10k in 40mins

Hi All,

 Long time lurker, first time poster!

Completed my first marathon in Dublin last October, just under the 4 hour mark at 3hrs 59mins, was really dissappointed with the time but when i went over the training i knew i hadnt done enough 18+ mile runs in the lead up to the run and duly blew out after 20 miles, cramping up and being reduced to walking about 1/2 a mile... this has spurred me on to try and get the best time possible, so i've set myself a really mad target of hitting 3hr 15mins in the Berlin marathon in September... but in order to acheive that i want to have a series of targets to meet before the big run...

First up is the Great Ireland 10k Run on 11 April, have started training about 2 weeks for this, running 5 times a week on the following schedule:

Mon - 5m - 1m warm up, 3m at 6.24 and 1m cool down

Tues - 7m @ 7.24

Wed - 7m @ 7.24

Thurs - 9m @ 7.46

Fri - Rest

Sat - Repeat Monday

Sun - Rest

I'm a bit frustrated with the progress to date, and my projected 10k times are coming in at 43mins which at this point seems very difficult to cut to the 40min mark... im posting on here to see if anyone has any views on the training schedule / pointers on training methods / diet etc

 i run evenings after work, mostly on the treadmill in my local gym, and try to get a large pasta and chicken dish into me the day of a session

Any feedback you guys have would be really appreciated!


  • Firstly, you are running the bulk of your training far, far too fast.

    7:24/mile is approaching HM pace for a 43 minute 10k runner. The first thing I would advise before doing anything else is slow down. How slow? I'd be looking at around 9:20/mile + pace for easy runs - yes, it will seem hopelessly slow but it'll tire you out less and provide better aerobic adaptation for the 10k distance.

    Secondly, I'd get off the treadmill - it does a bad job of simulating the conditions you're likely to face while racing. Running outside and treadmill running are very different so it's important to get used to it.

    Thirdly I'd add a bit more mileage on. 9M for the longest run's probably a bit short - if you could do 10 or 11M then that would be a good start. The 7M runs are ok as they are now, although remember to slow down! On 5 days a week a long run of 10-11M, and 3 easy runs in the 5-7M bracket's probably a decent aerobic base to start from. Over time I'd up the long run to 13M or so and try to get one of the shorter runs into the 8-9M bracket. Try also to incorporate strides into one or two of these - runs done at roughly mile pace for about 70-100m, running relaxed and not tensing up into a sprint. Try for 3 or 4 of them.

    From your quality it looks like you're trying to just run at sub-40 pace for each of your miles. I'd really mix this up and incorporate slower, but longer repeats and some continuous stuff as well. For example you might want to do a session of 2.5M @ HMP, or 1M @ 10M/1M @ 10k/1M @ 10M. Also MP-pace running is a good session to incorporate, for you I'd estimate it to be around 7:30/mile so 3 or 4M continuous at that pace is likely to help a great deal with aerobic endurance. Also try not to do these on the treadmill, pace judgement is important so try to do them outside. And run them to feel! You're running at aspirational paces right now which isn't the best way to do this kind of thing - for you sub-40 pace might be 5k or even 3k pace which is far too fast for mile repeats.

    I would suggest erring on the side of caution regarding faster stuff until you've got a decent aerobic base first - quality is often seen as the be-all-end-all whereas in fact more easy mileage will benefit you more in the long term. I'd suggest an upper limit of about 4M per week of faster-than-easy running - and I'd be tempted to start with MP pace and work down to 10k over a longer timeframe.

    In addition, a mile warm-up isn't enough - I'd look at doing at least 2M with strides before any quality session.

  • >> ✭✭✭

    i would be wary of recommending paces and predicting times when you have started running. you can train yourself dramatically after a few months and all you target paces change with this. you can get it wrong and always train to slowly so dangerous advice to give.

    i myself would recommend training to feel when you start and not to a stop clock. run outside. if your goal is the marathon you need to slow down and do one longer run. perhaps shorten the others so you have the energy for it. i myself trained to race 5000m before gettting 10k so try the 5k first, if you cannot get under 20 minutes you are well off your 40 minute 10k target, so work at getting the 5k target at around 19 minute first. now you have parkrun this is much easier to do for you than for me but what i would suggest. good luck.

