Will I ever get faster?

Some advice please. I am desperate to run a 10k in less than 50 mins. So far my best is 51.10, which was Dec 2001. Since then, I've done a number of other 10ks (plus the same one again) and still not beaten this.

I've been running just under 2 years, and am in a running club, do speed work, interval training, generally run about 20 odd miles a week. On top of that, I swim a couple of times a week and go to the gym to do weights a couple of times a week.

This time last year I felt sure I was going to do it, but here I am again asking myself what more I can do to improve. Should I just concentrate on running and forget the swimming pool and gym? Is my age against me (I'm 45). Can all I look forward to is not getting any slower?

Has anyone else felt the same, and got some much needed inspiration for me?

I know I should probably just forget the time and enjoy running, but I would just like to achieve this one thing!


  • Heck, I just dream of doing a 60 minute 10k! But having said that, 9 months ago I was a 15 minute miler and was overtaken by walkers!
  • From experience I would suggest that you follow a 10k programme, check out www.halhigdon.com, and dedicate more time/miles and I think you will achieve your goal.

    Good luck!
  • It can take a long time to make any improvements at all when it comes to running. You should keep on putting in the work in training. However you also need to consider your racing strategy and how you approach your races. One suggestion I could make is by monitering the results of your previous races and find an athlete that is a 49min runner and in your race endeavour to stay with them. There will be many very experienced runners running at 49min level running at an even pace but it takes time to find these people. I raced using this strategy in one race last year and ended up beating guys by by two/three minutes who only two weeks previously had beaten me in a race.
  • What about doing more racing at other distances? (Apologies if you do already, but getting bogged down with one racing goal might be helped by the distraction of racing goals at other distances).

    Eg: few 5ks to help the speed, ten miles and 1/2 marathon to make you think that 10k is easy and you can sprint it ;).
  • Laura,

    I am not an experienced runner or anything so you can probably ignore this but...

    What weights are you doing. This might be a bit controversial but if the facilities are there I would advise doing squats with free weights - with someone experienced assisting. This will pretty much ensure you have strength in your legs. Do high weights low reps - obviously high is a relative term. I think a lot of people go to the gym and lift such low weights that they are hardly increasing strength at all. If you've been doing it regularly for some time I'd ask how much your maximum lift has increased ? You might also so some bounding/hopping type exercises.
  • Thanks for all the advice so far - all suggestions will be taken on board. Popsider - In the gym I tend to do upper body weights. You have me thinking I should do my legs too. I have tended to think that the running alone is enough for them, but maybe not! I have done squats with weights before, but high reps, less weight. I shall try doing as you suggest... NB

  • I too I'm trying to get under 50mins for 10k, (and go to the gym and I'm over 40)so far my best was 52.42. I've been following the runnersworld 1/2 marathon training schedule which was in the magazine last year and even with a month off with a sprained ankle my pace has increased.
  • Maybe you are overtrained?

    To me it seems that you run 3 times a week, swim 2 times a week and lift weights 2 times a week. Training breaks your body down and rest builds it up! Put in some restdays too.

    Consider a "pulsating" training schedule were miles, intensity and method(LSD, hill running , speed work, etc) vary from week to week. Eg 2 tough weeks then 1 easy week. You may also divide your running season in "build a base"-period, "build leg strenght"-period, VO2 max-period, speed weeks and taper period. This will make it easier to peak for that important race.

    Good luck!

  • I tend to agree with Janne, I have been running for nearly 7 years and now push 40. I have found that my performance does not entirely rest upon the level of training leading up to a race, but rather the time given to rest and an easier schedule in the week preceeding a race.

    Select your race well in advance (try to make sure it's flat if you want a PB), and stick to a schedule.

    Good luck
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    If your main goal at present is to break 50 minutes then I would replace the swimming sessions with running. Even increasing your weekly average from 20 miles to 30 miles can have a major impact on your pace.

    If you do increase you mileage then do it gradually over maybe 5 or 6 weeks.

    You've only been running for 2 years so you can expect improvements for at least another 3 or 4 years, maybe longer.

    But for these improvements to happen your training must steadily intensify, either through increased mileage or harder sessions or both.

    Don't worry about your age. Being 45 means that your improvements will only last for another 3 or 4 years. A teenager can expect to improve constantly over 10 + years.

    By the way, what is the longest run you tend to do?
  • Drew - that sounds encouraging, thanks. At least I've got another few years where I can hope to improve. The longest run I tend to do is about 6 miles, unless I'm training for a half marathon or something. NB
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    For a 10k I'd personally try and do at least one run of about 10 miles every other week. A 10 mile fartlek run can be quite useful or a 6 mile tempo run with 2 miles warm up and warm down before and after.

    You've been that close to beating 50 minutes that it shouldn't take much of a change to enable you to accomplish this goal.
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