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 08:25-08:55 per mile pace.
  • 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.

36 Responses

  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

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