Sub 34 10k?

Have not been on this forum for a while!

Just wondering if there is anybody out there looking to break the 34 minute barrier for 10k. My PB stands at 34.28 which was done last july in our summer league races for the club(tadcaster harriers)

So to this year and I have very much started off as I did last year so far achieving 35.03 at rothwell 10k in leeds and our summer league race on tuesday in 35.19. two races in a week! a bit much i think to get the best out.

I am currently stuck on 34 and 35 minutes for a 10k depending on the course and a little fustrated that I am not edging any closer to that elusive sub 34 10k. I do a long run on a sunday around 10/12 miles when not racing for the endurance then during week I cycle and run on the threadmill as well as outside. Usually I coverer between 5 and 8 miles with the five milers being my speed run. The problem is that I start a 10k quick enough but seem to stuggle to hold onto the pace in the mile of the race and then finish well again. So it is that dip in the middle that I need to iron out. any advice?

Does anyone have the same problem? how do I overcome this and have a more sustained run? and do you think that proper speed sessions are the answer?


  • harrier-kev wrote (see)

    The problem is that I start a 10k quick enough but seem to stuggle to hold onto the pace in the mile of the race and then finish well again. So it is that dip in the middle that I need to iron out. any advice?

    Although I'm not at your level it sounds like you're starting too fast thereby causing lactate acid build up rapidly which means your body has to slow down to get rid of it before building up to speed again.
    Think of lactic acid build up like a hole in a boat that's letting in water. If you're getting rid of the water with a bucket at the same rate it's coming in, the boat doesn't sink and if you're not getting rid of it quick enough, you sink. You're sprinting off so quickly you've made scenario B within the first half mile and your body is struggling to cope.
    This is very common in cycling within the sport of timetrialling. People sprint off at the start of a 10mile TT to get up to maximum speed asap but then suffer for it in the middle section of the ride before finishing strongly.
    If you're aiming at 5m37s miling then what are your splits like in the races you've done? It sounds like you need to learn how to pace your effort  better from the start.
    As an example, these are the splits from my latest 10k (which was a PB):
    So a negative split over the second half. At the start everyone hared off as per usual but I simply picked off the people who started quickly one by one. Even into the final 2km I was passing people left, right and centre which felt great because they simply couldn't keep up as they'd started too quickly.
    The first mile should feel almost too easy but then as you gather pace it hurts more and more. If it hurts and you're breathing hard within the first mile then you've blown it.

    I don't think it's fitness you're lacking it's pacing. Although I do think that a 2hr long run at 7m00 to 7m30s pace would be better than a 10mile run in about an hour

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Just out of interest what does your total mileage come to?

    You're obviously not exactly doing badly to be on 34s.

    What age are you and how many years running?

  •  Matchstick man- thanks for the advice and explain around this. I must admit that in training i tend to set off slow and build my pace up. Maybe this is something i need to incorporate into my racing.

    My splits are sometimes dictated by the course I am running.

    Splits from 10k on tuesday were.

    1 - 5.29

    2 - 6.07(steady hill climb for 1km not too steep)

    3- 5.57

    4.-523(course goes down hill and flat all way to finish)

    5- 5.32

    6 -5.37

    0.25 - 1.14

    The course was undulating out to 5k and flat, slight down hill coming back.

    Maybe I need some hill work too.

    Stevie G - total mileage weekly at the mo around 30ish. No not doing bad I must admit but I still think I am capable of more. I am 34 years of age and been running for 8 years with a small club.

    Pb's out of interest:-

    5k - 16.36(millenium bridge-York)

    5miles - 27.11(club run)

    10miles - 58.31(Snake lane 10)

    half mara - 1.16.39(Brass Monkey)

    20 miles - 2.02.36(east hull 20)

    London marathon- 2.51.25(09) 2.57.50(07) 2.57.54(06)3.26(05)

    was going for 2.45 at london in 2009 but burnt out at 22ish miles!

  • That's an impressive set of times, and your PB is a minute quicker than mine, but if I can make a suggestion i think might work - try a structured speed/endurance session geared towards even pace. For example, 5 times a measured 2k loop (or on the track) with say 90 seconds recovery. Going by your current form and target, that might be done in something like 3.15 to 3.20 mins per km. This will give you the speed endurance you need but also help you with pace judgement.

