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 occassionally 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.

40 minute 10k Training Plan

145mins easy30mins easyRest/ cross-train3 x 2km
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km) 2 min Rec
Rest/ cross-train45mins easyLong run, gentle pace: 60-75 mins
2Rest/ cross-train3 mile tempo
Quicker than 10k race pace
+1 mile warm up and down
30mins easy5k Paced Run
Aim for : 20:00min
Rest/ cross-train5 x 1km
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km) 90s Rec
45mins easy
330mins easyRest/ cross-trainRest/ cross-train5 x 800m
@6:26 p/m (4:00 p/km, 3:12 per 800m) 90s Rec
Rest/ cross-train45mins easyLong run, gentle pace: 60-75 mins
4 (recovery week)Rest/ cross-train3 mile tempo
Quicker than 10k race pace
+1 mile warm up and down
Rest/ cross-train30mins easy45mins easyRest/ cross-trainRest/ 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:

  • 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.

16 Responses

  1. 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 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?

  2. 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?

  3. 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?

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. Ryan says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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 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.

  9. 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

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