Tips for 40 minute 10k

It's driving me nuts. My time for a 5k are between 19 mins and 19mins 30, however my fastest 10k is 42 minutes. Can anyone suggest a workout that may help? I run 4 times per week:

1x 10k (5k at max pace + 5k of speedwork)

1x 8k of longer intervals e.g 800m

1x long run of between 16k - 21k

1x 7k of hill reps.

Any help will be much appreciated.



  • I think you need more distance. Get used to running over the distance and you won't fade. I know I smashed it off the back of marathon training.
  • Mark

    I'm a 19:38 5k runner, and my 10k time is 41:40, so I will be very interested in what others say.

    Have you thought about doing more mileage, and trying to increase your endurance? I run 5 times a week, and since January I've been averaging between 40-45 miles a week, with only 1 quality session a week (either a tempo run, or 800-1200m intervals)....
  • Mark – more miles, miles, miles and keep them mostly slow or easy with one quality session per week. You are doing too much quality at the moment and not enough easy mileage. Easy pace should be 8:30 per mile at the top end, 9:00 per mile might be more like the pace you need.
    As you struggle to convert your 5k speed up, forget intervals and do a weekly tempo run to help your speed endurance. Mix up the tempo run, one week do a longer run at marathon pace with a shorter tempo run at somewhere between threshold – half Marathon pace.
    For you that range will be something like 7:10 per mile for marathon pace and 6:35 to 6:45 per mile for threshold to half marathon pace.
    Do a set or two of strides through the week to keep in touch with speed without taking anything out of you. 

  • Those paces were off the top of my head, check out Mcmillan pace calculator for the correct paces.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Mark, are you severely hampered by time or something?

    You're basically doing 3 quality sessions and a long run, which in your situation becomes semi quality.

    It's the equivalent of trying to put the decorations on your house without building any foundations!

    Put simply you don't have the base to back up the sharp stuff, and doing sessions like 5k flat out, combined then with 5k extra of speedwork, can only see you plateau!

    I'd have a massive rethink, and work to a 3month or so plan, to build a base. Get the mileage progressively up from it's current 25 or so miles a week, up to 35-40, safely doing this by dropping the fast work.

    Once you can handle that mileage, then add a speed session back in, making sure it's calculated to your current fitness.

    I'd say that'd comfortably get you sub 40.

    Not sure you'd ever really need to do more than 2 quality sessions a week, otherwise the recovery starts to become a problem, especially if you're doing big miles.

  • Yes I agree. Where are all your easy runs? Your "im going for a run back in a hour" runs. Your "put the washing in get back before it finishes" runs?

    70-90% of your weekly runs should be just runs. Do stamina, speed, and hill work only once a week and only one type, and long runs every other week.Yes you heard right EVERY OTHER WEEK. Those long runs should be at least half your weekly milage, and never more than 20 miles. Your also basically knakering yourself over 4 days, spread it out over 5.

    I got a sub  40 min in 10k in April. I got it on my first go. It was a windy, undulating course not fast at all ( the winner came in at 35minutes I got in at 39:21 ) but it was all those miles I had put in that got me the time i wanted. Hours of running just running within paces that improve my conditioning but which I can do forever, over any hill, slope,, grass trail, that took my fancy, in the rain in the wind in the snow.

    Use that Macmillian calculator it gets me my times.

    Good luck

  • If you only run 4 times a week than you can only fit one quality session a week, maybe two at a push, by quality i mean intervals,reps,hill reps,tempo and long runs. all the rest is just easy runs to recover and to reach weekly mileage. You long run should be 25-30% of weekly mileage, intervals at no more than 8%,reps/hill reps at 6%, tempo run of 20-45mins or 3-6miles or 10% of weekly mileage depending an what you want to achive.Going back to how many times you should run well try and run 5 times a week and include two quality runs with one should be a tempo/cruise tempo run. long run is not the main workout for a 10k runner, maybe for a Half marathon or marathon but not a 10k,

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Stephen, i don't think it's at all wise to suggest a long run should be "at least half" of the weekly total, especially as we're advocating an increase of mileage to 30-40miles a week.

    How would is week look? Surely you can see this looks horrendously unbalanced?

     2 x 6miles
    1x5miles speedwork
    Long run 15-20

    Instead, i'd check this thread out for some general good practice for each distance

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    imageWhat YD and Stevie G said!

  • Thanks for all the advice guys. Let me run this new weekly training schedule by you.

    Tuesdays - 1 hour / 13k tempo run @ 4.46 slow to 4.00 fast in the middle (How far should the quick bit be?)

    Wednesdays - Recovery run @ 5.23 for 10k

    Thursdays - Easy run - 13k - 15k @ 4.46

    Saturdays - Long Run - 21k @ 4.46

    Sundays - Recovery run 10k

    Every other week replace tempo with speed intervals @ sub 5k pace?

    This is roughly 60 - 70km per week / roughly 42 miles.

    Please let me know your thoughts.


  • I would slow down the easy and long runs.McMillan IMHO gives paces a tad too fast for these.

    Tempo Runs: A quick look at Mcmillan Calculator based on a 40min 10k gives a Lactate Threshold pace of around 4:08 - this should be 20-40 mins worth (start at 20 and build up). I like the 10 mile Marathon pace run (4:27). Or you could play with tempo intervals, building up to 5x1 mile at 10k pace with 1 in recovery.

