40 Minute 10k Training Plan


The sub 40 minute 10k is a key benchmark for many runners. There’s an unwritten rule that say’s a sub 40 minute 10k means you have turned into rather a decent runner. Much like the sub 20min 5k, there is much kudos to be had by achieving this particular distance below such a nice round number.

Successfully running a 40 minute 10k means you will need to be capable of running at a sustained pace of 06:26 for each of the 6.1 miles. That is 4min per km.

Your Speed/Distance Training Zones: 40 minute 10k

Pace per MileTreadmill Pace400m / 800m Splits1km Pace5km Race Pace
06:269.3 mph/ 15 km/h1:36 / 3:1204:00 secs20:00 min
*for speed/distance conversation allow for a small amount of rounding up/ down.

Like all of our training plans, the 40 minute 10k training plan will occasionally require you to run at a slightly faster pace than this for short durations so before starting ensure that you are able to run at your target race pace for at least 1km or preferably a mile.

If you are not quite there yet then take a look at the 45 minute 10k training plan  first and then come back to this one once you are in a position to run at this pace for a km.

Other 10k training plans: Sub 60 min 10k training plan|| 55 minute 10k || 50 minute 10k || 45 minute 10k || 40 minute 10k || 35 minute 10k

40 minute 10k Training Plan

DayWeek 1Week 2Week 34 (rec week)
Monday45mins easyRest/ cross-train30mins easyRest/ cross-train
Tuesday30mins easy3 mile tempoRest/ cross-train3 mile tempo
WednesdayRest/ cross-train30mins easyRest/ cross-trainRest/ cross-train
Thursday3 x 2km
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km) 2 min Rec
5k Paced Run
Aim for : 20:00min
5 x 800m
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km, 3:12 per 800m) 90s Rec
30mins easy
FridayRest/ cross-trainRest/ cross-trainRest/ cross-train45mins easy
Saturday45mins easy5 x 1km
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km) 90s Rec
45mins easyRest/ cross-train
SundayLong run, gentle pace: 60-75 mins45mins easyLong run, gentle pace: 60-75 minsRest/ cross-train

Time commitment: You will need to commit roughly 3-4 hours of work a week over the course of the 40 minute 10k training plan in addition to any time spent cross training.

Breakeven Sessions – 40 minute 10k

These sessions are used for maintaining fitness & recovery. Preparing you for breakthrough sessions:

  • Easy Run – this should be no quicker than 07:45 p/m.
  • Long Run – this doesn’t need to be any longer than 75 minutes.

Breakthrough Sessions – 40 minute 10k

These sessions are meant to be challenging intense efforts, treat them as mini-milestones towards your target:

  • Tempo Run – hard but sustainable effort, usually about 30 mins in total and aim for 06:55 p/mile pace for 3 miles with a 1 mile warm up/down either side.
  • 800m Reps – should be reps at 06:26 p/m pace (3:12 per 800m) with a 90sec jogged recovery.
  • 1km Intervals – 06:26 p/m pace (4:00 per km) with a 90sec jogged recovery.
  • 2km Intervals – 06:26 p/m pace (4:00 per km) with a 2min jogged recovery.
  • 5km Time Effort – run a 5k race/training run at your maximum, try and aim for a sub 20:00.

The 40 minute 10k plan has been put together so it is cyclical and can be used over a period of weeks until you feel you are ready for your 10k event. At the end of each cycle you can repeat from the beginning or tweak the plan to suit your current ability and time commitments etc. As you improve you’ll  maybe want to incorporate some sessions from our other 10k training plans.

If, after a couple of rotations you want to make the plan harder, you could slowly increase the number of reps for the breakthrough speed sessions. Introduce changes slowly and over a few weeks, i.e., Week 1 = 3x2km Reps, Week 5 = 4x2km Reps, Week 8 = 5x2km reps, etc. Obviously there is only so far you can go with this, there would be no point in extending these way beyond the 10k distance. The other way of making the plan harder is to adjust the pace slightly and run faster!

It is recommended that after three months of using the 40 minute 10k plan that you reduce your training for a period of one to two weeks to allow your body time to recover from the impact of running. This should mean more time cross-training with a couple of nice easy runs every few days to keep the legs ticking over.

To realise improvements it’s worth remembering that training is cumulative and it takes time and dedication to follow any training plan and achieve the results you want.

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  1. Augi says:

    Hi, for the 90-second and 120-second breaks between intervals, is it fine to walk recovery instead of lightly jog recovery?

  2. Hey,any advice on mixing up the days to suit lifestyle?I can only run Monday to Friday so can i do 5 days in a row & keep the long run & intervals apart to make it work ?

