10K Positive Split Workouts

By Rick Morris

10K positive split workouts are a seldom done but still important part of 10K training. Your 10K race pace is generally around 2.5 percent faster than your lactate threshold (LT) speed. That means that the metabolic and central nervous system reactions to faster than LT pace running are causing you to feel the increasing affects of fatigue. In other words that bear on your back gets bigger and bigger in the later stages of your 10K race. Running 6.2 miles at that pace is already difficult enough under normal race conditions. What happens if for one reason or another, your pace in the early miles is faster than you intended. You could be headed for trouble.

There are time when it is necessary to run positive splits or running the early portions of your 10K race faster than the second half. You might need to run faster than your planned pace to stay with an early surge or maybe course conditions dictate an early fast pace. There is even some evidence that, contrary to popular belief, running positive splits may result in superior race performance. Whatever your reasons are there will always be times when you need to run 10K positive splits.

The ability to run positive splits in a 10K race isn’t something you are born with, you must train both your mind and body to run harder than race pace early and still be able to hold onto a strong finishing pace. Here are just a few of the many possible 10K positive split workouts.


6 x 1000 Meter Repeats at Decreasing Pace

  • Description: 6 x 1000 meter repeats at a decreasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 1000 meter repeat at mile pace, the second at 2 mile or 3K pace, the third at 5K pace, the fourth at 10K pace, the fifth at tempo pace and the final 1000 meter repeat at 5K pace.
  • Recovery: Recover between each repeat with 2 minutes of rest

10K Reverse Progression

  • Description: 10000 meter run at a progressively slower pace.
  • Pace: After a warm up, begin your reverse progressive run at about mile pace. Gradually slow your pace to around marathon pace for the first 5.5 miles. Run the final .5 miles at 10K pace.
  • Recovery: None

4 x 200/800/1500 Meter Compound Sets

  • Description: Run 4 x 200/800/1500 meter compound sets using decreasing paces.
  • Pace: Run the 200 meters at mile pace, the 800 meters at 5K pace and the 1500 meters at 10K pace. Repeat for a total of 4 sets.
  • Recovery: No recovery within each compound set. Recover between each compound set with 4 minutes of rest.

Go and Slows

  • Description: A run to full fatigue alternating between 200 meters at sprint pace and 200 meters at 10K pace. Keep following that pattern until you can no longer hold a 10K pace on the slower segments.
  • Pace: Alternating between 200 meters at sprint or nearly all out pace and 200 meters at 10K pace.
  • Recovery: None – stop the workout when you can no longer maintain your 10K pace during slower segments