Working out your programme


First, we’d like to say a big thank you for choosing Savage Sports.

We sincerely hope that by following the program, you’ll achieve your 10k aims and feel benefit from the educational resource we’ve included.

Choosing which program we are best suited to can be a minefield but follow the program and we’re confident you’ll see and feel results pretty quickly.

The program is divided into three parts.

  1. The training sessions. 12 sessions per month designed to reduce your 10k times.
  2. The articles. Every month we’ll include a series of related articles and videos from industry professionals designed to educate and inform.
  3. ‘Stickies’! These are a group of documents available for constant reference. Eg phasing, rates of exertion, terminology guide etc.

Train happy, train smart!

Best wishes

Team Savage!

There are 12 sessions per month all designed to help you reduce your 10k time and to peak during the European summer.

RPEThe sessions are designed to build either:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Endurance

The nature of the sessions reflects the three ‘phases’ of the calendar year. They are:

  • Base. (October- January)
  • Prep. (February-May)
  • Peak. (June-September)

Slot the additional recovery sessions (separate document) into your schedule as you see fit

I’d strongly recommend familiarisation with the ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ scale as this will be constantly referred to

There are a series of documents (‘stickies’!) for referral. I’d also suggest printing these off and having them to hand.

The sessions are best done in the order written, where possible

The Rates of Perceived Exertion (RPE) are indicated on a scale of 1-10 (see diagram)

Each session is designed to cover a range of abilities. Select your level from:

  • Novice (10k in sub 60 mins)
  • Intermediate (10k in sub 50 mins)
  • Advanced (10k in sub 38 mins)

Warming up & Cooling down

The next article on this page explains why these are important. We cannot emphasise enough that doing them properly will significantly improve your training sessions.

It may surprise you to know that by warming up properly you will be able to train at a higher intensity towards the end of your session. Many (most) have the feeling that warming up is simply expending energy that could be saved for the training session. It isn't!

Please do at least the warm-ups below. They are a guide and you should adapt them to suit your level. Note that many of the Kenyan athletes will do a 10-mile run as part of their warm-up before a marathon race!



Duration = 7 mins

  • 1.5 mins jog
  • 1.5 mins dynamic stretching
  • 1.5 min run gradually increasing in intensity (level 4-6)
  • 1.5  mins static stretching
  • 2x 200m - level 7


Duration = 9 mins

  • 2  mins jog
  • 2  mins dynamic stretching
  • 2  min run gradually increasing in intensity (level 4-6)
  • 2  mins static stretching
  • 3x 200m @ level 7     


Duration = 11 mins

  • 2.5 min jog
  • 2.5 mins dynamic stretching
  • 2.5 min run gradually increasing in intensity (level 4-6)
  • 2.5  mins static stretching
  • 4 x 200m - level 7



Duration = 10 mins

  • 2 mins jog – level 4
  • 2 mins dynamic stretches
  • 2 mins limbering/ jog – level 3
  • 2 mins static stretches
  • 2 mins specific relaxed breathing lying down


Duration = 11 mins

  • 3 mins jog reducing (level 5 -3)
  • 2 mins dynamic stretches
  • 2 mins limbering/ jog (level 2)
  • 2 mins static stretches
  • 2 mins specific relaxed breathing lying down


Duration = 13 mins

  • 4 mins jog reducing (level 5 -3)
  • 3 mins dynamic stretches
  • 2 mins limbering/ jog (level 2)
  • 2 mins static stretches
  • 2 mins specific relaxed breathing lying down

Warming-up - A scientific explanation

Is a warm up necessary before training

At a recent seminar given by a specialist sports doctor he questioned the need for endurance athletes to warm up before training. The reason for this thinking, he explained, was that endurance athletes do not generally train at high intensity, and there is no need to at the beginning of a session, so the earlier stages of their training session will be sufficient warmup.

One can understand the logic behind this thinking; on the face of it it makes perfect sense and if it saves time that has to be good – more time for training or a better “work, training, life balance”. But is it right?

Why do we warm-up?

“Warm-ups are crucial because they get your muscles ready for activity” (Runner’s World)

“A good “dynamic” mobilisation warmup increases the range of movement of the joints and will activate muscles – reducing your risk of injury and allowing you to run with better form” (Runner’s Radar)

Most of the literature focuses on the idea that a warm-up will help protect the muscles, tendons and joints from injury and if that’s the case surely you could just start off with a more gentle first set as part of your main routine. But it’s more complex than that.

What happens when we start to exercise?

What happens to the body when you move from gentle walking to even a gentle jog. The first thing the body has to do is convert fuel to energy at a faster rate. It does this by using the two anaerobic fuel systems. First ATP CP system cuts in and within 10 seconds the body switches to the ATP Lactic system, both of which make very inefficient use of glycogen and also produce both lactate and hydrogen ions.

