiency with more significant stress on the musculoskeletal system.
3200m, 1600m & 800m: PRE = 8.5-9.5; VO2max pace and sub-VO2max pace training. These training efforts are useful for reaching potential oxygen utilization capacity as well as developing and optimizing neuromuscular pathways, running economy, and power. In addition, training at these race paces is critical for developing race-pace awareness and race-specific mental endurance. These paces are most stressful to the musculoskeletal system and therefore account for the smallest fraction of total volume over the training cycle.