How To Improve 10k Time?

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03/01/2013 at 22:55
Hi, I currently run 10k in 44:05, 5k PB 19:50 and 10mile PB is 82 mins. New years resolution is to run sub 40 10k (by Dec but ASAP really!) At the moment I dont really do much running - maybe 6 miles a week if that, with a race about once a month. Oh if it helps, I'm 31, 6ft and 11st 5lb I figure I probably have to put some more miles in but then hear talk of interval training and hill repeats etc etc. I'll do what ever it takes to get sub 40 but not sure what 'it' is that I need to do exactly...Are there specifi. Programmes for this sort of thing? Any advice greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance : )
04/01/2013 at 06:17

I would recommend just running more, and not worrying about stuff like intervals or hill repeats yet.

From your PB's it's clear that your endurance is an issue, as your 5k PB is much quicker than your other two longer distances, which shows you are slowing down over the longer distances.

Therefore, I would concentrate on gradually increasing the number of runs you do, and once you are upto 4 runs a week, then start to gradually increase the distance of one of the runs upto at least 8-10 miles. Almost all of these runs should be done at an easy relaxed pace...

I suspect that doing this over a period of 3-6 months (there are no quick fixes when it comes to building endurance) would get your 10k and 10m PBs down by much more than doing some intervals, etc, AND it will give you a base to carry on improving from.

The only disclaimer is that I havent yet achieved a sub-40 10k, but am hoping it will come this spring off the back of marathon training. My 5k PB is 19:29, 10k is 40:40, and my 10m is 68:24.

Good luck with it!
04/01/2013 at 11:27

Hi Rob,

You are clearly naturally fit if you can run 44 min 10ks with only 6 miles a week training. Your weight and height are right on the money and you're still young too.

I think you could have a serious go at beating 40 mins over 10K within two or three months. But mileage is the key! You don't have to run these miles fast either. Perhaps start with 20 miles a week at 7:50 pace per mile to include one weekly long run of say 10 miles.....and then increase your weekly miles by 10% each week building up to a weekly long run of 12 miles.

Reps, intervals, hills etc are great in the context of a good weekly training plan; but I don't think you've scratched the surface of your potential. You'll be surprised by how quick your race results improve on a diet of easy miles alone.


04/01/2013 at 11:46

Wow thanks guys that's really helpful. So i'll not worry about reps, hills etc yet and just up my mileage to 20 miles per week to start with and see how that works out. I do find that when I run, my legs feel fine, even after a 10mile, but it's my breathing that really starts to labour and slows me down! So more mileage should help with this.

My dad's 60 and runs a 38 min 10k so I should be able to reach that at some point I hope!

04/01/2013 at 11:46

Your times suggest that you have a poor aerobic base - the drop-off in pace at longer distances is pretty severe. Stage 1 is to do more running .... and keep the pace nice and easy (this is harder than it seems). After a couple of months you can consider bringing in one or two faster sessions. First 3 posts here will tell you how to go about it...

04/01/2013 at 11:54

6 million and one threads on this exact subject!


05/03/2013 at 13:12

Just wanted to follow up on this - thanks to all who gave me advice. I upped mileage to 15 miles per week with a few interval sessions thrown in and just got a 41.58 10k. Now to up to 20 miles per week and then...gulp... 30!

thanks again


05/03/2013 at 15:00

Well done Rob!

Don't be psyched by running 30 miles a week. See if you can blag yourself an hour and a half on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon to do a nice slow 10 miles. Try doing three miles of intervals twice a week (6x800 for example). Including warmups and cool downs that should already see you to at least 20 miles.

The remaining 10 miles you could easily make up by blagging 20-25 mins after work on three of the other free days. Or by doing two easy 5 mile runs (circa 40 mins after work on two of the remaining days. That would still leave you with 2 rest days a week......and sub 40mins over 10K would arrive in no time!! 

06/03/2013 at 10:40

Great! thanks Jamie!

