BibRave Pro, run, Uncategorized

Why is Training for a 15k is so Hard?

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!


When training for a half marathon or a full marathon, you are essentially building endurance and making calculated predictions of pace, fuel and mileage. If you are training for a 5k or a 10k, you are focusing your training on speed and strength. But what do you focus on for a 15k? It’s too long to sprint, too short for calculated endurance. What kind of plan is there for such a middle distance road race? How do you train? Here is a breakdown of why it is so hard to train for a 15k and some guidelines to follow through the training that will ease the pain (of planning not actual training. Training will be hard!).


Why is it so hard?

When you think of a training plan for a 5k or a 10k, most of the time there is a lot of workouts that are focusing on speed and strength. Generally speaking, during a short race, you are going full speed and holding it for as long as you can. The strength and speed work are the types of workouts that get you ready for such a race. When training for a half marathon or a full marathon, most of the workouts are going to be working towards building up miles. Endurance is key. So when you take a race that is somewhere in the middle, which a 15k is, you have to have the endurance to run the distance but you also need to be able to hold the speed. By having to work on speed and building up miles your workouts become very difficult.


Training guidelines for a 15k

Every person will be different, but these guidelines are general enough that they can be adapted to most training plans. Remember that warming up, cooling down, stretching and hydration are always extremely important with any type of running.

  • Have a good base: have a solid base of miles before starting your training program. This will allow you to focus more on speed rather than building endurance which cuts down on training weeks
  • Speed workouts should be hard: a lot of time after a strenuous workout we think that we are burnt out, but speed workouts are designed for that. This will allow you to gauge your progress.
  • Rest days are yoga days: yoga is not a must, but it is a great way to rest your body, stretch out the legs, get blood flowing without the pounding miles.
  • Long days are not speed workouts: make sure that your long runs are not at a pace that is as fast as your speed days. If they are, you are running your speed workouts too slow or your long days too fast.


How do you decide which 15k to run?

Having a solid base of miles under you as you start the training plan is the ideal way to train for a 15k. With that said, it is a good idea to start your training after you finish resting after a half marathon or full marathon. Sometimes it’s hard to plan that out but there is a race series that makes it easy. The Allstate Hot Chocolate Run is a nation wide series that offers 15k distances through out the year. They put on a great race, serve awesome food, always have great swag, and they are year long so it is really easy to find a race that fits in the running schedule. With all that, the best thing about the #HC15K is that they provide FREE training plans. No need to look anywhere for a random plan. Check them out at

What are your tips for running a 15K? Share them below!

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