Sub 50min 10k/Sub 1h 50 half marathon

Hi all, after doing my first marathon (VLM) last month, these are my new goals for the year! Just wondered if anyone else is around this level and would like to chat about their training and progress so we could maybe encourage each other? So far my best times are: marathon 4h 7m 39s April 2014 (was yearning for sub 4 but in the end was very pleased with this!) Half marathon 1h 52m 59s(training run Feb 2014) 10k 51m 30s (training run May 2013) My first aim is the 10k as I have the BUPA 10k in just under 3 weeks time. Today I managed 51m 59s although I think I paced it a bit wrong - too fast at the beginning uphill and struggled badly for the second half! To be honest still feeling the marathon in my legs image Then I have 3 halves planned this year , Hackney Half end of June, GNR Sept and Royal Parks early Oct. So at the moment am aiming to do one long run a week, managed 10 miles on Sat which is the longest so far after the marathon. Anyone else out there? image


  • Hi Nicole. I'm at a similar stage to you, though a bit behind. I did my first half marathon last month (1:55:37), l my training pbs are 24:54 for 5k and 54:24 for 10k. I signed up for a 10k for June 21 and I want to do another hm in October. My target is 52 minutes for the 10k, and then I'll start thinking about what I dare to dream of for the half. For now I'm going to spend my time training for.the 10k, following one of the RunHub plans. Oh and I'm vaguely planning to do a marathon in 2016.
  • Hi Dan! Well done on your half, that's a brilliant time especially for your first! It's quite an art training for all these different events, I'm finding. Up until a year ago I'd never run more than 10 k and had kind of got stuck there with just a single pace! Then I signed up for a HM and as I inched up the distance, that mental barrier had gone, but I didn't really vary my training much. It was only when I started marathon training last Dec I really started to mix things up, with the long slow run, as well as tempo pace and different kinds of interval training. Very hard but it really helped improve my pace for the marathon! I'm slightly lost now without that rigid training plan but hoping to carry on pushing myself to see what I can really do image
  • Hi Nicole, I was in a similar position to you at the start of the year. My training revolved around the paris Marathon, and as part of training for that i was able to go around the Fleet half in 1.48.35 - A more than 10 minute PB. 

    Looking at those times you should be able to break down your targets easily by the end of the year if not sooner!

    My current 10k PB (Set in December) is 51.XX, but I'm also running the Bupa London 10k and targetting sub 48.

    I attributed my improvements to 4 things.

    1. More running. I went from running 4 times a week, to 5 times a week (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday). The addition of a day gets you running more without necessarily increasing your weekly mileage. I'm now running 6 days a week or this training cycle and feel so much more comfortable at speed its unreal. 

    2. More Hills. I basically switched from doing my easy runs on the flat to doing them on more undulating/hilly courses. Increases leg power.

    3. Increased cadence/shorter stride length. I didn't believe it at first but taking a shorter stride and increasing the turnover of my feet used far less energy than my previous stride. This meant I could run a little faster and keep the momentum up for longer.

    4. Balanced training plan. I used the Bupa Intermediate Marathon Training Plan. Their plans are REALLY simple to follow, balanced easy/quality days nicely, and alternated tempo/hills/speed work brilliantly. I am now using the Bupa Advanced 10k plan for my Sub 48 (6 days a week) and will be using the Advanced HM Plan (6 days a week) to target sub 1.40 in the autumn. That said, it doesn't have to be that particular plan, but I do think it needs to incorporate all the elements including easy and rest days.

    The advantage you have is that you currently have the endurance off the back of marathon training. I've chosen to now follow a special 10k plan to increase my speed over the shorter distance and then try and carry that new speed forward into HM training for the autumn. But thats about my personal choice and priorities I guess image

  • Don't need to tell you my PB's Nicole, you can probably guess them! Did Newport Half in 1:51:01 in March and Hereford 10k in 1:52 In atrocious conditions on New Years Day. Would also like to break 1:50 and 50 mins. Also feeling a bit lost without my marathon plan. Would really like to maintain my current level of fitness. Really enjoyed being able to go out and bash out a 20 miler. Would feel I have lost something if I dont keep up the level of the last few months. Very tempted to do another marathon in the Autumn. The lure of Spain - Palma in October or Valencia in November are very tempting. Think breaking  the 4 hour barrier would give me even greater pleasure than the other two.  

  • Well done on the mara Nicole. I'm slightly the over way around compared to your targets. I had done my sub 50 10k (48) and 1.45 half and had been training and hoping for a sub 4 mara. I finished VLM this year in 4.13.

    I think with your current endurance levels and good weekly mileage from london you can definitely reach those goals soon. The key for me was good quality speed work 2x a week with long runs (up to 14) on sunday and an easy run.

  • Matty - thanks for the very detailed advice - that's really helpful! Congrats on your half marathon PB, that's a huge improvement so obviously it's worked really well for you. Good luck at BUPA 10k image

    Hi again Madrid! image If we ever do the same race maybe we should pace each other! I would dearly love to get the sub 4 too, but think I'll put in the hard work this year on the 10ks and halves and then hopefully will have a better base for marathon training for next spring. My ultimate dream is to get the sub 3h55 in 2015 then get to Boston 2016 (assuming they don't move the goalposts!) but let's see! Think I need a faster/less congested marathon than London though, am considering Manchester?

