What training for a sub 50 10k?

Hi all,
I have been reading for ages but never posted. I am currently training for the truro 1/2M using the intermediate RW schedule (but modified-I do the long run and the interval session plus another 4-6 mile run and sometimes a 3-4 miler depending how busy I am). I have been doing my intervals based on a 1.50 half as my last was bath which i did in 1.55, but based on the hilly course at truro i will be happy with anything under 2 hours. Anyway today i attempted a sub 50 10k on the treadmill at 1% gradient which i should be well capable of when you look at the 10k times needed for the 1/2M times I am looking at (my PB is about 53.5min) but I got to 4k and crashed totally, struggled my way through to a 52ish min 10K which is still a PB I guess. So I have decided that my winter goal is a 50 min 10K, last year I did the weston super mere christmas cracker which is totally flat and not too crowded at the beginning of december so I might choose this as my goal race. After that I will start my training for the FLM if I get in! Does anyone have any ideas on training for such a specific goal time?

Thanks a lot,



  • I forgot to add, I only run 4 days a week as I always seem to get injured if i do any more. But when I get back to uni in 3 weeks time (after the truro half) I will be doing a boxercise class, a circuits class, a bodypump class and a couple of aerobics classes each week as well as a couple of weights sessions and 1-3 cycles to uni a week. I don't know if this makes any difference!

  • Hi! As a fellow university-based runner, it seems fitting that I offer the first advice. I'm currently training my mother to break 45 mins for 10k, so much of the same applies, namely:

    1. By all means train on the treadmill, but try to avoid using it to predict your times on the road. For all number of reasons (somebody must have written an article on it for RW) they just won't be accurate. As an example, I know one guy in my club who can run 5 miles in 29:30 on the treadmill, but can't break 31:00 on the road.

    2. Keep up your weights and cycling - they are invaluable to your running.

    3. Prepare yourself mentally as well as physically - the basic approach being that you run fastest when you are psyched up for the race but not scared of it. If you see hilly courses (eg, Truro) as a problem, you are unlikely to do well at them. So do one run a week/fortnight over the most difficult course you can think of - hills, wind, rain, mud, whatever, and learn how to tackle the hills effectively. Then any race course will seem a breeze and you'll be able to concentrate on the important stuff (pacing yourself, finding places to gob, etc.). Of course, running on a difficult course will also be good physical training.

    4. Don't get too worried about times when doing a one-off session (eg a time trial). You'd be amazed how much your ability on a given day is affected by your stress levels, what your training was yesterday, what time of the day you run, what the weather is like and hundreds of other factors. One good way to overcome this is to have a short run that you do every week on the same course, and plot a graph or take a note of your time every time you do it. That way the discrepancies will average out and after a few weeks you can see if you're really improving.

    5. Do some build-up races. This may seem pointless, but race experience helps make the big day seem less big (see point 3) and allows you to practice pacing.........

    6. .....which will be the single biggest decider as to whether you succeed or not. In all runs - training runs, intervals, long runs, races, whatever, DON'T GO OFF TOO FAST!!!!!!!!! This may well be what happened when you crashed at 4k on the treadmill. ALWAYS start every single run with either a proper warmup (10 mins easy jog, stretches, strides - usually for intervals or races) or just run the first mile slowly. As for race day, it is much, much better to go off too slow than too fast. Without going into body science, your body works in such a way that if you go off at a pace you are unable to sustain for the whole race, or without being warm and prepared, you find it very difficult to drop the pace slightly as you begin to feel tired - you'll just blow up. (Of course marathon runners call this 'the wall', but that's just to scare those who run shorter distances into thinking that the marathon is in fact a big scary monster sponsored by a popular brand of margarine). So before you race, work out the time you think you're capable of, divide it by ten (if the course is marked in km, of course), and use the markers. If your first km is too fast, slow down (no arguments here). This naturally leads on to the final point:

    7. You'll never know how fast to run from the gun unless you've practiced running at race pace. Don't just confine race pace running to time trials - do it as often as possible. This doesn't mean you should race 10k every weekend, but do some shorter runs (ie, four miles or less) at race pace, or better still, since 50:00 10k pace is exactly 2:00 per lap of a 400m running track, go to a track and do something like 3*4 laps (1600m) in 8:00 with 3:00 recovery.

    There - having written an essay for you, I'll just wish you good luck, and post again with any questions about the above.


  • Whats wierd is that I can't run as fast on a tm as on the road!
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