I Want to Shave 10 Minutes Off My 10k Time

by Hector
(Puerto Rico)

Hi, I am Hector from Puerto Rico. I am 22 years old. I am 5'8" tall and weigh 131 Pounds. My upper body is more muscular than my lower body, because I used to hit the gym hard on my upper body, but not so hard in my lower body.

I have been running for a year and a half, my first 10k time was 48:17, and my first 5k time was 22:20. As you see I am not a very fast runner.

My current 10k running time is 45:07, my 2 mile run time is 12:50, and my 5k time is 20:50.

I was wondering if you have an idea of how long will it take me to shave 10 minutes of my 10k (I just want an estimate).

shave 10 minutes off 10k

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about shaving time off your 10k.

Taking 10 minutes off a 10k time is a big ask.

You have already been able to take off three minutes in a short timeframe, so you definitely have the potential to get faster.
How long it will take is hard to say. Have you been training consistently and pushing yourself hard to get where you are today? If so, there is clearly less potential to shave off huge chunks of time of your 10k, than if you have been doing less work.

Let's break this down into a few parts:

1. Analysis of your race performances
2. What is needed for a 38 minute 10k
3. How long to reach your potential

Analysis of Your Race Performances

I have taken your current best times and have put them in the race conversion calculator. This gives us an indication of how well aligned your times are.

A 2 mile run time of 12:50 indicates a 5k potential time of 20:27 and a 10k potential time of 42:39.
A 5k race time of 20:50 indicates a 10k potential time of 43:26.

Why does your 2 mile run indicate a 10k potential time of 42:39, when you are running "only" 45:07? The answer is that you have more work to do in building up your endurance. You build up your endurance by doing longer easy runs. Don't feel bad about having this misalignment.

Firstly, it is very common for starting runners to have this happen. Your base takes time to develop.

Secondly, through this simple analysis we have already identified one way to take about 2.5 minutes (that's pretty big!) off your 10k.

Oh by the way, checking out your measurements and entering them into the BMI Calculator indicates a BMI of just about 20. This tells me that you are on the edge of normal weight or what is classified as underweight and that's generally a pretty good running weight to have, i.e. I don't think you have much to gain by getting much lighter. In fact, getting lighter might start interfering with your running performance.

What is Needed for a 38 Minute 10k?

When you said you wanted to take off 10 minutes of your 10k time, I have assumed we are measuring it in comparison to your starting point of 48 minutes. If that is not correct, you can still follow the logic below.

Clearly, getting to a 35 minute 10k is an even higher bar. Not that I am the benchmark, but it is not something I have been able to get to in my running. Knowing quite a few people who have been able to do so, they are almost without variation true athletes. In addition to hard work, they have had that little bit of a helping hand from Mother Nature and are blessed with good running genes.

You are still young, so you still have some good years ahead of you, so this is the time of your life to really have a crack at getting the fittest and fastest you can be!

But anyways, let's go back to the race conversion calculator and enter a 10k of 38 minutes and let's have a look at comparative performances:

A 10k in 38 minutes indicates...

... a 2 mile run time of 11:25...

... and a 5k run time of 18:13...

That's considerably faster than what you are now.

This indicates that in addition to working on your endurance, you will also have to work on your speed. You need to get faster across all distances, not just the 10k.

shave 10 minutes off 10k

How Long to Reach Your Potential

Based on the above, it would be foolish for me to put a time estimate on how long it would take to shave off 10 minutes of your 10k. General guidelines are that it takes 3-4 years of consistent training to have a well developed base and start getting a view of the true potential of a runner.

I hope that is not disheartening. Because I would like to ask you to rephrase your goal of shaving off 10 minutes and change it to a series of shorter term goals first. And enjoy the journey along the way. In the end, it is fun doing races and testing yourself. The above shows that there is plenty of potential to get faster. As you are starting to build that endurance, your 10k times will improve. And your 5k times will too. I have no doubt that you can still shave minutes off your 10k time. That is a great position to be in.

Enjoy the journey to achieving the best you can be.

Please check out the following pages for more detail on the types of training you should be considering:

Base Running - About building your endurance.

Running Workouts - An overview of different types of running and how they help you improve.

Improve Running - A page about somebody in a similar position like you; they have done some races and want to improve further.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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