Sub 40min 10k

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18/10/2013 at 13:47

About six months ago I rediscovered running after a break of 20 years having run at county standard in my teens.  On average I've been going out for just one slow/steady run of 4-6 miles a week but recently increased that to around 7-9 miles a couple of times and added a treadmill sesssion of around 5K fast or 3x1 mile fast repeats.  10k races times have been 47:33 (May), 46:09 (July) and 44:47 (October).  I'd like to work towards a sub 40min 10k.  I realise I'll have to increase the training but want to know if it's realistic to expect to achieve my aim off the back of three sessions a week.  I am thinking of retaining the long run and treadmil session but not sure what other session would be best.  Perhaps a tempo run of about 5 miles?  Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome.

Edited: 18/10/2013 at 13:55
18/10/2013 at 16:20

The harder you work and the better you train then the faster you will go. By upping the mileage and the quality you will run faster. Quite possible to run sub 40 off three runs a week but your schedule does seem a bit weak. I'd probably bet against it unless you up your game a bit.

18/10/2013 at 17:00

Thanks.  No pain no gain!  I'm hoping I've pitched the weekly long run about right. For the speed session, I'm currently able to run 3 x 1 mile repeats at 6:25 per mile on the treadmill with about 2 mins jog recovery. Just need to cut out the recovery and string 6 together! Can anyone point me in the right direction in terms of the weekly mileage and sessions I should perhaps aim to do, if I go for three sessions a week.

cougie    pirate
18/10/2013 at 17:08
That's a good start - but you need to be able to do the speedwork faster than your race pace. As the weeks go on I'd look to increase the speed by 0.1mph or so every time you do it and work your way up to being able to do 6 of them.
18/10/2013 at 18:39

CM, by trying to do speedwork off such tiny mileage you're massively limiting your potential.

Why not lower the intensity, build in more mileage, then re-add the faster stuff when you have some kind of base?

Much much easier that way.

18/10/2013 at 18:46

Hi CM I'd back up what Stevie has said. Also try to add in a tempo run - start at 2 miles at around 6.30-6.50 pace and build up to 4.5-5 miles in length over time. I went sub 40 for the first time this year and the tempo runs really helped

20/10/2013 at 16:16

Thanks to everyone for the advice.  I will aim to build the mileage over the next three months or so as Stevie G and LSH suggest.  It makes sense.  Any thoughts on what total weekly mileage I should aim for off three sessions a week?  I was thinking maybe 20 miles a week - perhaps two easy runs, 9 miles and 6 miles and then the tempo run/faster session on the treadmill of 5 miles?  If that's insufficient then perhaps the three sessions won't be enough!

22/10/2013 at 15:23

off 20miles a week it's tricky to get much substantial quality in....

ideal position is to have 1 long run a week, 1 tempo and 1 speed session, supported with as much easy work as possible.

In your position, i'd try and get the mileage up with easy work for now, and then add harder sessions in later. Otherwise you're massively limiting your development.

23/10/2013 at 15:36

Thanks for the further advice.  I am going to try to get the mileage up over the winter and see how things go from there.  Will report back in due course for the benefit of anyone else who may be in the same position.

25/10/2013 at 20:01


I regularly ran sub-40mins 10k as a V45 off only 20 miles a week training, 3 times a week, very similar to your schedule.

The trick was running each session at very close to race pace, no easy work, no tempo, no fartlek. This is possible because running only 3 times a week you have at least a day's recovery between each run.

25/10/2013 at 20:07

No aerobic work? Interesting -as tends to go against the grain of all established training norms. What did you get your 10k down to? 

25/10/2013 at 20:08

ID, you should probably confirm what you did in the years before/your background  before you adopted that strategy...

26/10/2013 at 19:06

DT19 - got 10k down to 38 and a bit as a V45.

Stevie G. - been running since age 21 using same training as described, basically because I didn't know about anything more sophisticated. As it seemed to work for me, and I enjoyed running each training session as if it were a race (trying to better my time etc.) I just kept going with it - and still do now aged 52.

26/10/2013 at 19:29

what time did you peak at?

26/10/2013 at 20:02

And yet Power of 10 has no record of an Ian Dodds.........Sniff, sniff. what can I smell?

26/10/2013 at 20:44

Perhaps he doesn't race and the PB's quoted are in training??

26/10/2013 at 20:56
26/10/2013 at 21:17

Interesting post, and one that is close to my heart as I'm hoping to tick under 40 mins for a 10K at some point in the next 12 months. I ran 40:06 earlier this year.

For me, it seems unreasonable to be able to do it off 3 sessions. I currently do 1-2 quality sessions a week, plus 2-3 steady sessions as well as gym work/boot camp and cross training.

I average at 100 miles a month, have a 5K PB of 18:59 and a Magic Mile of 5:21.

26/10/2013 at 21:42

OK so there is an ian Dodds but based on what he has said that can't be him. 

Anthony- 25 miles a week though over 5 sessions is probably whast a lot would do comfortably over three. My long run and tempo alone normally come in between 20-25. 

26/10/2013 at 21:47

I think it will be very difficult to be sub 40 on 3 days a week , I ran 41 mins in July this year being 45 mins last year on the same hilly course and hope to go an "easy" sub 40 next year  , im trying to get back up to 50 mile a week at the minute after a recent half last month.

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