  • Boysie - Duck is right by saying slow down. Sounds wierd but it's true. You need to build up your endurance and have a bigger range of pace for your runs. Also, try and build up your longest run to about 12 miles. Time on feet is important and will make the smaller distances like 10k seem like a breeze.

    When I was trying to get sub 40 for the first time I was doing a weekly interval session of 5 x 2000m reps. This is a tough session and one to build up over a period of weeks. First time, I could only manage 4 reps and they were all over 8 minutes each. Then next time i managed all 5. Slowly over the next few weeks my times came down under 8 minutes till I was averaging around 7.30 pace. It took about 8 weeks of doing this combined with a minimum 10 mile LSR on a Sunday and 2 other session in the week to get my sub 40 10k.

    Good luck

  • Much seems to be made of what pace long runs should be performed at, i.e. minutes per mile, but wouldn't a more accurate means of expressing effort be by heart rate? i.e. long run should average 75% of MHR or similar?


  • KR - are those figures right or are you +1 minute? i.e. the average for 2000 reps was 6:30 pace after 8 weeks... Sub 40 10k is below 6:26 pace!

    +1 for getting outside, slowing down and setting your sights on a sub 20:00 5k first - you'll probably be needing to go closer to 19:00 for a sub 40:00 10k image

  • No, KR is right; he means each 2K rep took 8 mins i.e. 4min/km which is 40 min 10k pace image
  • Aha Joolska - you're right of course... I wasn't reading it correctly, (I always think in terms on minutes / mile)

    That'll teach me to go posting shortly after coming back from a hill session image

  • Guys, WOW thanks so much for all the responses, all invaluable information!

    I was so nieve, my whole premise was to end up at the Marathon in September but to have 3 main targets throughout the year -

    10k  April - under 40 mins

    Half Marathon July - under 1hr 30 mins

    Berlin Marathon September - under 3hrs 15mins

    Only after actually posting on here could i see that i'm going too fast image i would never have thought that, i was 100% convinced that i was going far too slow!!!

    I really like the idea of the 5 x 2000m reps, as that ties in with the speedwork i'll be doing during the summer for football training and could give me an excellent platform to work from...

    Definitely noted on the longer runs, i'll keep building it up by one mile over the next few weeks, with the aim to get from 9m to 14m before the run itself... i can see the logic of build up miles

  • I broke the 40 minute barrier for the first time in January by a whole 20 seconds.  It took quite a while to chip away at my PB to get it towards 40 minutes and then 3 concerted attempts to finally break through.

    Running 5k under 19 minutes was a great phsycological boost.  The endurance of a long run and the speed of a quick interval training session in the week do eventually come together!

    There is also something to be said for a nice flat course... Good luck.

  • this is quite intresting in fact valueable info, what sort of jog/recovery in between 4min K reps?
  • Good point, what sort of recovery would you put in for your 2k reps?

     i'm going to ramp my training up from Wednesday of this week with a wider variety of quick sharp sessions with long slow runs operating on alternate days

  • Boysie84 

    FRankly from 4hours to 3h15 at the marathon seems a massive task, I 'd ove to think I could do this but the marathon is a bit special, especially after 35k...

    Good luck if you achieve this, but I would have thought a sub 3.30 target is already a good challenge, Although i guess from your pseudo that may be you are born in 1984 meaning you are far far fitter than us old things born over 20years prior to you!



  • Hi JC,

     Yeah, guilty as an 84 baby...

    100% agree that the target is overly ambitous, but i've 7 months to get my head down and keep training... i guess i'll never know if it's achievable unless i give it a go now when i have the momentum

  • Would make a few comments on training.

