How To Run a Sub 40 10K

How To Run a Sub 40 10K

On paper, running a sub 40 10k is pretty straightforward. You just lace up your shoes and run 10k’s at 3:59 mins/km pace (or better).
 
But like so many things in life, it’s a lot easier said than done. 
 
The good news is that if you’re asking this question, there’s a good chance you’re pretty fit and pretty fast. You’ve probably run some decent 5k’s in your time, and you might even have smashed a few half-marathons in 2 hours or less.
 
But the first thing to analyze here is whether or not this is a realistic goal for you to achieve, given your current pace and fitness levels. 
 
There are essentially two ways to assess whether or not you have a good chance at this. 
 

Is it realistic for you to Run A Sub 40 10K?

  1. If you’re current 5K PB is 21 minutes or less, it is feasible to suggest that you could run a sub 40 10k, if you commit to a 10K training plan. 
  2. If you’re current 10K PB is 44 minutes or less, it is feasible to suggest that you could run a sub 40 10k, if you commit to a 10K training plan. 

Now you might be asking where these numbers come from. They actually stem from the Runner’s World Race Pace Predictor. I have just created a small performance improvement buffer, assuming that with the right training, you will be able to shave minutes off your current 10K personal best. 

Race Pace Calculator Sub 40 10K

 

Simple Sub 40 10K Training Plan

Week 1

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 8km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 5 x 1km splits @ 4.00 min/km pace (or faster) 
  • Fri: 8km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 10km Distance Run @ 4.25 min/km

Week 2

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 8km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 5 x 1km splits @ 3.55 min/km pace (or faster) 
  • Fri: 8km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 11km Distance Run @ 4.25 min/km

Week 3

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 9km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 6 x 1km splits @ 4.00 min/km pace (or faster)
  • Fri: 9km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 12km Distance Run @4.20 min/km

Week 4

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 9km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 6 x 1km splits @ 3.55 min/km pace (or faster)
  • Fri: 9km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 12km Distance Run @ 4.20 min/km

Week 5

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 10km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 7 x 1km splits @ 4.00 min/km pace (or faster)
  • Fri: 10km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 13km Distance Run @4.20min/km

Week 6

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 10km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 8 x 1km splits @ 3.55 min/km pace (or faster) 
  • Fri: 10km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 14km Distance Run @4.20 min/km

Week 7

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 11km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 9 x 1km splits @ 4.00 min/km pace (or faster)
  • Fri: 11km Easy Run
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: 15km Distance Run @4.20 min/km

Week 8

  • Mon: Rest Day
  • Tue: 12km Easy Run 
  • Wed: Rest Day or Cross Training
  • Thu: Speed Training – 10 x 1km splits @3.55 min/km pace (or faster)
  • Fri: Rest Day
  • Sat: Rest Day
  • Sun: Race Day… Finally!

Tips For Following The Training Plan Above

  1. If the training gets too tough at any point, give yourself extra time. There is nothing wrong with taking a few extra weeks to allow your fitness level to adjust. 
  2. If you feel like you desperately need a rest day or to skip a particular session, feel free to do so. There is more than enough mileage built into this training plan.

How can you increase your 10K speed?

The best way to increase your 10K speed is to build regular interval training into your schedule. There are so many runners out there who are obsessed with distance, and simply ignore the fact that the whole point of running is actually to get FASTER.

So if you want to be a fast 10K runner, you have to stop pretending that distance runs alone will take you there. 

Basically, you need to perform a high intensity speed session, at least once a week, if you want to increase your 10k speed. For most people, that means 400m, 800m, or 1km intervals at race pace (or faster than race pace).  

Regular speed training is the only way to get comfortable with what it feels like to run at your target race pace. It’s the best method for breaking through your comfort zone, and increasing the maximum speed that you can maintain for 10k’s. 

 

 

What pace do you need to run 10km in 40 minutes?

The bullet points below reveal exactly what speed you need to run in order to break the 40 minute mark over 10k’s, in km/h speeds and mp/h speeds. 

  • 4.00 min/km
  • 6.26 min/mile
  • 15 km/h
  • 9.32 mp/h
Obviously you will need to to increase your speed slightly for at least 1 of the 10k’s, in order to dip below the 40 minute mark. 
 

How To Run A Sub 40 10K, without a training plan

Some people don’t like following highly structured training plans. They just want to go out there and run, without any extra admin or advanced tracking. If you fall into this boat, you will enjoy the 10K training method below. It’s ridiculously easy to follow. 

  • Training Session 1: Easy Run 
  • Rest Day
  • Training Session 2: Speed Training
  • Rest Day
  • Training Session 3: Distance Run
  • Rest Day
  • Repeat this cycle

For the distance runs, you want to build your way up to 15K’s over time. This will give you the underlying endurance fitness that will allow you to tear through the field on race day. 

For the speed training sessions, start off with 1 kilometer splits, a little bit faster than race pace. Your goal is to build up to 10 x 1KM splits, at 4.00 min/km (6.26 min/mile) or faster.
 

 

Final Thoughts

To run a Sub 40 10K, you need to build up your endurance fitness and incorporate regular speed training into the mix. 

This basically translates to distance training sessions where you run over 10K’s and 1K interval sessions where you dip below 4.00 min/km (6.26 min/mile).

If you focus on these two elements (distance and speed sessions) for 8 weeks or more, you will have a very good chance of breaking the 40 minute barrier.

We wish you the best of luck with this massive challenge, and if you have your own sub 40 10K success story, please let us know using the comments below. 

1 thought on “How To Run a Sub 40 10K

  1. Hi,
    On week 2 of the program. Just a quick question on the spilts. Do you rest in between them or not and if so for how long?
    Thanks for your time
    Sean

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