12/09/2014 at 23:36
Thought I'd check in 18months later! After this thread, I increased my weekly mileage gradually to 25-30 miles per week. This includes a 70-90 min run on Sunday, at least one hill repeats session and one speed session. On two other days I run 5k as 100% and 10k easy or intervals.

Most recent PBs are:
38:42 for 10k
18:17 for 5k
30:27 for 5 mile
65 for 10m
92 for Half Mara

Next stop sub 18 5k and sub 38 10k : )
13/09/2014 at 08:36
Well done Rob. They are some great times for the mileage you are putting in.
13/09/2014 at 11:39

That's great progress ! sounds like although you do low miles nearly all those are hard miles ..hills, speed session , 5k at max, then intervals but its working !

If you added a few more miles in that half time would improve inline with the other times, you should really be not far off 85 min half id say .

17/09/2014 at 13:43

Thanks Millsy and Leslie 

I know I should do more miles but it's difficult to find the time! In an ideal world I'd be up to 40-50 miles...

I've documented every step of my training and each race on a blog for anyone who'd like further info: : )

17/09/2014 at 16:40

Just one thing, don't increase mileage too quickly, or you will pay for it at some stage.  Part of the benefit is getting the consistency of training, so you don't want to risk that by overdoing the upward curve.

Just an anecdote, but I know someone who is an FLM ever-present, did them all up to this year sub-3 hrs, runs 100km (internationally, for a period) and 24-hour races (roughly 147 miles in 24 hours, in his fifties), ran across the US coast to coast.  He never trains more than 30/40 miles a week, and never does intervals/speed.  He has almost never been injured in more than 3 decades of running.  It is the cumulative effect of all those years of uninterrupted training that has allowed him to do that. That and the fact that he doesn't seem to know the meaning of 'pain'.

18/09/2014 at 10:40

Thanks JFB, I only started running properly a couple of years ago so it'll be a while before I get that cumulative effect. I can corroborate your anecdote - My dad is 61 and only runs a few times a week but has been running for a long while. He does an 85min half, a sub 18 5k and sub 38 10k! So that long term effect must be true.

The Mentalist - I always have a couple of rest days and mix it up with swimming and cycling. My local Parkrun is Poole.

18/09/2014 at 15:46

It's a very flat Parkrun at Poole! 

Thanks and i'll try not to 

19/09/2014 at 14:06

I've nothing to add to the original discussion but just wanted to say that I did enjoy reading about someone who has posted with a specific aim and has actually come back to the thread to say what they did and how it affected their performance! Too many people seem to ask very sensible questions, get people keen to give them useful answers ...then are never heard of again! Very well done, RM6, and keep up the updates!

11/12/2014 at 12:50

Ok, almost one year on and thought I'd update! 

So almost exactly two years since my original post, I have gone from:

Jan 2013: 44:05
Dec 2014: 38:19

Jan 2013: 20:21
Dec 2014: 17:56

Haven't followed one particular schedule. Just tried to consistently run 20-25 miles per week, fitting it in when I can, with at least one 'long run' and one hills or speed session included p/w. Even turned up for a local athletics open event, as a way of doing a speed session and something a bit different, running the 200m (23.8 secs) and 400m (56 secs). 

Documented all my training from the last year at so I could keep track of it! Hope all the above helps someone 

Next targets - sub 17:30 5k and 37 10k - It never ends!!


12/12/2014 at 02:28

Running 20 miles per week in 2014 I have ran:

Park Run/5k in 17:48, HM in 1:22:30 and Marathon in 3:04:09.

I have no time for 10k but based on my recent 5k and HM times on racing calculators it would be close to 37 minutes.

In 2015 just running 30 miles per week I should be able to run:

Park Run/5k in sub 17:30, HM in sub 1:20 and marathon in sub 2:55.

12/12/2014 at 02:32

To improve 10k time, improving your 5k time would help out. Running 20 to 30 miles per week and long run between 8 to 10 miles + 1  interval sessions per week + 3 to 5 mile paced run or Park Run. Training for a HM or Marathon and running more miles can also increase your 10k time.

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