Workout of the Week: 032 – Lydia O’Donnell’s 1K Reps

This week another of NZ’s top distance runners, Lydia O’Donnell guides us through one of her all-time favourite workouts: 8x1k at your 10k pace.


8x1k @ 10k Race Pace
90-120sec recoveries

Start at half marathon pace for first rep.

Feels: On a roll!

This isn’t a smash-it-out-of-the-park 1K reps session. It’s designed to be primarily aerobic, meaning your pace and heart rate are well under control. Start slower with the first couple of reps at half marathon pace. Then get into a roll with those 10k-paced intervals. Choose between jog or walk recoveries.

Terrain: Flat, measurable path.


This sort of session is just perfect for laying the foundations for big things to come in aerobic-style race (and that’s everything from 1500m on up!). It’s not designed to massively tax the legs or the lungs or crank up the lactic; it’s about teaching your aerobic system to go a bit harder for a bit longer.

It’s a perfect lockdown workout.


As Lydia explains in the podcast, it’s a good idea to start slow and just ease yourself into today’s workout. If you smash the first rep out at 5k pace, you’re immediately going to be fatiguing the legs which changes the focus of the workout and you’ll find yourself sloppy and potentially too slow in the final reps.

If you’re starting out with these workouts, consider walking the recoveries instead of jogging. This will allow your heart rate to come down more, meaning you’ll be able to do the full compliment of 8 reps.


Lydia is a leading New Zealand distance runner and running coach. With six senior national titles over the 5k to the half marathon, she’s got an incredible aerobic engine and an even more incredible work ethic that has kept at the front of New Zealand and Australian races for the best part of 10 years.

In the podcast she also opens up about her struggles with mental health particularly as a teenager and explains how running and exercise has played a huge part in staying healthy.

And how cool is this quote of her’s?
“We’re all born to run. We’re not born fit, we’re not born fast, we’re not born strong. But we’re all born with unlimited potential to be the best athletes we can be. Take that potential, and run with it.”

Personal Bests:
5000m: 15:42
10,000m: 33:22
Half Marathon: 1:12:44
Marathon: 2:38:33

Visit Lydia’s website
Lydia’s Instagram