Just done a 34 minute 10k - what should I do for a good HM, or to go faster?

Hi yesterday I had a bit of a "breakthrough" race and ran 34:12 for a 10k (which was a bit short - would have been about 34:40 if the correct distance). This is much faster than I have run before and was a pleasant surprise.

I would be grateful for any advice on what could enable me to make the next step, and in particular how I need to change my training if I want to do a decent half marathon (under 1:20, maybe a bit faster). I've put some info below, and in particular might it be the case that losing weight would probably do more good than anything else??

My training over the last few months has been based largely around two interval sessions I've started doing on Wednesdays with a bunch of decent runners (6x1k with a 200m walk/jog between each, now at ~3:15-3:20 per rep) and Fridays (2x3.3k - or just over 2 miles - with a 3 minute rest in between, now at 5:40-5:20 a mile). Apart from that per week I've been on average doing one fastish run (~6:20 pace) of 4 or 5 miles, one slow run home of 3 miles via the gym (to do weights for half an hour then the cross trainer for 20 minutes). Plus cycling 5k through traffic each way to and from work the rest of the time (which does no more than wake you up a bit). A week ago I did 10 and a half miles on a Sunday, which was my first run of over 7 miles for a few months.

Hence in total I've been doing relatively low mileage but seem to have responded very well to the speedwork. When I was triathlon then marathon training I did a lot more overall training volume including steady cycling and running but wasn't as fast over 5-10k as I am now, which is slightly puzzling. The 10k yesterday felt hard although my average HR was only 168 (it has been higher than that for a marathon before) and I ran fairly even paced with a short sprint at the end.

As background I'm 34 and have always been a naturally reasonable but not spectacular runner - I tended until the last couple of years just to enter and train (rather unscientifically) for one race of some description a year, and usually would run the equivalent of about a 38 minute 10k adjusted for distance. I'm 6'3 and a bit over 13 stone, or 84kg in metric. I don't have a broad frame but am quite naturally strong and my current weight is as low as it's been since I was 21.

In 2010 and 2011 I did triathlon training and reached a decent standard - 3 olympic distance between 2:19 and 2:21 and a half ironman in 4:45 (would have been a bit over 5 hours if the course was the right length). On the back of the triathlon training last year I set a few running pbs (2 miles in 10:55, 5k in 17:42 and a marathon in 2:57). I have done 1:24 in the half marathon and can also sprint reasonably fast.




  • Half marathon and 10k are similar. As long as you run for 90 mins once a fortnight then the distance will not be an issue.

    Concentrate on speed. 

  • To be honest I don't think you will have any problems breaking 1:20 - I never broke 35 minute (35:04) but had a half marathon PB of 75:05 in Nottingham -

  • My PB's are 34:32 for 10k and 76:06 for HM so about the same as you.  I would suggest a longish (40min) tempo run at 10M-HM pace once a week, looking at your schedule probably on a monday and increasing the length of the long run, I like to run long so for HM I tend to peak at 18M, this is a bit far but would always be tempted to go over distance so 15M should be enough.

    Your 5km needs some attention too, give it is slower than you split the 10k, so you could use this as some warm-up races as part of the schedule.

    Good luck and have fun

  • RicF, Grendel - cheers that's reassuring on the HM. I may not be able to go quite as fast as grendel I suspect as I definitely have to throttle back to keep going for longer distances. defijitely agree on the fast stuff and am really finding that the short intense bursts where there's someone just a little bit faster than you to chase has made a big difference

    Choisty - thanks I should definitely do some longer stuff and can maybe mix up a 15 miler every other week with a faster 10 the alternate weekend - I know some people who do a 20kish run on Sunday morning la that starts steady (6:45-7 min pace) then speeds up from halfway. Would be good in principle but hangovers have tended to intrude on that option... I'm slightly reluctant to do anything too long at the moment as I found the endurance training last year for the marathon etc. to be a lot more mentally and physically draining. I almost look forward to intervals but have to psych myself up for long runs. And yes I'll take the chance to do a 5k as well if I get chance - my only other race this year was a relay leg of about 5k six weeks ago but not a fast time course.

    Also interested none of you commented on losing weight. I've been thinking losing a few pounds to be around 80-81kg (12st 10-12) should be a way of getting an extra minute or too without becoming too skinny.
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