  3. David says:

    I used to run a 39m 40s 10k when I was in my mid 30’s. I am now 54 and want to get back to training and doing some events. Haven’t done much training since I was 40. Is this even possible for me. I am very committed but not sure if I am biting off more than I can chew as they say. My training normally consists of trying to beat my last time every time, so this is very interesting to me

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi David, it certainly is possible and you have the commitment to achieve it then that is half the battle. My advice would be to start slowly, largely forget about what you used to be able to run; that’s in the past now and has no bearing on how you are going to train this time around. Initially it’s about getting back into the groove with your running, easy runs, some tempo runs etc. Let the running muscles remember what they need to do.
      Then when you are ready to train towards a target time, you need to find your starting point so if you are able to go for a run and after a warm up run a mile or a km at a hard but manageable pace. Then see if you can match this pace with one of the 10k plans on the site, or you could start with a 5k to build up. There has been a long gap though so don’t expect too much to soon. And also I would advise additional time spent stretching/resting after runs now than perhaps you were used to in your 30s.
      Let us know how it goes and good luck!

  4. Megan says:

    These programmes work. I’ve done 22 minute 5k and achieved. 45 min 10k and achieved. Stick with it you’ll honestly get the results!

  5. Pasquale says:

    Hi, my current aerobic base running volume is about 80km a week and to be honest I’m struggling to add speed into this volume. If I followed this plan I would be dropping my volume by 45%, do you (anyone) think this will have an adverse effect?

    • Jamie says:

      Pasquale I think the volume listed is more a minimum than an exact figure. If your easy runs are 1hr not 30mins that won’t be a problem if that’s normal for you. I wouldn’t be afraid of dropping some volume (10-20%) if you’re improving the quality of the remaining sessions

  6. Tiaan says:

    Can anyone maybe tell me what the warm up should be before the 3x 2km? (if any)

    • Rafael says:

      Hey , I used to run 2-3km and then some 100m strides before starting it. I´ve just started this training plan

  7. Mike Bennett says:

    I’m in week 1 of this plan and enjoying it. I like how you are following an 80/20 rule in this plan. Perhaps mention that in your description and provide a link so runners can learn more. I’m looking forward to the day when that 4min/km doesn’t hurt so much! I can do it…but the 3x2km @4min/k was a stretch in week 1

  8. Bruno Moreira says:

    When should the 10k race be done? At the end of the 3rd week instead of Saturday training?

  9. Andy says:

    Hi Matt
    Quick update on progress 8 weeks in now. Ran my 1st park run the other day. 5km.came 14th overall and second in my age group (40-45). 19.53 on a hilly undulating course.
    My speed sessions are seeing some huge gains. I ran 5 x 1km yesterday and clocked 3.40 pretty much across the board…….huge solid gains.
    Folks if you stick to it and dont be afraid to have an extra rest day here and there and listen to your body then you wont go far wrong with this program. I do chuck in a hill session in the last week just to keep my hand in with some strength.
    The main objective for me is avoiding injury with the 2nd objective the PB time. Hence why I listen to my body and if it means having another rest day then so be it.

  10. Karol says:

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks a million for the 10K training, however I have the following question:

    Does the following times appear correct in order to achieve the sub 40min 10K goal ?
    Easy run – 7min 45sec/mile:
    Steady run – 7min/mile:
    Tempo run – 6min 30sec/mile: even though you have 6:55 as the aim is to get to 6min26sec/mile or should it be quicker?
    Long run – 8min/mile:

  11. Andy says:

    Hi Matt
    At what stage would you change from the 40 min program to the 35 min program. Would it be when I am consistently running faster than the target times stated on the 40min (10km) program.

  12. Paul says:

    Matt, this programme seems far too easy, the majority of it are easy runs and long runs at pace you say to be no quicker than 7.45 min per mile. This pace is a long way off what is required to break 40 mins for 10k. The breakthrough sessions are few and far between with no hill running including at all. It just seems to be lazily thrown together with not much effort which is emphaised by the numerous errors you originally had it in with pace timings. I utilised your break 20mins for 5k to great effect but I’m not sure how much benefit I will gain from this program to assist in breaking 40 mins for 10k

    • Andy says:

      Hi paul.
      I’ve been doing this program now for 8 weeks now. My 2km sessions I was coming in at 8mins 24secs at my 1st attempt…I’m now doing them at 7.49mins….
      My 1st 5km timed run was 22mins…….I’ve done 19.40mins today….same with all my speed sessions they are tumbling nicely…..my long runs I’ve been doing much slower than the times quoted avg 8 mins a miles……I’m rapidly improving week by week so I’d say give it a crack…..
      My 5km timed run was a steady 19.40mins and realistically I could have carried on after the 5km…it was a steady sustainable effort…my PB for 10km many years ago was 42mins. As it stands I’m on course to beat this easily……what I tend to do is if I dont fancy a tempo run I’ll swap it for 15 x hill repeats of 15 to 20 seconds. .. I’ll only do this once in the 4 week cycle

    • Jon says:

