The Fall Classic/Great Trek offers three virtual races: Half Marathon, 10KM and 5KM, with the option of the Hat-trick to complete all three race distances between October 16-31, 2020. There is a month to prepare and fine tune your training.

So you have signed up for the Hat Trick. You want to run your best time in all three events. How do you arrange the distances for the best results?

There are a few options:

  1. Half marathon, 5km then 10km
  2. 5km, 10km then Half marathon
  3. 5km, Half Marathon, then 10km

The Half marathon is the longest distance, requires the most endurance training, and will take the most time to recover. Depending on your training it will also improve your fitness the most as it is a long duration high quality effort. The 5km is the shortest and fastest pace of the three events and requires the most intense speedwork training. Recovery time from a 5km race is much faster over two or three days. The 10km distance fits in between the two other distances, requires a combination of speed and endurance, and could take a week to recover depending on how fast you run it.


Your training should include 5km, 10km half marathon and easy pace running. You will want to be ready for all distances. An example of a two week training cycle is based on three runs per week:

Monday: Half Marathon pace run – warm-up+3 x 2km at half marathon pace with 3 minute rest

Wednesday: warm-up+6 x 1km at 10km pace with 2 minute rest+warm-down

Saturday: 15km easy pace (Half Marathon pace plus 75 seconds per km)

Monday: Tempo pace run – warm-up+3 x 1600m at 15km race pace with 2 minute rest

Wednesday: warm-up+8 x 400m at 5km pace with 2 minutes rest+warm-down

Saturday: 18km easy pace  (Half Marathon pace plus 75 seconds per km)

If you followed this workout schedule you would have run five paces every two weeks. If you run the two week cycle again you would be ready to run a 5km, 10km and half marathon.

Virtual Race Order

You are in good shape after following a comprehensive running program, and it is getting close to running your virtual races. What order do you run them?

If you decide to run option A) Half, 5km then 10km, you run the longest distance first. You need more time to recover. You can space the races apart to provide the most recovery time by running the 5km nine days after the half. After the 5km you have a few days to recover for the 10km.

Option B) 5km, 10km then half marathon. This sequence allows you to build your fitness and spread out the races to increase race readiness for the half marathon. You can run an all out 5km and have time to recover to run a 10km all out a few days later. The 10km takes more time to recover than the 5km and should not slow down your half marathon time if you run it nine days later. There is a small amount of risk that your legs will be tired when you start the half. Running the races in this order will increase your VO2 max after the 5km and 10km.

Note: When I refer to fatigue or tired legs I am considering how fatigue will impact your race performance. You can have tired legs and run a good race. But have you run your best possible result on that day? By mixing the sequence of workouts and races you can post different results. There is always residual fatigue after long races and that requires time to recover.

Option C) 5km, half marathon then 10km. This sequence is better if you want to run your best half marathon as it allows you to increase your VO2 max by running the 5km first. The 5km does not cause much muscular fatigue and you will bounce back quickly to run the half marathon five days later. The half marathon will leave your legs the most tired but you will have a week to recover after the half to run the 10km.

Which Option Do You Choose? 

If you are looking to complete the half marathon as soon as possible then run option A). If you want to run your best 10km  then run option B). Also option B) is a good choice if you have not been training much and want to build your fitness from race to race. If you want to run your fastest half marathon run option C). Option B) or C) will offer the best chance for your fastest 5km.