The heart rate begins to rise, the capillaries relax and more blood and therefore oxygen is delivered to the muscles. This takes place gradually and eventually reaches a “steady state”. The time taken to reach this state varies with training and age (Oxygen Kinetics). In a normally healthy but untrained 20 - 30-year-old it takes about 2.5 to 3 minutes. In a trained athlete it will be in the region of 30-60 seconds (Paula Radcliffe was reported to reach a steady state in about 8 seconds).

During the time we take to reach this steady state we are releasing lactate and hydrogen ions into the bloodstream. The hydrogen ions do no real harm but do make the muscles feel fatigued, lactate, however, has to be cleared continuously from the system – which is why we do lactate threshold training. In addition, we are depleting our glycogen stores at a fairly high rate. The ATP CP system produces one molecule ATP per molecule of glucose while the ATP Lactic system produces two in contrast to the aerobic system which produces 32.

Once this steady state has been reached the body will seek to replenish the glycogen and clear the lactate and hydrogen ions providing you give it the opportunity to do a little recovery. So gently raising the heart rate for 3-4 minutes followed by some active recovery should be enough?

It will help, but optimum warm-ups can do a lot more. Research at bot Aberystwyth and Essex Universities have shown that if you significantly raise the level of lactate and then allow the body to clear it before proceeding with your training will produce better lactate efficiency and lead to more efficient performance later in the training session. It has been shown that warming up in this way can increase the time to exhaustion by 30-60% in subsequent high-intensity exercise phases.

So it would seem that a warm-up lasting 6 – 10 minutes that is at a high enough intensity to produce elevated levels of lactate followed by recovery that maintains a heart rate in the 60 – 70% HR Max range while the body replenishes glycogen and removes lactate and hydrogen ions will set the heart, lungs and fuel systems up for a good session.

So what about muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

A number of changes occur in these as well; synovial fluid is released into the joints, improving lubrication, fluids are released into the muscle tissue and the fibres become better able to operate through their full range of movement. The nerves become uprate their ability to fire many fibres together so we can generate more force.

All this would happen anyway if we simply began our session gradually so is there any need to incorporate stretching into the warm-up routine.

Neither running cycling nor swimming move the muscles and joints through their full range. Training tends to get them accustomed to moving through a much smaller range and they gradually shorten over time. Short tight muscles and tendons are more prone to injury.

Also running and cycling movements are largely in the fore & aft plane. If you stumble you have to cope with dynamic forces in the lateral and vertical planes using muscles that are still tight in these directions. 

As well as affecting muscles and tendons stretching also relaxes and lubricates the fascia, the thin but extremely strong membrane that envelopes all our muscles and organs holding them in place but also allowing them to slide over one another.

We will look at the fascia in more detail in a future addition but for the time being it is good to recognise that a good stretching routine will involve every part of the body stretching in every possible direction.

The recipe for a good warm-up

On the basis of what we now know it seems sensible to warm-up before every session; swim, bike or run, for 5 to 6 minutes building gradually from a gentle pace to a level at which you are starting to produce lactate and sustain this for a couple of minutes. Then ease off and conclude with three to four minutes of dynamic stretching that reaches the whole body. You should pay particular attention to those that will be used during the session but they should be moved in every direction not just the range of movement involved in the session.

Why do some people triumph when apparently they are no better equipped with mind or body, have no better access to training equipment or trainers and are often beset with problems that cause others to give up. These people appear in all walks of life, sport, academia, business even, dare I say it, politics. Is it something innate, is it luck or is it something that we can cultivate and develop. This thing that enables these people to triumph is sometimes described as mindset.

Mindset Explained

How do you explain when you fail at something that is important to you? What words do you use to describe your failure? Is it as an action (I failed) or is it as an identity (I’m a failure)?  Why does it even matter?

Carol Dweck, a famous Stanford psychologist spent 20 years researching this question and exposed some revealing correlations between our beliefs and the reaching of our potential. 

She became fascinated with how her students would grapple with problems. She never thought anyone could derive a positive benefit from failure.

What these children knew was that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated with effort.  In their eyes, they saw failure as a route to getting smarter. They were learning and were driven on by the thirst for knowledge.

Dweck went on to illustrate the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop with perseverance and effort (growth mindset) as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait (fixed mindset)

In the fixed mindset, the individual is concerned with how they show up, how they will be judged and less emphasis, if any, is placed on learning or even the enjoyment of the challenge. The self-talk will be continuously asking, "Will I pass or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?

The growth mindset believes that the initial distribution of "talents" is merely a starting point for a journey of skills acquisition. It also believes the potential of an individual is unknown. Armed with that belief, it is easy to see how this creates a passion for learning.

Why would you worry about looking smart if you believed you can get better through application? Why would you worry about hiding deficiencies when you know that through perseverance, you can overcome setbacks? Why would you stay in your comfort zone when you can look for experiences that will stretch you? The hallmark of the growth mindset is the conviction to stick to your cause even when you are struggling and it is not going so well.

