Run Splits – Improving Your Short Course Times

We all want to improve our run splits, but how do you achieve this? Careful planning of your run training sessions will reap benefits on race day. In this article Grant Giles, professional Triathlon coach and Director of Aeromax coaching looks at the importance of pacing in your training.

One of the biggest problems with running fun runs and a problem that a lot of people encounter in triathlon runs for that matter, is pacing. Training at the wrong intensities is probably most to blame for this and you can’t expect to hold on to 3:45kms over say 10kms if you don’t know what that feels like in training. One of the biggest problems I see as a coach is people training too far above their race pace –here’s an example –lets say you set yourself for a session of 12-15x 400m at race pace and you are looking at running 37:30 for a 10km race –if your session is based on race pace you should be running your 400’s on around 90sec per 400m on a 35sec break. This is a classic race pace set. But sometimes peoples’ excitement or whatever gets going and the next thing you know you have 400’s being spat out at 75sec and an athlete who is about 100% over his or her red line.


That’s fine if you are after a great lactate tolerance session but it isn’t going to teach you to run 10 lots of 1km at 3:45km pace in a row. You will probably run the first km like a champion but the next 9kms are going to have you looking like a worn out bone that just did 10 rounds with the neighbours pan licker.

So here’s a few example sessions that can help tune your body to your desired race split both for fun runs and triathlon based on the time of 37:30 for 10km’s-

Example #1:
5x 1000m with 400m jog recovery @ projected race pace – 37:30
As you go through the 400m check your pace to see that you are on track and that would have you at 90sec as you go through the 400m.

Example #2:
12-15 plus x 400 at race pace with 35sec rest
This is always a good staple and best to start off with something you can easily handle and build up say 8x 400 and as the weeks go on you can build on that until you get up to 15-20x 400 at race pace.
Once you can handle that you can be pretty confident that you can handle what the race throws at you provided you are running at or below threshold lactates.

Example #3:
3x 8mins with 3min jog recovery @ race pace again would build this until you can handle 3x 10mins.
These are just examples and there are a lot of other sessions you can put together that employ race pace work. They do require that you go to a running track or find a stretch of quiet road where you can mark the road @ every 400m.

Once you have mastered the art of running at race pace your run splits in triathlons and your straight fun run efforts will become a lot more even and you should be able to hold your pace right through without having the big blow up half way through and groveling to the finish.
Now this applies to all your race distances whether they be 5 to 10km fun runs, marathons or Ironman marathons and you should be doing a lot of work at those speeds to get a feel of that pace in the race.

Of course you need to take into consideration your other  training such as speed work and low aerobic base training, but if you are having trouble pacing your races and suffering from disjointed performances then this could be your way forward.


To work out your correct pacing try using our calculator


Articles on training-related topics represent the personal opinions of the author based on their own experience and research. provides these for your review and consideration, but does not endorse any particular recommendations of the authors.

Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.