Can I run 10k in 40 minutes with this training schedule?

Hi guys,

Last week I started started training for the above and was just wondering if anyone could give me any feedback as to whether this is adequate volume to achieve a 40 minute 10k.

As a bit of background, I ran cross-country for Wales up to the age of 18, but never did any specific training for it as I was primarily a swimmer (hence I am slightly clueless about the training volume). I am now 26, and haven't particularly done much training over the last 8 years other than playing 5-a-side football and the occasional cardio session in the gym.

My planned training schedule (and I have stuck to it for a week and a half at least!) is as follows :

Monday - 5-a-side (2 games totalling 1hr 20 minutes)

Tuesday - Hard Run (5.6 Kilometres, Week 1 27:39, Week 2 26:35) Approx 7:37/Mile

Wednesday - Recovery Run (7 Kilometres, Week 1 37:50) - Very Easy Pace With a Friend Who Has Just Started Running Approx Approx 8:39 Mile 

Thursday - 5-a-side (1 game 40 minutes)

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Interval (Week 1, 2.5k Warm Up, 8 X 400 Metres (Averaging 1:25, 2 Minutes Rest), 2.5k Warm Down)

Sunday - Long Run (9 Kilometres, Week 1 46:32)  Approx 8:28/Mile

I appreciate that the long run should be longer than 9k, but as this was Week 1 I thought I would start gently and increase it.

Also, I will try and reduce the rest and increase the interval distance as the weeks go along.

Regarding the Wednesday run, I am unsure really what I should be doing in terms of distance and pace, any suggesions welcome.

The only guide I have in terms of race time is that I ran a 5k in 20:37 around 3 years ago with reasonable minimal training.

So to summarise, Is this the kind of schedule that will achieve my goal? And, if not, do I need to add distance, more race pace running, fartlek etc?






  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    im no expert although i come from a similar background and had been away from structured running for 20yrs until last october (although i played hockey iin those 20yrs)

    Firstly i would ignore the football as counting towards your goal.  Sure it will help, but you are only likely to over value its benefit and will get found out during a race.

    I do think you need to up your mileage if i added correctly you are at 20m pw, which is a good starting point but will need to be gently increased, perhaps upto 30m.

    your quality run on saturday is definately on target to hit 40mins.  But you will need to gently up your long run.    But i would say the basic building blocks are there and you will need to get a little faster with the training but that will come over the weeks.  40m should be possible, good luck

  • If you enjoy your football keep that in and treat it as a recovery day... it'll keep you in good shape and will be a nice distraction from running.

    However you need to increase your mileage and make your training more specific to 10K running.
    1) The more easy 12k+ runs you can do the better, get comfortable running over distance, doesn't have to be fast but keep controlled and learn to run at a consistent pace. That being said be sensible, one or two a week will do.
    2) Do intervals such as 5-6*1k at sub 10k pace, seen tonnes of athletes run sub 32 off of km reps.
    3) Do a tempo run weekly (parkrun's are good), get used to running at sub 10k pace for 3-5 miles, you'll be amazed what you can maintain in a race when it comes to it!

    Good luck
  • Thanks for the advice guys.

    I think the point about the increase in mileage is valid and I'm trying to build it gradually as I had never really ran for longer than 50 minutes before. I got up to 10k last Sunday in around 51 minutes which felt quite comfortable. I think I will try and get this up to around 12-13k and try and do something like 9-10k on a wednesday with a few quicker kms thrown in.

    Intervals have been pretty good so far i think, having done 3 x 1k in week one (3:43, 3:47, 3:57) and 4 x 1k in week two (3:50, 3:49, 3:55, 3:50) all with 2 minutes rest.

    In terms of a tempo run, do you think that it's more beneficial to run pretty much flat out for 6k like I have been doing or just running as far as I can at 4min/km pace (which would probably be only around 4k at the moment)?


  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Iwan, I agree about increasing the overall volume and I'd be careful doing too much quality on top of 5-a-side as well.  Get your long run and a mid-week run up in volume gradually as you're planning.  I'd try to get closer to 15k for a long run, 10-12k in the week, ~8:30/mile is pretty sensible.  Bearing in mind your background you're still relatively new (this time round!) to running, so the easy miles will build up your running muscle/tendon strength as well as improving aerobic/endurance fitness.

    W.r.t. tempo runs, I think it's best to run according to effort level rather than target pace.  A classic tempo run is designed to increase your lactate threshold; for a 40 mins 10k you'll be working at a little higher than LT so pushing up LT will help you sustain a hard pace for longer.  A hard continuous 6k will be good.  What you could do is alternate a continuous tempo run with some "tempo intervals" at target pace, e.g. 3 x 2k @ 4:00/k.  If you can build this up to 3 x 2 miles @ target pace, (from experience) I'd say you're there. 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    ... sorry, meant to add - check out the McMillan Running Calculator which gives all sorts of information about race time predictors but also paces for suggested work-outs based on different race times.  If you plug in 40 mins 10k, it may reassure you that you're not far off with your training, e.g. it suggests tempo run pace of 4:03 - 4:14/k, and km intervals @ 3:46 - 3:55.  (My suggested interpretation of this is that if you're already a 40 mins 10k runner, 3:46 is about the fastest you need to be running km intervals, rather than you needing to hit this pace before you can break 40 mins, if you see what I mean!)

