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The question: I'm training for a 10-kilometre race. Every week I run one three-km run, three five-km runs and one long run that progressively increases from six to 12 km. All of my runs are at the same pace. Am I missing anything?

The answer: Replace the three-km run with a weight workout and make sure that you stretch after each run. Focus on strengthening your lower body and core. Strength training and stretching will help prevent running related muscular imbalances and injuries.

Vary your speed and elevation. Instead of doing one of the five-km runs each week, alternate between doing hills or speed work. Do the workouts described below in alternate weeks.

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Hills

Locate a hill that is approximately one km away. Run to the hill and up it quickly, then walk back down. Start with three hill repeats and work up to six. Finish by jogging back to your starting location.

Speed

Run for one to two km to warm up. Then do two to four sets of half kilometres at 10 to 40 seconds faster than your ideal 10K race speed. Walk or jog for one to two minutes between intervals. Run one to two km to cool down.

As the race gets closer, consider increasing the distance of one of your easy five-km runs. Progressively increase the distance from 5.5 km to seven km.

Make sure you "taper" in the week leading up to your race. Decrease your training volume to three three-to-five-km runs the week before the race. This will allow your body to rest and help you perform at your best on race day.

Trainer's Tip: My personal favourite taper-week run is a five-km run at moderate pace that includes five to eight "pick-ups." To do a pick-up, increase your speed for 20 seconds, and then run normally for two minutes. These small speed increases will remind the body what it feels like to run quickly during the low-intensity week.

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Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.



Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter



Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

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