Increasing My Speed for 10k Races

by Kelly

10k running training tips

10k running training tips

I love to run and have recently gotten involved in races in the past 3 years: such as 10k races (usually) and just completed my first half marathon in 1 hr 45 min.

As I continue these 10k races, I am now getting competitive about it and jealous at the top dawgs finishing so fast!

My fastest 10k was 45:46.

I want to run a 10k in under 42 min. Thus far I have simply loved running and don't know the ins & outs and lingo associated with racing and such. So I have no clue how to work on my speed to get to this pace.

Any tips or advice on how to accomplish this?

My current run schedule: I run 70-80 miles per week (roughly 10-15 miles per day) at a moderate pace of about 6-7 mph. My 10k races range 45:46 - 49:48 min.

Thanks for your help!


increasing my speed for 10k races

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Kelly,

Thanks for your question and thanks for adding the detail. That makes answering the question so much easier.

What I will cover here:

1. The benefits of high mileage
2. Hard / easy principle
3. Using the hard / easy principle in your training
4. Hard/easy principle and injury risk

The Benefits of High Mileage

The mileage you do per week and each day is very impressive. Much more than I can manage. Based on time I can make available, but also injury risk. With any type of endurance event, as the 10k definitely is, building a huge engine is super important. And you are doing that through your long runs and high weekly mileage.

Hard/Easy Principle

One important principle that is applied in training theory is that of the hard/easy principle. Basically, after a hard day, you need to have an easy day.


increasing my speed for 10k races
Well, the very simplistic way to describe it is that when you train hard, you are doing a bit of damage to your body. Your body then needs time to recover and get stronger while you give it a break. The actual benefits of tough exercise come to you AFTER you have done the exercise.

What concerns me a little is that you described your pace as moderate. And you only described one training pace.

This leaves me feeling that you are using a moderate/moderate approach, rather than a hard/easy approach. Currently, every run is more or less the same. I'd like your runs to be much more variable from day to day.

So, let's now move on to a few ways you could apply the hard / easy principle in your training.

Using the Hard / Easy Principle in Your Training

First of all, you need to get familiar with quality workouts like tempo runs and intervals.

Then, very simply put:

  • Hard days are days you do a tempo run, an interval run or a long run

  • Always follow a hard day with an easy day

  • An easy day can be an easy run / recovery run or rest or cross-training

  • So, an example of a training week using the hard/easy principle could be:

    Mon - Easy 45 minutes
    Tue - Tempo Run 10 miles - 3 x 10 minutes w 3 min hard (incl warm-up and cool-down)
    Wed - Easy 45 Minutes
    Thu - Intervals 10 miles - 15 x 1 minute hard / 1 minute easy (incl warm-up and cool-down)
    Fri - Bike 45 minutes
    Sat - Easy 45 minutes
    Sun - Long Run 18 miles

    This is a basic structure that can be reasonably effective. For appropriate tempo and interval paces, based on your recent race performance, check out the Running Pace Calculator.

    Hard/Easy Principle and Injury Risk

    When you start doing more intense, faster workouts than you are currently doing, your injury risk increases.

    You can deal with this in two ways:

  • Introduce the quality work gradually. Start with short intervals and tempo sessions, then build up from there.

  • Reduce your mileage somewhat

  • You can of course also follow a combination of the two approaches.

    In the end, running is a very simple sport. We do some runs slow and some runs fast. Then we combine it all in a good mix. I think you will benefit significantly from a more structured hard-easy approach in which you combine quality workouts like tempo runs, intervals and long runs with recovery workouts and/or cross-training.

    If this all sounds rather complicated, I can also do the hard work for you... :) Check out my running coaching service in case you need further support.

    Hope this helps.
    Kind regards,

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