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10k under 40 min - Benedict - 13-06-2020

Hello The Ed,

I would like to run a 10k race in the beginning of September, preferably under 40 minutes. Since I did one cycle of the 10k under 40min training plan to prepare for all my races so far (from 3k to half marathon), I thought this time I might as well do the build up period and more cycles to see what's possible, as well as seeking advice here, you are truly amazing and I can't thank you enough for all the incredible work. I will finish the second cycle of the build up period tomorrow, so I did the 4k time trail today (15:51, I can't provide lap times, but I will in the future, per 1k). If I got my numbers correct, then I should run the 2ks in 8:10, 1k repeats in 3:50. Based on the last few weeks, I can do the easy 50-70 min runs at 5 min/km with an avg hr of 150 or 5:30/km with an avg hr of 140. Could you give me some advice on whether I should orient myself towards running with hr of 140 or running 1 min slower than race pace?

Todays run:

15 min warm up

4k time trail

Time: 15:51

Avg hr: 177

Max hr: 192

15 min cool down

Plan for the next few days:

75 min easy

40-50 min easy

Day 1 of 10k under 40 min

Looking forward working with you,


Background info:

22 year old, male, 183 cm, 68 kg

PBs: 10k in 40 min (around 39), half marathon in 1:30 (around 1:28) (Sorry for not providing exact numbers, but I was never very concerned about PBs, since all my friends were way faster than me,  also I never raced 10k, the time above refers to a half marathon relay.)

I started running in high school, never had an injury (the worst was maybe when I caught a cold on a rainy cross country race), although

I overpronate.

In winter I ran around 2-3 times a week, always at a steady pace. I started running regularly in  April, since then I ran around 5-6 times a week. I do all my runs on grass (90%), dirt tracks and asphalt (10%). I have a 300m (poorly maintained) clay track available where I will be doing the track workouts, and for which I am still very grateful for. I have gps watch with wrist based hr, so I will attach hr data to my runs, and all the distances will be measured by the gps, even track workouts. (I am considering to attempt to make some markings on the track, even if they aren't accurate, it might have the benefit of being able to more precisely relate workouts to each other. Or should I just run 7 laps (2100m) for the 2k repeats?).

At the end of March my resting hr was around 60. Since I have been running more often it dropped to 50, except for a week in April when it was around 42 for a week, no idea why. It has been 50 for a few weeks now.

RE: 10k under 40 min - TheEd - 15-06-2020

Hi Benedict and welcome to the forums. Start posting feedback .. I shall read and re-read what you have posted above and start to get a feel for you as we progress

once you post again with next update, I should be up to speed

good luck and go well, your training pace for the 2k session can be modified slightly by starting the firs 2 x 2k at 8:10 to 8:20 per 2k and if everything proceeds as planned increase pace to 8:10 per 2k

hope this all works out


RE: 10k under 40 min - Benedict - 18-06-2020

Hi TheEd,

Today’s run: 5x2k R90

  1. rep 7:58, avg hr 163 bpm
  2. rep 7:36, avg hr 170 bpm
  3. rep 7:17, avg hr 172 bpm
  4. rep 7:19, avg hr 172 bpm
  5. rep 6:54, avg hr 174 bpm


I am sceptical about the gps data, it seems too good to be true, but couldn’t find any inconsistencies so far (same watch, same track, clear skies, number of laps seemed to be correct)

I promised myself not to run the first two under 8:15, goal was 8:20. As I realised I was too fast, I started reducing speed, I felt like an idiot, I jogged the last 50 meters.

On the second rep, I was terrified that I have an adrenaline rush, and when it ends I will be done, although I felt very comfortable.

I drank right before starting my third rep, and my stomach didn’t feel right, and that point the confusion was too much, and I simply didn’t look at my watch after that, ran by feel.

I know this should be the hardest workout during the 3 week cycle, but I felt like cruising. I was afraid to go faster,

The conditions were ideal. I ran all of my faster runs (5x8min, 4k time trail) in 30 degrees, direct sunlight, no shades, and without drinking any water. This time it was 19 degrees, it rained the previous days, but dry conditions today, brought water to the track.

I consider myself a midfoot striker, I usually feel my heel touching down, but this time I felt very light on my feet overall, as far as I can tell my heel never touched the ground.

