Looking for some advice. Yesterday I did my local 10k – not one of my better races: I woke up the morning before the race with a cold, and on the day I went off too fast, had to stop for a 30 second wee (!) at 5 km and was really struggling for the last 2-3 km. But I finished in 44:04. My PB (set on the same course in 2017) is 42:55. The course is relatively hilly in the middle, with a total elevation of 80-90 m.
I’m 38, male, BMI 22. I used to run more regularly in my late 20s/early 30s but in recent years I’ve tended to only run my local 10k in March and another local 5 miler in July. Typically I start training for these events 2-3 months beforehand and often stop running in between (in which time I usually cycle, so I’m rarely completely inactive). For example, this time I started running in November and did a 4 mile route once a week for 2 months, gradually improving my splits from 5:30 min/km to 4:39 min/km. From the start of January I then added a faster session (e.g. 4 km at 4:15 min/km or 3 x 200 m hill sprints with 1 km jog recovery in between). For the past 6 weeks I’ve been doing three sessions a week (combination of the 4 mile steady run and shorter fast runs, with the occasional longer run e.g. 10 or 12 km thrown in) averaging 15-20 km total per week. I did pretty much the same in 2017 when I set my 10k PB, and my times were as good/slightly better towards the end of my training this year, so I think I’m in relatively good shape. I did my first Parkrun in 21:04 the week before the 10k. This is pretty typical for me over the past 10-15 years. I do 2-3 months training and get to around 43-45 min for 10k, then I stop.
I’d now love to get under 40 min for 10k. I realise this is a big leap from 43-45 min, but considering the time it’s taken for me to get to 44 min with a maximum of 3 fairly unstructured sessions a week, it seems achievable if I commit - what do you think? The main thing I need to decide is how long I’m willing to commit for. I’ve got my eye on a flat 10k in early May, which is 9 weeks away (although the way my legs are feeling today I won’t be doing much running this week, so maybe 8 weeks training max). Does that sound like a reasonable time frame to get from 44 to sub-40 minutes, based on my progression so far? Or am I kidding myself? Any tips for the kind of training schedule I should be looking at? Most of the plans I’ve found online seem to involve 5-6 sessions per week e.g. https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/g771663/three-10k-training-plans/?slide=4
so I guess that’s the level of commitment I’ll need? Would following a training programme like that mean I shouldn’t cycle as well during that time? I typically cycle to work (25 mile round trip) 2-3 times per week in spring and summer, but could put that off for a month to focus on the running.
Sorry, that’s a lot of information/questions! But it’d be great to hear the advice of more experienced runners. Just in case I’m being naïve in my ambition.