Training for a SUB40 10K


So you’ve always wanted to join the SUB40 10K club? So did I.

Ever since I started running, I heard people taking about them running 10km in under 40mins. It became a benchmark for excellence. This got firmly etched in my head that I want to accomplish this feat. This would be my first time-distance goal enroute to Boston.


Let’s Break it down:
10km = < 40:00
1km = < 4m:00
2.4km = < 9m36s

This means you have be running an faster IPPT Gold pace throughout the entire 10km distance. All you have to do is 3 key runs every week:

1. Interval Training (Tuesdays)
The sure way to improve is to do Interval training. These speed workout sessions are definitely the fastest way to improve your anaerobic ability, perfect for your short distances.

Note: Before you start doing Intervals, make sure you have a existing aerobic base, which means you have been running regularly, in order to execute these efforts effectively.

The perfect spot would be a stadium track, or if you can’t find a track, find a loop where you can run fast without obstruction or danger.

For week 1-4, Work 1:1 Rest Ratio, Target time: 1min30sec per 400m
Week 1: 3 X 400m
Week 2: 4 X 400m
Week 3: 5 X 400m
Week 4: 6 X 400m

Once you are able to do 6 X 400m, change it up to 800m loops (i.e. 2 rounds of 400m)
Work 1:1 Rest Ratio (i.e. After running 3min00 sec, rest 3min00sec), Target time: 3min00sec per 800m

Week 5: 3 X 800m
Week 6: 4 X 800m
……Increase Progressively by additional 1 X 800m until you hit 8 X 800m…..
Week 10: 8 X 800m

Once you are able to do 8 X 800m, change to Work 2:1 Rest Ratio, i.e. after 3min00sec, rest only 1min30sec. This will increase your body’s ability to recover over a short period of time.

To make it even more challenging, take it up to 12 X 800m or do it in a ladder format – 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m with Work 2:1 Rest ratio. Alternatively, you can do a Yasso 800, which is practically interval training, but during rest intervals, you do not stop completely. Yasso 800 is more practical over longer distances, when it comes to half-marathons and marathons.

2A. 2.4km Time Trial (Thursdays)
To gauge your improvement, do conduct your own time trial every fortnight. You will definitely see significant reduction in times if you put in the time with interval training.


2B. 4 X 2km Tempo Runs (Thursdays)
Tempo Runs are slightly longer than intervals, but not has taxing. Your pace has to be 60-80% of your race pace. If you can hold a pace of 7mins 40secs for every 2km, with a 3min rest period in between sets, a SUB40 10k is definitely within grasp.

3. LSD runs (Sundays)
Do got for Long Slow Distance(LSD) runs of 12-15km to enable your aerobic ability, and clock mileage to be confident enough to conquer the 10km.

Focus on the 3 main run days a week, Intervals, Tempo/Time Trial, and LSD, & you will be able to achieve it without killing your legs.

Remember, Quality over Quantity is the key.

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