Let’s consider the same question through a sporting lens. In January 1995, Matthew Syed became the British number-one table tennis player aged 24. What had marked him out for sporting greatness? Speed, mental strength, agility and reflexes were how he chose to explain it initially. The way he chose to tell his story was typical of the way that many who had reached the top in sport express their rise to greatness.

When he took a step back and realized that eight of the top ten players in the nation at that time all lived on Silverdale road in Reading, he thought again.

He reflects on a number of hidden advantages in his upbringing when he considers the sport. Firstly, his parents decided to buy a full size table tennis table in 1978 and put it in their large garage. Secondly, Matthew had a brother called Andrew who came to love table tennis as well and they would play for hours together after school. The third element to this story was Peter Charters, the nations’s top table tennis coach and a teacher at the local Aldryngton primary school. Peter was passionate about the game  and anyone who passed through the school and showed potential was persuaded to join him for training at the local club, Omega. Syed comments “Charters invited me and my brother Andy to join Omega in 1980, at the very moment we were beginning to outgrow the garage.”

Omega certainly wasn’t luxurious club. It was a hut containing one table on the outskirts or Reading about two miles from where they lived. There was no central heating so it was furiously hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. It had one thing that made it almost unique in the country and that was it was open 24 hours for the exclusive use of its tiny group of members, each of whom had a key!

The nucleus of players that grew up on Silverdale road were the beneficiaries of very unusual circumstances. Syed concludes that these players were blessed with “powerful advantages” over all the other aspiring youngsters in the rest of the country and he was the best of this very small bunch. If a bigger group of youngsters had access to a table tennis table aged eight, had a brother who played, a top coach at their school and a club open all hours, in all probability, he would not have been number 1 in the country.

We all like to believe that sport is a meritocracy and that is achievement by ability and hard work, but it is only part of the story. The delusion lies in focusing on the individuality of their triumph without exploring the powerful advantages that formed part of their development.

When Syed thinks he is special or “talented” he reminds himself that had he been born one door further down the road, he would not have attended Aldryngton, never met Chalmers and not joined Omega. Whilst his birthplace afforded him the hidden advantages, it was his growth mindset together with the practice opportunities which created the potential for high achievement. If practice is denied or diminished, no amount of talent will get you there.

The way we explain the events in our life can have a profound effect on our ultimate success. How are you choosing to tell your story. Cultivating a growth mindset will create the behaviours to achieve exceptional performance.

Our special thanks to Simon Hunt.

Training Phases

Training Oct-Jan.

  • 75% endurance
  • 15% strength
  • 10% speed

Run Proportions 1


The ‘base’ phase builds a solid foundation by gradually building up miles (endurance) from which subsequent training done throughout the remainder of the year ‘sits’ on.

Typically, we’ll be running at low-medium intensity but we’ll be including some speed and strength work to keep you on your toes!

Endurance: Long runs teach our bodies to run more efficiently. Typically we’ll be building levels of endurance up to 12 miles.

Speed: Short, sharp bursts of speed ranging from 10 secs to 10 minutes (depending on the stage within the phase) will be included in some sessions.

Strength: Strength work developed in a gym isn’t a bad thing at all. However, time is of the essence and not everyone has access to a gym so we’ll be including strength-specific run sessions into our program.


Feb-May Training

  • 60% endurance
  • 25% strength
  • 15% speed

Run Proportions 2


This phase is designed to strengthen the body in preparation for the higher intensity running to come during the ‘peak’ phase.  We’ll be fractionally reducing mileage, but there will be an increase in time spent developing strength and speed.

Endurance: We’ll still be doing our long runs, all be it slightly reduced (e.g. up to 10 miles) as it’s essential we maintain endurance levels. 

Speed: We’ll be including tempo, ‘fartlek’ runs and long repeats (eg . Tempo running trains your system to utilize lactate instead of letting it shut you down, and also develops muscular endurance and strengthens connective tissues. This is not to be confused with sprints. They come during the ‘peak’ phase.

Strength: 25% of our training time during this phase will be spent developing strength. This is best done by using gradients (hills and steps). This is by far the best strength training for runners because it’s specific to the sport and they place similar demand on our muscles as weight training.

June-Sept Training

  • 40% endurance
  • 10% strength
  • 50% speed

Run Proportions 3


This is what the ‘build’ and ‘preparation’ phases have been leading up to. Our primary goal during this ‘peak’ phase is to develop speed. Regardless of our motives for running, we’d all like to clear the distance as quickly as possible.

Endurance: The endurance run gets once again trimmed compared to phase 2. (Maximum of 8 miles).

Speed: We see a hike in emphasis placed on speed development. We’ll typically be running two different sessions. One done between 400m-800m and the other at tempo pace of around 1200m. 

Strength: The majority of strength work has been done but we’ll be ‘topping up’ our levels once or twice a month by once again returning to the

PDF Run Sessions May

To make it easy to take a copy of a session with you when training we have created a PDF version.

Download it here and print the pages you need.

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