What pace should I aim at for easy/slow/tempo runs


Im what you might call a self-taught runner.   Ive got down to 42 min for a 10k, simply by doing lots of 10k ish distances, on road or treadmill.     Im now struggling to make further improvements.

If I was targetting say 40 min for 10k,  what speed/pace should I be aiming for when doing tempo, easy, slow runs etc?  Ive never really followed a training plan before , and every plan Ive been reading seems to revolve around these different speeds.

Thanks very much.



  • Ooooh. For a 40min 10K it'd be good to see you building up to a weekly long slow run at an easy pace of perhaps 8:00 pace per mile over 12 miles. Conversational pace....

    I'd imagine a tempo run would build up to 5 miles at say 6:40-6:45 pace.

    But I'm a great believer in lower distance race pace time trials. When I cracked 40 mins for 10k, the real bread and butter of the training was working up to running 4 miles at race pace (6:24 per mile). Adrenaline of race day should push the extra 2.2 miles out of you.

  • Jamie 147, it's flawed logic to just pick a time you want to run, and then work out time slots for those. That'd make you work outside of your current fitness, and risk injury and pushig too hard.

    Instead, google the McMillan race calculator. Whack your current exact pb in, and it'll calculate what time slots for the different zones.

    It's a little fast on the easy pace, but is a decen guide.

  • who's McMillan anyway?

    41:20 10k runner, according to Daniels running formula says around 8:14 easy pace, 6:50 tempo, 93secs per 400m for intervals.

  • Hi Jamie,

             I've been on a similar path to you and I also wish to record an official 10k under 40 mins as my only recorded time so far is 41.46.  I've taken a slightly different approach to this, though.  I've scaled up my miles per week from 15/20 mpw to now 40-45, creeping up to 50+ into the new year.  I'm training for a HM then a marathon and i'm assuming that if I do a 10k next summer time, all the extra training will deliver the result i'm after.

               Have you got a heart rate monitor?  The best way to run your slow races and your tempo runs is to monitor your pace with a HRM to ensure that you're training in the correct zones for your current fitness.

  • Well I don't think using an HRM is the best way to monitor the pace of a tempo run. Each to their own, but since differences in genetics & fitness means peoples heart rate at lactate threshold varies from around 82 - 91% of maximum, 1hour race pace is more accurate. this tends to be 10k pace + 15secs/mile or HMP - 5 secs/mile.
  • Well, we all have our different approaches.

    You find your way with your HRM by a process of testing and eventually discover what HR you can sustain your tempo runs at where you aren't ruining yourself for the rest of the week's training but are running at a sufficient tilt to improve lactate threshold and give you an idea of what your current 10k pace could be.

    As you get fitter, you will obviously find that your pace improves at the same HR whereas if you stuck to your last 10k pace, it might have been 10 months since your last race and it may well be totally inappropriate to run your tempo runs at that pace now.  Not everyone runs several 10k races a year so how can that be a successful model for all?

    Anyone can get there with a bit of tweaking and a HRM so that's why i'd choose that approach as a general rule.  If you are running several 10k road races a year, you probably don't need to.

  • Based on the app "Runner's Ally" for the iphone for a current 10 km time of 42 mins (6:46/mile) your paces are:

    • easy 8:22/mile
    • tempo 6:57/mile
    • Intervals/VO2 max 6:16
    • Speed form 5:48
    • Long 8:22 - 9:27
    • Yasso 800s 3:12/800

    Having said that I prefer like SB to go by what HR I know from training records I can hold. That way I can allow for undulating terrain and other uncontrolled factors such as out of date 10 km pb.

  • Thanks all for the replies.

    Could I seek some further thoughts...

    1) if I have just the one interval session a week, what would the best size of interval be ? Or is varying it each time a good idea .. 400s 1 day , 800s another etc

    2) I've progressed to where I am primarily by basically running 10 k s as fast as I can on the treadmill. This method has undoubtedly improved my running significantly , but doesn't seem to be a policy anyone suggests. Am I best off eliminating these runs , in favour of the more commonly suggested methods , and saving my 100% efforts for organised runs ?

    3) what are yasso 800 s ?!


  • Hi Jamie,

    1) I'd vary the intervals week by week. Stops you getting stale and means that you are working at different paces.

    2) Never run a full distance/full effort time trial. Why make the effort for no reward? There must be the odd local 10K race to throw your efforts into and get an official time. Doing these max effort runs will do less for your fitness than say a 5 mile threshold run and are more likely to lead to injury/fatigue/overtrained syndrome. The old rule of thumb is for every mile raced you should avoid serious training for the same corresponding number of days. If you are doing 10K maximum effort time trials weekly (or several times weekly!) you are an accident waiting to happen image

    When you are a newcomer to running, remember even ridiculous training will appear to give terrific gains initially. These gains don't continue for long.....


    3) Yasso 800s are a discovery by a guy called Bart Yasso who stumbled upon a strange correlation between the pace at which you can do a set number of 800m reps and the corresponding pace that you could also run a marathon. I've forgot the full details but basically if your 800m average over something like 10 reps is say 2:47 then you are in 2 hour 47 min marathon shape. Put simply, they're not worth worrying about in your case just yet.

  • You can also buy a Yasso clock. 

    The hands don't move but twice a day it shows the correct time.

  • macemace ✭✭✭
    Moraghan wrote (see)

    You can also buy a Yasso clock. 

    The hands don't move but twice a day it shows the correct time.


  • As it happens there is an interview with Bart Yasso on the latest edition of the podcast Trail Runner Nation http://trailrunnernation.com/podcasts/
  • Hi Jamie,

    I agree with Stevie G- Mcmillan running calculator (either on website (mcmillanrunning.com or as an app) is great for times. the best biit is it tells you the optimum paces for all the different types of sessions according to your goal time

Sign In or Register to comment.