Unlike half and regular marathons which will observe the contestants resting fatigue during the latter mile portion of the run, the 5 and 10k racing events are much more demanding and taxing on the contestant when approaching the concluding miles of the race.
Many professional runners have testified to the locking up of their legs, shortening of their strides and intense strain on their quads as the tension within their upper body increases in the final thirds of the race in their attempts to match the pace of the runner in front. Contrary to many beliefs this feeling is a direct testimony to the runner maintaining the correct form and technique of creating a burst of energy within the muscles as the individual approaches the final section of the race. Professional athletes have often trained their bodies to slow their energy burn to effectively respond to the challenges presented during the race by implementing what is often referred to as the descending ladder workout.
The descending ladder workout will generally begin with the person performing a warmup activity for a period of no more than twenty minutes of light cardio jogging followed by a about six twenty second strides at a higher frequency to effectively stimulate the muscles for the training. After the individual completes the warmup, a run is performed for a period of ten minutes at half the pace of the scheduled marathon race. Beginners to this type of training are advised to add fifteen seconds to each mile for the 10k race and a minimum of thirty seconds per mile for the 5k race. The aim of this principle is to successfully introduce a level of fatigue within the leg muscles of the athlete without exposure to subsequent failure.
The athlete training after running for a period of ten minutes at a pace of half that of the marathon will then revert to a slow jog for a period of no more than five minutes as a method of recovery during the training workout. Having completed the five minute jog, the athlete will embark on what is commonly referred to as the descending ladder pickup of the training workout beginning with a run for a period of six minutes at the 10k marathon pace. After completing this six minute run the athlete will continue in a jog for a further three minutes in recognition of a continual and recurring rest and recovery period. The training workout will continue in the traditional step down ladder form with an increase in the frequency of the pickup in the run while now observing a period or five minutes at the 10k marathon pace instead of six minutes, followed by a period of four minutes at the 5k pace, 3 minutes at the 5k pace, a scheduled time of two minutes at a 3k pace aimed at allowing the athlete to increase their current pace at a quicker rate of fifteen seconds per mile rather than the traditional 5k pace. Then concluding the workout with a time of one minute at the 3k race pace. The descending ladder workout will typically include a recovery period in-between each step as a light cardio jogging activity for a period recognizing half the time allotted for the prior interval resulting in a period of two minutes and thirty seconds for the five minute pickup etc.