    One proviso - amongst other people I think his suggestion for easy run pace is a little aggressive (7:40 - 8:10/m)  I think 8:00 - 8:30/m is about right.

  • I did a 12 x 400 session last night where my target rep time was 85 seconds and 75s rest (first 400's session I have done).

    The reps came out slightly erratically to say the least at: 79,76,76,81,89,89,85,83,85,85,83,80 !!

    Just a couple of questions regarding this session for anyone with more experince than me (which would probably be most of you):

    Firstly, bearing in mind that I think I am now in borderline 40:00 10k shape after 3 months of traning, is this session around the right intensity?

    Secondly, since I started out ridiculously fast, was there any point carrying on after rep 4? I assume that even 85's would have been more beneficial than the above, despite the 82.5's average.

    Thanks for any feedback in advance.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    It's a good session if you're mixing it up with longer interval/tempo interval sessions as well, which will get you working more specifically to your target pace. You've got the right idea with the rests, i.e. relatively short so you're getting more fatigued throughout the session, which improves the speed endurance you need for 10k but also forces you to work on more even pacing during the reps. 

    And there was every point in carrying on!  Your spread of 76 - 89 is way too big, so the more practise you get at even pacing, the better.  I can pace a 400 rep within a second or two these days but I still tend to check on pace at the 200m point.  Especially on the earlier reps, your breathing is nowhere near "up to speed" and it's all too easy to hit a pace which you will never be able to maintain, so the sooner you rein it in the better.

  • Thanks Phil, the advice is much appreciated.

    Don't really know what was going on with those first 3 reps, and I was really feeling that reps 2 and 3 were lower effort than 1, then I just hit the wall on 5!

    Yes I think I've got a reasonable mix, with a 4-6mile ish tempo run/mile intervals, 10-12 mile long run and a few other easier runs thrown in. Starting to get back into it now, and have even ditched the Monday 5-a-side games!



  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Iwan Jones 4 wrote (see)

    and have even ditched the Monday 5-a-side games!



    That's the spirit!  image

  • I was just wondering what the opinion would be on doing a 5k parkrun this saturday, before my main priority 10k which is next Sunday?

    Alternatively I would just do a relatively easy 8 x 400m or 4 x 800m session.

    I doubt too much of a taper is required for a 10k, considering my mileage is only around 35 miles a week?

    Any input appreciated as always.


  • The old rule says that for every mile raced don't do anything serious for the next same number of days.

    So I suppose there is nothing wrong with a 5K park run a week before, but it'll probably be your last quality session before the 10K.

    To be honest though, I'd have a go at running it at your predicted 10K pace (6:24 per mile) and see how comfortable you find it. If the pace seems a breeze for 5K, perhaps you could be well inside 40 mins for next Sunday's 10K.

    35 miles a week sounds about right for sub 40. I often only take the day before off from running and ensure that there are no real quality sessions three days before. Best of luck......

  • Thanks Jamie,

    Yeah I was thinking probably just keep it easy for the last week then and maybe do about 25ish miles.

    I doubt I will be able to run and keep to a tempo, I'll have to race it once I'm there! I did 19:35 at the beginning of August but I've got some good training in since so I'm hoping I'll be around 19:20ish, which should get me close to 40 next Sunday....

    Then I can start heading towards 40-50 miles a week hopefully for a November half


  • Interesting thread, title caught my eye as I have 10k PB of 40:51, albeit that I'm significantly older ... If I can get under 40:00 I'll be incredibly happy.

    Just skimmed the thread so far, but will come back and read the detail. Good luck Iwan. I'm tempted to put out a friendly challenge and say "let's see who can get the time first", but I'm pretty it'll be you, my existing PB is about 6 years old already image

  • Cicero, sounds like we're around the same level then, good to have some competition!

    If I dont do it next Sunday, it should give you plenty of time to have a crack at it as I'm not sure when my next 10k will be. You got any races planned?

    I'm just enjoying being back running to be honest. I ran XC and track to a decent level when younger so I thought this would be a breeze when I started back in April. I certainly have a new found respect for how much training is needed when your getting on a bit!

  • Getting on a bit?! At 26!! ha ha

    I'm only 33 but, I'd be pretty chuffed to have my late 20s again to train with image

    I think there is a good chance you'll get inside 40 mins if you pace yourself well. Too fast a start could ruin your chances.

    Best of luck

  • Managed a 19:06 this morning according to my Garmin (19.10 officially as was quite far back) which I was very pleased with.

    3.46, 3.48, 3.50, 3.53, 3.49 so pretty textbook splits as well!
  • Well, managed 39:49 for the Cardiff 10k yesterday.