  • Kev,

    The thing that stands out for me is that your 10 mile PB is pretty soft in comparison to your 5K time, which tends to suggest that you need to work on endurance to get your 10K time down.

    My own PBs are not  a lot different to yours:

    5K 16:16

    10K 33:30

    10 Miles 55:37

    Half 1:14:04

    20 Miles 1:58:56

    Marathon 2:48:58

    Forget the marathon time as that went all wrong and isnt a true reflection of fitness at the time but the other times should be a fair reflection of what you can achieve by getting your mileage up into the 50-60 mpw range and incorporating weekly marathon pace runs into the equation.

    Its difficult to comment any further than that but you're always trying to balance speedwork against  endurance work and at the moment your speedwork is a little ahead of your endurance, which is not too surprising on 30 mpw.

    I wouldnt see sub 34 as being out of reach for you at all....

  • Virgil- Yes - it sounds good to me. I have just printed out a schedule that suggests what you have said. It says to do 5 times 2k at 3.25km pace with 90 secs recovery. Also included in there are longer slower paced runs.

    Parkrunfan - You PB's are very good and just like me really the marathon does not reflex on the other times you have achieved at other distances. I agree to increase in mileage as my pace at the moment is not far away at all. My 10 mile time could be better but not had chance to do many round my area. I am sure that my 10 mile time will be better when I start training for London again near end of year.

    The difference does look at the moment to be mileage but also I need to included some proper speed sessions to get that even pace running.

     Cheers guys you given me some good tips to go with.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    You've managed to squeeze 3 years of training into 8 years!

    Joking aside, you're undertrained.  Concentrate on increasing mileage before worrying about which speed sessions to do.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    30miles a week! presume that's just running and the cycling adds a chunk on top?

    Otherwise you must have some good natural talent at 34 to run 34 something off so little training

  • Hi Kev

    From having a pretty close observation of you in races I would agree with the above advice.  More miles - there's no magic speed sessions given your pb profile.  Also even pacing.  It's amazing how many people I can pass as I even pace a race from mile 1 through to the finish.

    Your 5k time is the same as mine, but the further the distance the greater your drop off:-

    5k - 16:34
    10k - 33:31
    10m - 55:56 (same race as you I think)
    HM - 73:41
    20m - 1:59.22 (not racing)
    Mar - 2:42

    You doing Askern 10k Weds?  You had a good run there the other year I remember.

  • Found an old similar thread sub 34 for 10k

     Hope that's ok !

  • Barnsley runner - Yes I agree more mileage will definately help. I could run twice a day as I go to the gym on the treadmill now at lunchtime or run round Leeds from work. I suppose I could fit in a night session too when i get home. A few long runs when i am not racing on a sunday will add to the cause.

    I have noticed that the treadmill does learn me to run more of an even pace but need to do this outside too. I have run races at even pace in the past and funny that these turn out to be PB's or new PB's.

    Thanks for the advice it really helps.

    I have entered askern 10k and hope to be inside 35 again. A good course for a PB if you are in good shape. I did 35.03 at Rothwell so its on the cards.

    How about you are you running and have you recovered from the injury?

     Stevie G -  I do usually run more miles so the 30 miles per week will increase soon, especially when Marathon training. The cycling is as well as the running but not every week.

  • Kev - recovering ok - done 5 races in 2 weeks including a 35:12 at Beverley so we should be near each other at Askern.

    I do wonder what goes through peoples' minds in the first mile of a race. It evidently isn't the final mile!

  • Barnsley runner  - yes we are running simular times at the moment, so if I follow you I should have an even paced run! and break 35 minutes. No pressure there then!

    See you there, hopefully the weather is on our side too.

  • BR - I've often been puzzled by the same thing. If the same people had to do a 10,000 on the track I'm sure they wouldnt be haring off in the first couple of laps because 25 laps sounds like a long way. For some reason they see 10K on the road as something of a sprint.

    Btw When are you planning on doing Hull? We've got it pencilled in for 29th May, I could do with a sub 17 runner to try to keep in sight as long as possible!! image

  • Harrier kev - More mileage will help but I think you'll benefit more by replacing one of your five-mile tempo runs with a speed endurance session, preferably on a track. I broke 34 using this rotation of sessions (a different one every week) combined with a weekly lactate threshold run (ie, tempo), a long run and the rest easy running.

