Setting My 10k Goal - How Fast Should I Run My Next 10k?

by Rick T.

I've been running for over a year now and after half a year of training (70 miles/month) I ran 10k in 39:40. Since then I tried a few more races over the summer (in the heat) with my best time a disappointing 40:10.

I also ran 1500m in 4:45.

Since a few months ago I increased my mileage (100 miles/month) and a few weeks ago I ran 1:30:20 half marathon.

What time should I shoot at in my next 10k race?

Thank you for your advice.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Rick,

Thanks for your question about setting your 10k goal.

setting a 10k running goal

And your half marathon time is very good as well.

Let's cover this question in the following parts:

1. Prediction based on the Race Conversion Calculator
2. Recommended focus for the longer term
3. Prediction based on your running training paces

Prediction based on the Race Conversion Calculator

It's very hard to say which time you should shoot for. I put your times in the Race Conversion Calculator.

Based on your 1.5k time (not a great predictor for a half marathon, keep in mind) you'd be expected to run a 35-36 min 10k and a 1:18hr half marathon.

Based on your 10k time (very good predictor) you'd be expected to run a 1:27hr half marathon.

So, what does this tell us?

For one: you have excellent speed on the shorter distance.

Secondly, you have a lot of potential.

Thirdly, it's tricky for me to say what your recent 1:30 half marathon will translate to for your next 10k!

Recommended Focus for the Longer Term

To further improve your 10k and half marathon times, what needs improving now is your stamina, your endurance. The 10k and the half marathon rely on your endurance, much, much more than your speed.

And you are still working on building that endurance. The step up from 70 miles/month to 100 miles/month is a good start.

Now you want to slowly, but surely, build up that mileage further through lots of easy runs.

For a good 10k race it's also important to do tempo runs and, closer to the race, also interval work.

However, base building is most important. Building your base takes a number of years. During this period I'd expect you to improve year-on-year and it wouldn't surprise if you bring your 10k down into the 38 - 39 min region this year.

base running

Prediction Based on Your Running Training Paces

With goal setting for a race I would always keep in mind that things don't always go your way, e.g. weather is a big factor. I usually set myself a fast goal and a slower goal. The fast one is for great race conditions and the slow one is if things don't go my way.

That way you can still get some satisfaction out of a race, even if you don't make it to your PR because of harsh conditions.

Now, I am conscious we still haven't addressed the goal to set for your next 10k. An approach that does not rely on your recent races is relying on your recent training times through the Running Pace Calculator.

setting a 10k running goal
Now this calculator uses a recent race to calculate your likely running training paces. You can use it in reverse-order as well.

Suppose you know that your current easy pace is about 4:50 min/km and your tempo pace is about 4:00 min/km.

With a bit of trial and error you'll find out that that is equivalent to ~39 minutes for a 10k.

So, you could use that approach. But, little warning, this approach requires total honesty with yourself. You can't start running quicker and quicker and just assume that that translates to faster times.

Hope this helps a bit and gives you some ideas for your next 10k race, but also for how to approach your training for the next few years!

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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