One session that I typically employ in late season XC and Track is a 2000 meter rep at 5k race pace; followed by a set or two of some faster repeats. I started using this during the 2015 XC season and it’s been a staple in my late-season arsenal ever since.
It’s something that stems from the Lydiard time trials; but I just don’t think that 1000-3000 meters is quite enough work on the day, so, we adjust it a bit. The goal is to run 2000 meters at your ‘goal’ 5k pace. Then, we take 4-6 minutes rest, depending on what we have following the 2000 meter rep.
After the rest interval we’ll run something like 2 x (5 x 300 meters), or 6-8 x 400 meters. Typically these reps will start around 3k pace and work to mile pace or right at it. It’s nothing over the top; only about 5000 meters worth of work, but it dials them into the specific paces /efforts that they need to find in racing, and teaches them to finish faster.
The construct is something like this:
2-3 miles easy warm up. Drills. Strides.
2 x 200 meters to continue warming up; 200 meter easy jog recovery.
2000 meters at 5k ‘goal’ pace. 4 minutes rest.
5 x 300 meters at 3k ‘goal’ pace w/ 90 seconds rest. 4 minutes rest after the set.
5 x 300 meters at 1500 meter pace w/ 90 seconds rest.
2-3 miles easy cool down.