    3 x 2 miles @ target 10K speed (90 sec)
    5 x 800m @ target 3K speed (90 sec)
    4 x 1 mile @ target 5K speed (90 sec)
    8 x 400m @ target 1500m speed (90 sec)

    (The 3 x 2 miles session is a real killer and I'd advise you to start with 6 x 1 mile and progress to 5 x 2000m, 4 x 2500m then 3 x 2 mile.)

    Good luck!

  • PRF - we'll be down the other end of the country that weekend.  Looking at July time probably.
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Ah thought so Harrier... you've obviously been used to higher mileage before and the 30 is your current so your body knows how to run fast still.

    i'm just educating mine how to!image

  • Silver Shadow - Thanks for the info on the speed sessions. I have been on mcmillan running website to see what pace I should running from 100m to the marathon. It also has info on what tempo running you should do. I think I could manage the 3 x 2 miles now. The 4 x  1 mile target 5k looks a good starter.

    Just one other point when is it best to incorporate these speed sessions as I am racing every other week in a 10k as part of our clubs summer road race league and you dont seem to have much time to cram in some good training to bring yourself on a little before the next race.

    After the race on tuesday you have the rest of the week to recover and then I usually go out for a long run on the sunday same week. The week I am not racing I could fit in a speed session but then need to wind down again to be fresh for the next 10k. Is this enough time to recover? or are the races every fortnight meaning that I dont need to do as much speed work as i think?

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    What are your goals harrier-kev?

    If your true goals are to optimise your 10k time I think it unwise to be racing that often unless it's part of peak period at the end of cumulative training - which it doesn't sound is the case.  You've already hit on the reason why in your post with regards to squeezing the training in.

  • Stevie G - Yes the mileage will increase as I get closer to september as I will be doing the great north run. I have always had speed in the legs but not managed to hold on long enough in races as BR mentioned so mileage is the key really. My PB's have mainly come from high mileage and not much speed training. Just wondering whether these speed sessions will make me improve.

    What sort of mileage are you currently on?

  • Moraghan - My main goal is to break 34 10k and do a sub 2:45 marathon. I do think it a bit much to ask when you are trying to improve your 10k by running every other week. Not enough time to get the miles and work in.

    Your advice is good and I think increasing mileage first and then slowly introducing the speed work will benefit me better in the long run.

  • Kev,

    I dont know if this is of any use to you but I've just had a look at my training in the 6 weeks leading up to the 33:30. Some of the key points:

    Total Mileage 309 miles, Avg 51.5 miles


    6 weeks out: 3x1000m (2 mins) (2:57,2:59,2:55)

    5 weeks out: 3x1000m (2 mins) (3:07,3:11,3;03)

    4 weeks out: 4x1mile (3 mins) (5:30,5:17,5:11,5:08)

    3 weeks out: None

    2 weeks out: 12xshort hills (23-29 secs)

    Final week:

    6 days out: 4x400m (1 min) (74,75,68,68)

    4 days out: 4x1000m (2 mins) (3:08,3:02,2;59,2;57)

    Races: (All run very tired)

    5 weeks out: 10 Miles 1:00:53, 4 Miles 21:52

    2 weeks out; 10 Miles 1:01:54

    Pre-race days:

    Thurs: 3 Miles steady (am), 10 Miles steady (pm)

    Fri: Rest Day

    Sat: 3 Miles steady

    Sun: 10K 33:30

    Make of that what you will, it looks a wee bit haphazard to me in hindsight but it knocked me into pretty good shape. image 

  • Parkrunfan - Setting myself a target race for 10k and sticking to some sort of schedule and for the big day, pretty simular to what I do when marathon training looks. You gave yourself 6 weeks to build up for the target race and it paid off well.

    I think you guys on here have given me food for thought on customising my own schedule with a long term goal. Obvioulsy everyone is different on how they train and what suits them best but putting some of these sessions in practice mentioned on the thread i will be able to determine what I need to do that works well for me.

    I will report on my training on this thread to see what you guys on here think.


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