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  • Writer's picturecoachmk

Surges, 3k paces, and Other Theoretical Figures

"Surges" are sudden bursts of speed mixed into a longer run.  These are usually performed at half a mile (800m) long and are proceeded by a prescribed recovery interval that may be either time or distance-based.  When performing multiple surges in a single run, a runner may jog for the recovery interval.  Advanced runners who have been training by heart rate for more than a year need to return to their baseline pace during the recovery interval.  Newcomers to pace ranges may need to walk for a few seconds after each surge for the first 2-3 weeks and this is totally fine.  After 3 weeks though you need to train your brain to avoid walking, a slow jog will suffice and is actually better for your joints.

Some of you may see "surges" in upcoming workouts. These are usually driven by time and theoretical paces (ex: "4-minute surges at 3k pace"). I include these to prep you for interval training, which are defined by specific pace for a specific distance (ex: "800m @ 7:15") .  Those of you who see 'surges' in your TP will see that they are set at 3k pace, a theoretical pace that is a touch faster than your 5k pace, which is also a theoretical figure. When you train with 'paces', you should train with a WIDE RANGE of paces.  No one in their right mind would expect you to run the same speed for 1 mile as for 26.2.  The longer the distance, the slower your pace should be.  Remember, only coachless, unloved amateurs have one pace to rule them all. The over-arching point of training at paces faster than your goal race pace is to make that goal race pace feel easy, to have you chomping at the bit for that point in the race when your coach says 'no more speed or heart rate cap just GO."  Until we have been together long enough and have a goal specific enough to warrant pace-driven workouts, we will do quite well with generic pace targets.     Rules of thumb for Generic Pace Targets EE: your pace at 140 HM pace: 90 seconds per mile faster than your EE pace 10k pace: 2 minutes per mile faster than your EE pace 5k pace: 3 minutes per mile faster than your EE pace 3k pace: a little faster than your 5k pace, but no more than 3.5 minutes per mile faster than your EE pace mile pace: a little faster than your 3k pace, but no more than 4 minutes per mile faster than your EE pace So, if your pace at 140 is 10 minutes per mile, your  EE: 10:00 HM pace: 8:30 10k pace: 8:00 5k pace: 7:00 3k pace: 6:50-6:30 mile pace: 6:30-6:00 So now you get it.  "5k pace" is a generic term.  It has NOTHING to do with past performance in any race (I also don't care what you've done in previous races.  I operate on the assumption that none of you really know how to race and have been one-pace ponies in the past.  NO SHADE here, it's cool.  Everyone does it.  Or worse, they hand me a 5k pace from like 10 years ago.  See my piece on training age vs experience if you are confused).   PLEASE REMEMBER: THESE ARE TARGETS.  There is no penalty for missing targets.  If they are way too hard, adjust it during the workout and mention it in your post-activity comments Final note: faster isn't better.  You do NOT want to try to beat the paces.  You'll just get hurt.  We will discuss this in greater depth later on. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Coach Fleming

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