Sub 40 Minute 10K

by Steve

Hi, I am confused about all these running calculators :-( My lifetime goal is to run a sub 40 minute 10k, so far I am down to 43 mins. I weigh 184 pounds and I am 5-10 in height...

My recent times are:

200m - 29 seconds
400m - 1:08
1 mile - 5:55
5k - 21:31
10k - 43:00

Can you help with a training programme to achieve this, ie, mileage type of speed sessions etc.
I think I have basic speed but lack endurance.



Answer by Dominique:

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your running training question. And thanks for providing your race times, that makes it possible to make some comparisons with my Race Conversion Calculator.

How it works?
You enter your time for one race (e.g. 400 metres in 00:01:08) and then request the time for another race (e.g. a 10K). The outcome will be presented as the time you could run (in the example 00:34:22). Note that short anaerobic races like 400 metres are not good indicators of long distance runs.

E.g. Just because Usain Bolt runs 100 metres in 10 seconds (even less than that) does not mean he can run a marathon 1 hour and 38 minutes.

So when you provided your race times, I quickly entered all of those in the calculator to work out what your 10k time would be.
When you'd do the same you'd see the following results:

  • Based on your 200m result: 30 min 33 sec.

  • Based on your 400m result: 34 min 22 sec.

  • Based on your 1 mile result: 41 min 00 sec.

  • Based on your 5k result: 44 min 51 sec.

  • Your actual 10k time is 43 minutes.

    Now, what does all this tell us?

    I think this tells us a few things:

    1) Your basic speed is there. Your 200m and 400m times are pretty fast, although not that indicative of your 10k race time.

    2) You run out of breath quickly. Your mile time is already too slow to make it to sub40. Your 5k time is way off.

    3) Interestingly enough your 10k time is better than your 5k time would suggest. This possibly means that it has been a while since you have run your last 5k. If you'd run a 5k now, based on a 10k time of 43 mins my running calculator suggests you would run it in 20 min 37 secs.

    My suggestions for your running training
    You need to build a much stronger base. Your mile, a mostly aerobic race, is already too slow. You need to be able to maintain the speed that your 200m and 400m results show you already have in you.

    Speed sessions would be the wrong idea. I would run lots of easy miles. Lots of long slow runs, lots of easy running with the occassional tempo run in between in order to build the strong foundation you need in order to be able to race a 10k and hopefully eventually get to your goal.

    A few suggestions for further reading:

  • Base Running - Why base running should be the core of your running training.

  • Tips on how to improve your running - Some running tips.

  • The Principles of Periodization - When to do which type of running

  • Daniels' Running Formula - A great running training book with a tough, but great 10k running training program template.

  • Hope this helps.

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