    Thanks Hannay, that's very encouraging! You are very speedy at the lower distances, to be honest I think the sub 50 10k might be my toughest challenge image

    I'm still easing back in after VLM but my current week's training was:

    Sat 10 mile run @ planned marathon pace (just under 9 min/mile)

    Mon 10k at hard pace (was aiming for 8 min/mile but only achieved this for first 5k, then I paid for it so think I was overstretching a bit)

    Tues (today) Went to running club for only 2nd time and did intervals on grass 400m track (quite bumpy and a bit hilly!). A new challenge as I only ever run on pavements/roads. 4 x 1km reps with 1 min rest between. Very tough and I must admit to hating intervals/sprints but I know this will bring me on!

    Wed If my legs feel up to it will go to running club again for a 1hr run which is very hilly!

    Will also do a core workout with some weights

    Hope you all have a good week image
  • Thanks Tim, will check this out! Sorry, didn't mean to create a duplicate thread - I did try and have a look image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    It's been very quiet there. I was concentrating on Marathons in September and April. There's some good info there though.
  • Yes, I just did my first marathon (VLM) - it pretty much took over my world for the 16 week training programme! Seems strange coming out of it now image Which marathons did you do? 2 in a year is very dedicated!

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I did New Forest Marathon in September then went sub 1:50 at Stevenage Half in November and again at Reading in March. Followed by VLM.

    Baldock Half in Feb and Greenway challenge last week were both over 1:55 but tough courses to get the pacing right due to the location of the hills.

    I think St Albans on 8th June should easily go sub 1:50 if I get my pacing right from the start.
  • Looking at your training this week it is all quite intense stuff. I think you need to do more easy mileage. No more than 2 quality sessions per week, with the rest being easy mileage. A quality session would be a tempo run, an interval session, a hill session, or a long slow run.

    As it stands so far you are doing 3 quality sessions and the long run at race pace with no easy running! It's not going to give your legs enough time to recover.

    Your weekend long run should be about 60-90 seconds per mile slower than your race pace.

    Although you have no "official" training plan at the moment, you could try not doing more than 2 quality sessions in a row. Something like this?

    Monday: Rest
    Tuesday: Quality
    Wednesday: Easy
    Thursday: Rest
    Friday: Quality
    Saturday: Easy
    Sunday: LSR


  • Thanks Matty, that's definitely great advice! The problem I have is that I really can only factor in 3-4 runs per week at the moment. I'm also trying to fit in a couple of cross training sessions, focussing on core work, legs & glutes, and upper body strength. Towards the end of mara training I was getting so exhausted I dropped all the cross training. Started again today and whilst my core & legs are strong, my arms and shoulders are quite weak. Had to drop to lower weights than I was using before and even then couldn't manage all the reps! image I should mention I do have arthritis in my knee (although managed it really well through all the mara training!) I have to be careful not to overdo the mileage and to cross train to stay strong to protect my joints.

    So I guess that's why I'm doing all quality sessions (quality over quantity?!) But if I am having 3 days off from running a week would that also give me some recovery? Or is it really important to do easy runs? I'm thinking the bare minimum would be 1 x long run, 1 x intervals, 1x tempo run a week, then anything else run easier, what do you reckon?

    The other confusion I have is over the long run pacing. I ran the 10 miles at marathon pace but as I'm now training for the half should I maybe aim for say 9m20s pace/mile (as I am hoping for 8m20 pace in the half itself)? Also would it then be OK to maybe do the first half of the long run at the slower pace then the second half at the race pace, just to get me used to it?

    Many thanks, would appreciate any advice! image
  • Thats fair enough image I'm no coach though, this is just what has worked for me image

    If it were me and I could only do 3 runs a week, I would do 1 LSR, 1 Quality, 1 Easy. If you can fit in 4 runs in a week, pop in the second quality session but only if it means you have either a rest or an easy run between them. Then just do them on a rotation according to when you can fit them in. So if you do A tempo first, then do Intervals on the next available quality session, then next time Hills.

    I think you are working your training paces based upon your target times? Thats kinda the wrong way round. You need to train within the realms of what your body can currently achieve, not what you WANT it to achieve, if that makes sense?

    I use the McMillan calculator to tell me my training zones 

    Enter your most recent race time under good conditions - So a race when you know you were on top form and the conditions were great, and then enter your target times. It will then show you your training paces to shoot for.

    Running a section of your LSR at race pace is pretty normal and a good way of simulating race conditions under fatigue. But I'd do a middle section as opposed to a start or end.

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I do an LSR, a tempo and an interval session. Anything else is just easy miles. For the marathon I was doing 7miles at marathon pace for my easy days. 4 of them a week.

    LSR 15-20 miles at 10:00/mi

    The tempo consisted of a 10mile run - 3miles warm up, 3-4miles at HMP and then 3-4miles easy/warm down.