  • Mark

    That schedule looks better to me. I'm at a similar level to you, and below is a typical week for me, plus my training paces:

    Monday - rest

    Tuesday - 9m incl 5m tempo

    Wednesday - 5-6m recovery run

    Thursday - 10m general aerobic run

    Friday - 4-5 m recovery run

    Saturday - rest

    Sunday - Long run (say 15-16 miles)


    Recovery - 8:49-9:19/mile (5:29-5:47/km)

    General aerobic - 8:13-8:56/mile (5:08-5:36/km)

    Long/easy - 7:49-8:49/mile (4:51-5:29/km)

    Steady - 6:56-7:08/mile (4:19-4:27/km)

    Tempo pace - 6:39-6:56/mile (4:08-4:19 per km)
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    This thread should be renamed the Middle Ground Thread Forumites Advice Clinic!

    I had a right shock when i saw that 10k at 5.23 pace and called a recovery pace!

    Then my monkey little brain worked out you deal in km.

    Why do you deal in km by the way?

  • Mark,

    I put up a similar thread a year or so ago. I was at 41:19 and thought it would be a lifetime acheivement to go sub 40. I'm now 38:05 and want more image. If I could offer any advice it would be to trust consistency. Keep doing what you're being told here day in day out and IT WILL COME!

  • Hello,

    I've always workes in kph. I have real difficulty converting to miles. Started the new regime today and avoided the speedwork. I really don't have much experience of tempo run but think I didit today. I ran 11k total. The first 4k at 12.5 - 13.5kph, next 3k at 15kph then eased right back to 12.5kph again and upped 4he pace again on the last kilometer. This is this is the only quality session I plan on this week and go for mileage. Please reassure image 

    Cheers again guys.

  • I broke 40 mins off the back of my Marathon training. Did 38 15 at Shinfield the week after doing the mk marathon. My previous best was 40 dead.
  • So, no-one advocates Furman? I'm 2-3 weeks into a variant of the RLRF plan for a HM in Sep. No idea whether it will "work" or not yet but worth considering as an alternative approach, no? image

  • The 40 mile a week plan seems to be going well apart from the 1 or 2 weeks when work gets in the way and it drops to about 30.

    Haven't tested 10k time yet but my half marathon time are going well 1:28 on my last one. Hopefully that should equate to a sub 40 10k. I'm going for Kingston and Richmond 10k's soon and ill post the times.

    Does anyone here advicate mile reps...if so how many in one session?

    cheers for all the advice.

  • Mark

    I sometimes do mile reps, and think the number of reps (and the target pace) depend on what you're training for.

    I think I've read somewhere that the combined distance of the reps / speedwork bit of the session shouldn't be greater than the distance of the race you're training for....

    For example, if you're training for a 10k, then a session of 4-5 mile reps at 10k pace, with short recoveries (maybe 90 seconds) would be an interesting benchmark. Equally, making the reps even longer, and doing 3 * 2m at 10k pace would also be a good tough test...
  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    mark - i do mile reps.  for a 10k i aim at 4 reps starting with a big recovery at first say 3mins and over the following weeks reducing the recovery but keeping the pace and consistency the same.

  • I finally managed it! 39:17 for a 10K  image

    It was on a treadmill though. (Incline a 1%)

    Now to crack 37 mins image

    I tried mile reps but could pnly manage about 1200m before slowing. Must have been one of those days! I'll keep at it.

  • Brilliant, well done Mark!

    Been following this thread with interest, I'm running Brighton 10k in a couple of weeks and aiming to go sub 45 for the first time (current pb 46:22).

    I've had so much advice from running friends, though the majority seems to focus on the quality of sessions and so I've been doing more of these and not less as per the advice you've had here. The result is that i'm completely shattered so having to take a couple of days off to rest up meaning I miss my weekly long run tomorrow.

    I'm going to switch to more easy runs from next week - got a marathon in December which I also need to think about.

    Keep us posted on your progress!
  • Mark, well done. Hope you manage the same time on the road soon!!!

    A lot of the advice in this thread has been based on running - you should also focus on your core and posterior chain as they will be really important in giving you strength in your glutes which will drive you forward. Would really recommend kettlebell swings and plank/side plank exercises.
  • oooooooooo

    Much better result on a treadmill. 37:40 with a 1% incline.

    I've upped the milage up to 45 miles per week and included resistance training. HEAVY squats and hamstring work as well as trying to get my glutes working. Not sure how this will transfer onto a flat 10k. Any ideas?

    I might include a morning cycle to work and bac and see if this helps at all.

    My new running schedule:

    Monday - 8 miles easy 7:20 per mile

    Tuesday - 10x1200 intervals at under 6:00 per mile if I can do it!

    Wednesday - cycle ot work and run 9 miles home 7:20 per mile roughly

    Thursday - 4 x 600, 4 x 400, 4 x 200 + 10k tempo run + weights.

    Friday 7 to 8 miles easy

    Sat long run 16 miles +

    Sun rest or 3 miles very easy.

    As always, I really apreciate everyones comments or advice. It's got me this far...New target is sub 35 minutesimage 

    Cheers guys and gals

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