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15K Race Training and Pace Plan

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15K Race FAQs

How to train for a 15K race?

Since a 15K is 9.3 miles, you can follow a half marathon (13.1) training plan. Then, you can develop the endurance and fitness for a 15K race.

How to pace for a 15K race?

Compare your fastest 15K pace in the last 12 months with the upcoming race terrain, weather, and your primary goal.

What’s My 15K Race Pace?

How fast you can race depends on many factors, including:

  • How’s your current fitness?
  • What is your one-hour training peak pace?
  • Weather conditions on race day

If you run consistently throughout your half marathon training plan, you ought to have the fitness to race. This is my last day of training week 14 on the 80/20 running level 2 plan. I started my first week of half-marathon training on June 5, 2023.

Training Peaks records my running data and provides tools to create custom training reports. Below is my running distance by week over the last 14 weeks. It also calculated 32.4 average miles per week.

15K Race training miles per week chart

Last week was my peak training week. In week thirteen, I ran 44.2 miles in 7 hours and 19 minutes.

Calculate Your Fitness

The Training Peaks app calculates your fitness on Chronic Training Load (CTL). It provides a fitness score based on training duration and intensity over the last 42 days (7 weeks). Furthermore, it also uses a weighted average of your Training Stress Score (TSS) over the last three months.

Training Peaks run performance chart

The blue line in the chart below shows my fitness scores went from 29 to 63 over fourteen weeks. In other words, my running fitness more than doubled from June to September (3 months).

Are You Fit to Run 15K Race?

What’s your longest duration run per week? To run a 9.3-mile race, you need to train for a duration that is similar to your race. Since training is slower than racing, you won’t be running race distance. However, training needs to prepare you for enduring the race duration. The chart below shows my average longest run over the last fourteen weeks is 1 hour and twenty-six minutes.

Longest Run Duration per week

Typically, your average running duration is less than your planned race duration. However, since this is a half-marathon training plan (13.1 miles) and 15K is only 9.3 miles, my longest running disance average exceeds my planned race duration. In other words, I plan to finish my 9.3 miles race in less than 1 hour and twenty-six minutes.

What’s Your 60 Minute Peak Pace?

Running on a treadmill indoors and AC cooled, I ran an 8:38 pace. My running speed was 7 miles per hour with a maximum heart rate of 135 and an average heart rate of only 126 bpm. This was a heart rate zone 2 foundation training run. Depending on race day conditions, your race pace will generally be faster than your 60-minute training peak pace.

Weather Conditions on Race Day

You can generally race faster under cooler temperatures and lower humidity. The weather for the Fort DeSoto 15K Distance Classic on September 17, 2023, is expected to be 74 degrees F at 7AM. This is a favorable running temperature for Florida. However, the 82% humidity can make it feel like 80 degrees.

You also want to consider the wind. The forecast shows winds at 8 mph from the East. Based on the 15K race course, Eastern winds that blow West will give runners a favorable tailwind on the second half.

Race Pace Strategy

With a headwind in the first half, a good race pace plan is a negative split. Run the first half a little slower than the second half. The tailwind will give you a little push and help increase your pace in the second half.

What was your fastest 15K training pace? In my fast finish training run on Sunday, August 20, 2023, I ran outside with an average heart rate of 130 bpm and 9:42 pace per mile. It was 77 degrees with a cool breeze. So, the weather was favorable for fast running.

What is your fastest 15K in the last 12 months? In my last half-marathon, I set a new personal record with a 15K and 10 mile pace of 8:23 per mile. The weather was 70 degrees and 100% humidity. It rained heavy in the middle of the race and helped cool me down.

Your 15K Pace Plan

When considering your upcoming race pace, compare your fastest 15K performance in the last 12 months.

Compare Race Terrain

When you ran your fastest 15K, how does the terrain compare to your upcoming race? For me, both races will be on pavement. However, my upcoming race will be flatter and faster.

Compare Weather Condition

When you ran your fastest 15K, how does the weather compare to your upcoming race? For me, the upcoming Septemer race will likely be warmer than my fastest November race.

What’s Your 15K Race Goal?

Choose a race pace to achieve your primary race goal.

My race goal is to age-group podium. To finish in the top 3 for my 45 to 49 age-group, I researched the top finishing times from last year’s 15K race:

  • 1st place pace 8:14
  • 2nd place pace 8:35
  • 3rd place pace 8:40

Running a 8:30 pace, could put me on the podium. Based on my running fitness and previous race results, I believe I can do it! Thus, my race pace plan is 8:30 with a 15K finish time of 1:19:14.

If I can finish the Fort DeSoto 15K race in under 1 hour and 20 minutes, I believe I have a chance to age-group podium. Learn about my age group running 15K victory despite the Florida heat.

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