      Have you went through a cycle yet? I have just came off three cycles of the sub-20 plan and got sub-20 a few weeks ago. This week is my first week of this plan. Try the 2000m workout and you will probably want to retract your statement. 🙂

    • Jack says:

      Paul, the long slow runs are there to build the aerobic base, i.e. the body’s ability to effectively transfer oxygen around the body. The breakthrough runs there to build up lactate threshold, which gets you used to running fast, but also helps build up speed endurance. The 10k is primarily an aerobic distance, there are some methods that even argue that (e.g. Phil Mafetone MAF training) you could skip all of the ‘breakthrough’ runs, and just swap in slow steady running for say 55-60 miles a week and you’d probably be able to do a sub40 10k, if you built the aerobic base for long enough. Aerobic base building is the foundation for any middle-long distance running. I personally would follow the mix of harder tempo runs with slower aerobic easy runs as outlined in the plan. Leave the ego at home and train slow to race fast. It’s a pretty well established training method to run most of your miles at easy pace. I would actually argue that 7:45/mile for easy is too quick. Read up on Arthur Lydiad, a NZ coach from the 50’s or Stephen Seiler, who ‘discovered’ the 80/20 rule. Trust the process. You don’t run each run as if you’re running the 10k sub 40 right there and then, it’s training! Enjoy the process.

  13. Daniel says:

    Hi Matt,
    How likely is it that I could run a sub-40 10K 5 weeks from now ? I recently ran a 5K in 19:33. Does one cycle of this training program usually do the trick or does it usually take a few cycles of the program ? Thanks.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Daniel, difficult for me to say for sure but based on your current times and my own experience I would say that it is certainly possible assuming you can run 10k distance already.
      My advice would be to duplicate one of the non-recovery weeks (probably week 2) and repeat that so you effectively extend the plan from 4 weeks to 5. You have the speed already for a sub 40 based on your 5k time so it’s a case of building up the mileage really and making sure you can sustain the pace over 10k. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  14. Trevor Woods says:

    I can only view 4 weeks of this training plan. Is that intentional? I am curious to see the full weeks as I am evaluating and looking at differences in plans.

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Trevor, yes it’s a cyclical plan so you repeat a couple of cycles before a PB attempt generally. There’s more information about this on the site. Cheers.

      • Sofia says:

        Hello Matt,
        I was wondering if when I have to repeat the training plan, aren’t I starting over? Should I run faster the second cycle?

  15. Tom says:

    Hi Matt. First, thank you for this resource. I followed your sub 20 5k plan with great success. My first 5k race time: 19:25. Now about this 10k plan: why are there no hill runs? I thought that the hills were key to building strength required for faster overall pace. Is this just part of cross training?

  16. Roy says:

    Hi Matt,
    Is it right that I should run in 4min/km 3 of the days in week 2? One 3mile a little faster, one 5k at 4min/km and 5x1km at 4min/km?

  17. Clair says:

    How would you adapt the training plan if the race you want to do a sub 40 10k in is quite hilly, not flat please?

  18. David Smith says:

    Hi Matt,
    Just a query re strength training, and when to fit it in. You will always find publications such as Runners World, running articles explaining the benefits of strength training for runners, but you will not find strength training in their training programmes..
    Any thoughts/suggestions.

  19. Ryan says:

    Hi Matt can you please explain the tempo run in more
    Detail for me please

  20. Antony Phillips says:

    Hi Matt, Is there a mistake here?
    800m Reps – should be reps at 06:27 p/m pace (3:36 per 800m) with a 90sec jogged recovery
    as 3.26 p/ 800m interval is eqiuvalent to 7 m/m not 6.2 as stated.

  21. Jens Kage says:

    Just starting to look at programs for a sub 40 10k. What are your thoughts on treadmill vs. outside runs? Just finished my first sub 19 minute 5k on a treadmill and hope the consistency of the treadmill will help me understand my speed better, but not exactly sure. Thoughts?

    • Matt Matt says:

      Hi Jens, it’s an interesting question. I know many people who swear by treadmill training and the positive effect it has had on their training where some won’t do any training on the treadmill at all citing reasons ranging from perceived increase in sore knees to boredom, etc. My view is that it is a great for certain types of training sessions but not all running. I would typically do one treadmill interval session per week and then all my steady & long runs would be outside. Doing the interval session on the treadmill allows you to really push yourself to the edge and make sure you are running at your required race pace.
      Hope that helps and good luck.

  22. Ella Towers says:

    Thanks for the schedules. I credit you to getting me sub 20 for a 5k which is something I thought I’d never manage. I even got down to a 19.20 pb! Just looking at sub 40 for the 10k now and noticed 2 errors – the 800m training zone (should be 3:12?) and the timed 5k effort (“aim for sub 17.30” should be 20:00?). They confused me for a while before I realised they were errors. Thanks again