The 5 Best 10k Workouts

mo farah 10k

Today we are going to discuss some of the best 10k workouts. These workouts will help lower your 10k race pace, whilst giving you a great prediction of what finishing time you’re likely to clock. A successful 10k runner needs to complete these kind of workouts at least once every 2 weeks, as they will help you feel much more comfortable operating at race pace.

Of course, a 10k runner needs to do a lot of aerobic running and cover quite a lot of distance in training. We will be sure to discuss this in a future article. As the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to the closure of a lot of tracks, I am including workouts that will be easy to replicate on the roads, grass or paths.

Workout 1: 20x1minute

This workout is thoroughly enjoyable and seems to go by really quickly, so could be a good place to start. With the repetitions only being 60 seconds long, you don’t find it being too mentally taxing. This workout should be structured slightly different depending on how far away from racing (or peaking) you are and of course your own ability.

If you’re less that 4 weeks away from racing a 10k, this session should be: 20x1minute, at 10k race pace, with 30seconds walk/jog recovery. However, you should build up to this workout if you are further away from racing. For example, if you are 12 weeks away from racing, you could start with 16x1minute at race pace, with 60seconds walk/jog recovery.

As with all of the workouts mentioned in this article, it is best to work up to the full workout gradually. Remember, always warm up and cool down properly when attempting an intense workout. 15-20 minutes of very easy running before and after your workout should cut it.

Workout 2: 8x3minutes

This workout is perhaps a favourite among 10k athletes. With this workout, the repetitions are long enough that they really have a positive impact on your mental strength. If you can keep at race pace for the entire workout, and be consistent for each repetition, then this will pay huge dividends on race day.

This workout, however, is a bit different to the first workout. The full workout is: 8x3minutes with 30seconds walk/jog recovery, with the 7th rep being under race pace. Adding a penultimate hard effort means that you’re really going to have to buckle down and hold your form on the last repetition in order to stay at a respectable pace. This means that when you’re extremely tired on race day but still have another km to push, you already have experience in digging deep and holding your pace.

Whatever pace you manage to average for these repetitions, should be the pace that you could hold for a 10k race. This makes this workout one of the best 10k prediction workouts. Like the first workout, it is important to work up to the full volume. If you are 12 weeks or so out of racing, it’s okay to do 6x3minutes with 60seconds walk/jog recovery, with the 5th rep being under race pace.

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Workout 3: 10x2minutes

This workout is fairly similar to the first workout, but requires a bit more pace management and mental strength to pull off. Roughly speaking, 20-30 minutes of work at race pace, with structured recovery, tends to make up the best 10k workouts.

The full workout is: 10x2minutes with 45seconds walk/jog recovery. Similar to the first workout, if you are less than 4 weeks away from racing you should be attempting the full workout, and whatever pace you average during the repetitions should be your current 10k race pace. However, if you are around 12 weeks away from training you can start with 8x2minutes with 90seconds walk/jog recovery and gradually work it up.

This workout feels good to complete after completing a speed workout a couple of days prior, as it makes it easy to settle into your race pace early on.

Workout 4: 15minute Threshold + 5x3minutes

This is a very different workout, with not all of the workout being at 10k race pace. The 15minute threshold run should be ran a little slower than 10k race pace (10-15 seconds/mile slower), and the 3minute intervals being right at 10k race pace. This is a long and grinding workout because you are usually pretty tired after the threshold run, so getting into your 10k race pace requires a lot of effort and focus. If you work in km rather than miles, click here for a converter.

The full workout is: 15minute threshold, 2minutes walk/jog recovery, 5x3minutes with 60seconds walk/jog recovery. Again, the full workout should only be completed within 4 weeks of racing, and the pace you average for the 3 minute intervals should be your predicted 10k race pace at the time. If you are further out from racing, start with: 10minute threshold, 2minutes walk/jog recovery, 5x2minutes with 60seconds walk/jog recovery.

This workout is particularly useful for athletes who have done a lot of shorter distance work but are moving up to the 10k, as it has a great emphasis on endurance.

Workout 5: 5x5minutes, 1x2minutes

A supreme test of strength. This is perhaps the best 10k workout when it comes to lowering your times on race day. To pull this session off, you need to pace the first couple of repetitions well – you should stay directly on (or 5-10 seconds over) your 10k race pace for the first 3 reps, just to make sure you don’t burn out before the end.

The full session is: 5x5minutes, 1x2minutes with 75seconds walk/jog recovery with the 4th 5minute repetition being under-pace, and the 2minute rep being all out. The under-pace rep should be done at 10-15seconds/mile under race pace, and the pace of the 2 minute rep doesn’t matter too much, as long as you feel like you’re all out.

This session should be done around once every 6 weeks for maximum benefit, and should never be done with less than 2 weeks before a 10k race. This is because it can be really intense, and even though you’ll reap huge rewards, you’ll need a lot of time to recover. As with all the workouts, start off smaller. Start with 3x5minutes, 1x2minutes with 90seconds walk/jog recovery with the same format, and work your way up.

If you incorporate these workouts into your schedule, you will certainly improve your 10k personal best.

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