“I’m not against it, but I have a hard time justifying the physiological benefits of training at 5k or 10k race pace. Now for an excellent runner, 5k race pace is right around Interval pace.” – Dr. Jack Daniels

If you’re a 23-minute 5k runner your race pace is 7:24/mi, yet your Interval or VO2max training pace is 7:13 per mile and your Threshold pace (improves endurance) is 7:51/mi. If the purpose is to practice at those paces to help mentally prepare for an upcoming race then that makes more sense. It’s important to always understand the purpose of a running workout; whether it’s more for mental practice or fitness benefits. If its purpose is more for fitness benefits then most runners will improve more effectively by calculating and training at their actual Threshold or Interval pace.

To learn more about how each training pace compares to your 5k and 10k race paces and the physiological purpose of Intervals use the VDOT Calculator.