    Intervals are 6x1000m @ 7:00/mi

    I saw some incredible results in under 4 weeks.
  • Hi Nicole, dont want to confuse you with yet another plan, but! For the marathon I used the FIRST programme. It consisted of three hard sessions a week, long run, tempo, interval and the other days rest or cross training. I just did a couple of easy slow runs to boost the mileage. I am going to use it again now for some half marathon training in an attempt to crack the 1:50. I am also having to do quite a bit of cycling as I am in the Ride London 100 in August so it fits in quite well with that. In order to get a training programme for sub 1:50 HM and sub 50 10k, you have to enter a time of 3:49 for your recent marathon time. Might be worth you looking. It was aimed just about right for me during the marathon training - pushed me hard but never beyond my limit - which is exactly what happened on the day, so it definitely worked for me.


    hope the link works, my IT skills are extremely limited.


  • Thanks all, this is so helpful! Will try to work out a plan image

    Decided to give the running club a miss tonight as my knee felt a bit twingey after squats etc this morning and 2 hard running days in a row! Based on my mara training I think that 3 runs in a row is usually a mistake for me. I need to do my long run Friday or Saturday evening this week so will maybe do an easy 10k after work tomorrow.
  • I think you made a good decision!

    A day will come when 3 runs in a row will be OK, but you have to get there slowly image

  • Hi Nicole, couldn't resist it and have entered the Hereford Half Marathon on Sunday. Not sure how much of the marathon is stiil in my legs but they feel ok. Its quite a hilly course but I'm going to give it a good go and see how close to 1:50 I can get. Did it as a training run in January in 1:59 . It will be a good test of where my fitness is now compared to the onset of marathon training. I'll let you know how I get on as it should give you quite a good guide as to where you are also!

  • Wow! Good luck Madrid, you're really keen image Hope it goes well - do post an update! Managed another 10 miler tonight, @ 8m56/mile. Felt ok except my feet a bit sore with new trainers. Have a very busy few days so that will be it now until interval training on Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Hi Nicole, knew after 3 miles today that there was still a lot of Madrid in my legs. It was very windy and it is a tough course but I am sure it was the efforts of two weeks ago that restricted me to 8:55 av pace and a finish time of 1:56:49. 

    I think to break 1:50 I am going to have to ease back, start afresh in a couple of weeks with a specific half training schedule. In the meantime I'll get on my bike!


    Take care.


  • Woop! Managed a much better paced 10k this evening and a new lifetime PB of 51m 28s. That's another 31sec off my best 10k time this year. Wonder whether I can get another 90 seconds off by BUPA 10k in 2 weeks - might be tight but would be amazing if I could image
  • Ah Madrid, just saw your post (my screen hadn't refreshed!) I think that's a brilliant time considering you've just done the marathon & what a tough course it is. If I was you I'd be encouraged - for sure you could break 1h50 when you're fully recovered and on a flatter course. Well done!! Let's go for this image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    What is the objective of running 10k at race pace?
  • The objective is to get a PB! I don't have much time to do it as after the BUPA I'll be focussing on my half times for a bit image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    You ran a race today? You ran 10miles on Friday night? You have another 10k race in two weeks?

    What am I missing?
  • Tim I am training as best as I can and am really happy with my progress. Times are coming down and I am keeping my hand in for my half which is only 6 weeks away. Is there a problem here? I was really pleased to get a PB image
  • I agree with what Tim is alluding to.

    If London is the target then you shouldn't be blasting race pace runs with 2 weeks to go to the event, and the 10 miles should have been around a minute slower per mile than they were. All it will serve to do is wear out your legs and risk injury.

    Remember you are training to race, so no need to race in training!

    On a slightly different note, I know everyone has different opinions on this but in my view a PB only occurs when the run where the results are accurately recorded in a measured race. Treadmills and GPS watches/apps aren't nearly as accurate as a measured route. I ran the Bristol 10k with my missus and my Garmin was out by 0.2 miles, which roughly equated to 1m15s!

    Thinking of things this way helped me understand that there was no need to run at a fast pace every time I lace up. Every session has a purpose, and the overall purpose of a given training cycle is to usually beat a PB or achieve a race goal time at a targetted race.

    But of course we are all different! And hope you achieve your goal in London image

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Yes, exactly. Each run has a purpose. Target half marathon and your 10k time will drop.

    Long run 15miles @9:30-10:30/mi

    Intervals at club.

    Tempo. 3miles warm up, 4 miles @ 8:15/mi, 3miles cool down.

    Job done.

    No harm in running a 'test' 10k once a month but running one every week will see you get 'stuck'. Especially as you say you can only hold the 10k pace for 5k. That's those 4miles in the tempo.
  • Thanks for the advice guys - I will definitely take it on board! However I only have 2 weeks, I'm still seeing my 10k times coming down, so figure I might as well continue for now and just go for it- not much to lose! I am having 3 rest days a week and feel that this is OK for me. Once BUPA is out the way I can do a more structured training plan. As for PBs I am happy to take them where I can find them and am feeling encouraged (by myself anyway!) which goes a long way image
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