I have no idea what should I think. I just can’t imagine running 5x2k with the above times and feeling comfortable all along. At the same time, speaking of my past experiences, feeling untouchable after having done one cycle of 10k under 40 min, is this what 2 cycles of build up does to you? On one hand, I feel like I missed an  opportunity for a challenging workout, on the other, if the numbers are remotely correct (which I doubt), I’m very satisfied with my current form. I guess we’ll see the 6x1k. Would you recommend doing it on the same track, or should pick another spot (I have an asphalt covered road section in mind) to do the 6x1k?

Here are my runs from the last few days

Jun 14

Time: 75min 02sec

Dist: 13.73 km

Avg pace: 5:28/km

Avg hr: 149

Legs felt like pieces of wood, heart rate was higher than usual.

Jun 15

Time: 40min 38sec

Dist: 7.5 km

Avg pace: 5:25/km

Avg hr: 138 bpm

Felt very fresh in the beginning, but it faded completely away after around 10 minutes. Decided to run only 40 minutes, since I was going to have a longer run the next day.

Jun 16

Time: 75min 43sec

Dist: 12.29 km

Avg pace: 5:21/km

Avg hr: 139 bpm

Same as yesterday, fresh in the beginning, heavy legs for the majority of the run.

Jun 17

Time: 32min 14sec

Dist: 6.06 km

Avg pace: 5:19/km

Avg hr: 141 bpm

I was very exited to have a shorter run in weeks, the “bounciness” went away after 15 minutes, and had to slow down to keep the heart rate down.

RE: 10k under 40 min - TheEd - 20-06-2020

Hi Benedict, a nice set of training put together .. great 2k session .. you will find out with time how accurate the 2k is over time. The good thing is the cycle

an interesting mention earlier is that you say you a midfoot striker and try avoid landing on your heel. If that is the case, then by such a running action you would negate the over pronation you mention

keep the 1k session on the same track .. we keep going in the same manner and fix things accordingly in the future

make sure to focus on leg recovery and good luck


RE: 10k under 40 min - Benedict - 23-06-2020

Hi TheEd,

Thanks for letting me know about midfoot strike negating overpronation, I mostly had shoes for overpronators, I might try a more neutral next. 1k session on the same track, noted.

Today’s run: 6x1k R60

  1. rep 3:26, avg hr 166 bpm
  2. rep 3:27, avg hr 174 bpm
  3. rep 3:26, avg hr 175 bpm
  4. rep 3:24, avg hr 175 bpm
  5. rep 3:21, avg hr 177 bpm
  6. rep 3:11, avg hr 178 bpm


I didn’t have any specific time goals, so I ran by feel, didn’t look at my watch. It felt harder than the 5x2k, I wasn’t holding back as much. I was closer to my limit, but I felt like I  could go just a little bit faster, it didn’t hurt at any point. I’m so glad I have more cycles to figure out the right pace. Obviously the first priority is to hit the prescribed times, but I wonder, how hard should it be? My guess is that one shouldn’t be able to run the last rep significantly faster (and I understand this is also not recommended), maybe 5 seconds faster but not 10. How do I know if it was hard enough, but not too hard?

Overall very happy with how this session turned out. Do you have a suggestion what my aim for the 5k time trail should be?

I'm not worried about gps accuracy anymore, the 5x2k times now seem realistic to me.

Here are my runs from the last few days:

Jun 19


Jun 20

Time: 1 hour 30min 14sec

Dist: 17.08 km

Avg pace: 5:17/km

Avg hr: 140

I accelerated in the last 20 minutes toward 5:06/km (pace for last 2 km), which felt good, but in hindsight I wish  I started it somewhat later, more like 15 minutes before finishing, because I found myself looking at my watch quiet frequently in the last minutes, looking forward to the end. My hr climbed from 142 to 148, so I think I kept it under control.

Jun 21

Time: 31 min 28sec

Dist: 5.71 km

Avg pace: 5:31/km

Avg hr: 141 bpm

Definetly felt the long run. Slower pace, higher hr.

Jun 22

Time: 53min 01sec

Dist: 10.05 km

Avg pace: 5:17/km

Avg hr: 140 bpm

I feel very inefficient running so slow, which makes me somewhat frustrated, but after the 6x1k I have absolutely nothing to complaint about.

RE: 10k under 40 min - TheEd - 24-06-2020

Hi Benedict .. if your gps is accurate your 1k session equates to some fast running in the future .. yes, slower running can feel funny and if you can focus on maintaining good form .. foot placement and arm carriage

with more sessions your 140 bpm pace should speed up quite significantly

on we go and nice going so far