     People are right in saying you "easy pace" is far too fast you would actually benefit alot more from slowing this down. Your easy pace would be back 8.30 to 9.00 min. I think your monday session is good and will benefit you alot but again bit quick. Your Tempo effort should be the pace which you can hold for about an hour to HM pace (this should be back 7.30 - 7.45 quickest)

     My advice to you over the next few months would be to do something like this:

    1st 4-6 weeks

    Mon - 7 m easy @ 8.30-9 pace roughly (base on feel)

    Tues - 5m - 1m warm up, 3m at 7.30-7.45 and 1m cool down

    Wed - 6m @ easy @ 8.30-9 pace roughly (base on feel)

    Thurs - 2 mile warm up, 10x45 sec hill reps* (increasing every week or two by 5 secs)

    Fri - Rest

    Sat - 9 miles @ 9-9.30 pace roughly ( increase this by a mile every 1-2 weeks depending on how feeling)

    Sun - Rest

    The hill reps should not be all out and should be comfortably hard focusing on form as you tire

     After this period you can start to incorporate track work. The volume should not be 10k as people have suggested. You have to factor in your "training age" and the lack of miles you have accumulated over the past few years. you should alternate these between rhythm running and effective 10k training

     My advice would be every second week alternate your Tempo session with things such as:

    10x400m @ 5k-10k pace w/ 100m recovery

    8x600m @ HM pace w / 1 min recovery

    10 x 1 min on one min off fartlek

    Once you come to the 10k you will have the strength to tackle the hills on the GI course as well get your time. You dont have to kill yourself with huge interval sessions. Train smarter not harder to get your time. From here you can carry forward this base to tackle your HM and Marathon targets and start to incorporate some of the Marathon specific sessions which have been suggested

     Best of luck with the training

  • Eirecoach, thank you so much for your input, that is absolutely fantastic!

     I had said previously I was going to ramp up my speed sessions, so tonight i decided to just go and run 5k as fast as I could..

    Managed to finish in a time of 20:57, i'm absolutely delighted with it as i started slower than normal, and went to push on with just over half a mile left, i finished up and found i still had quite a bit left in the tank, so i'll know for again that i probably have 3/4 of mile at full pace in the tank... the big thing i'm learning from everyones really great posts is that the more miles the better, clock them up and they will stand to you!

    I'm completely buzzing after tonights time haha so i'm up tomorrow morning at 6am for a 5m run

  • Woke up this morning and it was like plant of the apes outside... fog everywhere so decided to turn over!

    got a nice 7 mile run in this evening, 1m slow warm up... 5m medium pace and 1m slow cool down

    was going quite slow on the 5m into the first two miles so decided to push on slightly for the last 3, managed to get it done in 37mins, was really happy with the last mile, good strong finish which is something i'm going to try and work on for the last mile of each run from now on

    going to get a long run in tomorrow of between 9 & 10m ....

  • Good speed session last night, managed to get 5 miles in at 34:37

     Have a nice slow 5m tonight, with a slow 7m and slow 11m for the two nights after!

     Had porridge yesterday morning and today again, had forgot how nice it is!

  • Hey All,

     Another good speed session under the belt last night, managed to get the 5 miles done in 33.58... i wont get for my 7 miles tonight but will be up for a run in the morning, bit of a hectic week this week...

     Also as an aside, i wondered if any other runners was having difficulty with under armour, i've only recently started wearing it during my runs and i'm not sure if it takes a little time to get used to but i've felt over the last few runs slightly restricted and is if it's tightening arm muscles and tiring them out quite quickly... interested to hear any other opinions? i'm probably just being completely barking mad haha!

  • Boysie - Interestingly I have had issues with under armour but unfortunately my arms are like twiglets. I find it rides up my stomach when I'm running. image

    Sounds like your training is on track. I've recently gone under 40 myself and found mile intervals worked a treat along with what appears to be similar stuff to you. I'm reading loads of books at the moment on Bannister's 4 min mile, Gebrsellassie and Emil Zatopek and although there is Science it does come down to consistency of hard work.

    Stick with it matey and I shall toast your victory soon!

  • Hi Boysie...... The only problem I can see you having is "The Great Ireland 10Km Run" sounds like it could be a big field...... You could lose a few minutes dodging others. Have you thought about looking for a smaler 10km a couple of weeks earler, sounds like your already for one...

    Whatever you do all the best mate.......... 

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