    Pretty pleased with that of 5 months of training and I've now got the running bug back so hopefully plenty more to come.

    Cheers for the training tips guys.

  • image Congrats on achieving your goal! Well done. image

  • Iwan, well done on achieving your goals already!!

    I've got 10k races scheduled for 30 Sept and 10 Nov. The first will be a "sighter" - hoping to run under 42, hopefully close to 41. The second is the big PB attempt. So sub current PB 40:51 and hopefully sub 40.

    In the meantime I'm running parkruns pretty regularly and hoping to get close to and below 20 mins soon.

  • Thanks Cicero.

    If you get a good block of training in by the 10th November I would think you will have a decent chance. I wouldn't bother doing any sort of taper for the one on 30th September.

    The key for me I think was a 4-5 mile tempo run at around 6:50/mile pace every week (sometimes mile intervals slightly faster) and just getting a consistent block of training in without niggles for the final 8 weeks etc.

    I found the parkruns quite useful as well just as a guide to whether the training was working or not. I'd say 19:20 - 19:30 is a must for 5k to crack 40 for the 10k.

    Good luck with it and keep posting your progress here

  • Thanks for yoru encouragement image

    Absolutely re no taper for 30 September.

    Training paces for me are 5:15/km easy, 4:30/km tempo and 3:30/km speedwork. I'm happy with those but curious how they compare with yours?

    So far I've done loads of easy and easy long runs, treated my parkruns as slightly fast tempo runs and erm ... not really done any speedwork yet. But that's all about to change. I've been deliberately breaking myself in gently as I'm nursing a long standing sciatica problem - don't want to set it off with anything to extreme without building my general stamina and core strength first. Being older generally means I need to be more cautious than you too!

  • Iwan, just read your post properly and seen your tempo runs @6:50/mile which equates to 4:15/km so a little faster than mine. Which is kind of what I'd expect since you achieved the goal with relative ease ... I'm going to be dipping in by a second or two I think and even then it's more touch and go than, with hindsight, yours ever was image

    What about your speedwork and easy run pace? 

  • The tempo run at that pace was tough but got more manageable, it's definitely the most mentally challenging workout.

    My easy runs are usually between 5 and 5.30/km so pretty similar to yours. However, my intervals are nowhere near 3.30/km. My main workouts were 6x800 or 5x1,000 with 90 second jogs, the 800's at around 2.57's and the 1,000's at 3.45.

    I'd definitely say the tempo is key even if it is slightly slower than mine, but must be at least 4 miles.
  • Did a tempo yesterday : 2k easy, 4k at 4:30 and then 1k easy warm down. Felt good, but as you say tempo distance has to increase.

    1000's at 3:45/km is not so different from my 3:30/km pace. But I wasnt' thinking of actually running a whole km interval image Just an indicator of pace. Probably 400m initially working up to 800m with 2 minute recovery jogs. I take it 2:57 is your 800m time, not the per km pace? (Having checked, 2:57 for 800m is equivalent to 3:41/km again not so different.)

    We'll see how my interval efforts go once they start.

  • The 3.30 sounds ok for 400's I'd say. The 800's and 1,000's at that pace are pretty tough and I started off by taking 2 minute static recoveries and lowering gradually.

    I'd also say that there are quite a few good interval workouts/ variations on the tempo runs to take on board if you look at other threads on the forum. Just don't want you to take my advice as gospel!!
  • Don't worry - I'm not. Just good to share.

    I am definitely reading around elsewhere.

  • Hi,

    I've been lurking on this thread for a while, but thought I'd join in.

    My 5k PB is 19:29, and my 10k PB is 40:40. I'm aiming to have a crack at sub 40 at the end of September (29th).

    My current training is focussed on 40+ miles a week with two quality sessions, one being a tempo run @ around 06:45/mile, and the other being intervals (1k upto 1mile) @ either my 5k pace or my 10k pace. I've just started doing all my other runs with a HRM, and am trying to make them pure easy aerobic runs, so below 70% maxHR...

    Iwan - what's your next target?
  • Hi YP, I'm a bit of a lurker on other threads as well and I've seen your posts on the middle ground I think?

    We are quite closely matched it looks like! I think you stand a good chance in your next race with temp runs at that pace. I think I'm quite lucky in Cardiff to have a very quick park run and 10k course right on my door step and that could well be the difference in our pb's.

    My next race is the Conwy half marathon on the 18th November and I'm aiming for a sub 1:28 there. Just trying to ramp up the mileage into the mid 40's/ week at the moment.
  • Hi Iwan

    Sounds like we are similarly matched, and you're right that I do post on the MG thread... You should de-lurk and join in!

    Interestingly, I'm doing Gosport on the 18th November, and my aim is sub 1:30 for that...

  • [Note to self - fnd the Middle Ground thread ... Found.]

    [Note to YP and Iwan. My only successful HM to date was 1:38 in March 2010. Second HM in June 2010 my knees broke down (ITB) and that started my long break from running. Intense sciatica 2011. Started running again late this February. And here we are ...]

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