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Training for a 10K PR

If you want to run a faster 10K you need to train your endurance, lactate threshold, VO2max, and neuromuscular power – in the right amounts, at the right time. In my opinion the optimal training progression is Renato Canova's funnel periodization. (See graphic below.)
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1. Foundation

This is the ‘base + speed phase’ which is characterized by extreme polarization. Here 85% of the training is carried out below your lactate threshold. On the other end of the intensity-spectrum are supramaximal efforts (above VO2max) to develop your maximal speed. Middle-intensities are left out. The rationale: Without a strong base of general endurance and maximal speed you won’t be able to maximize your VO2max and lactate threshold.

Suggested training modes (10K):

General endurance = Easy to steady pace

Aerobic support = Marathon pace

Anaerobic support = 3K – 1500m pace

General speed = 1500 – 400m pace


2. Pre-Competition

This is the ‘fitness phase’ with a strong focus on VO2max and lactate threshold. Here 80% of the weekly training mileage continues to be comprised of easy runs and increasingly longer long runs while the other 20% is made up of VO2max intervals and threshold runs. As a result, you’ll get noticeably faster across all your training runs. This is also a good time to throw in a tune-up race to acquire the necessary mental toughness.

Suggested training modes (10K):

General endurance = Easy to steady pace

Direct endurance support = LT-pace

Direct speed support = 5K – 3K pace


3. Race-Specific

This is the ‘sharpening phase’ where your race-fitness is brought to a peak. Here 75% of your weekly mileage is run at an easy pace to buffer the rather demanding 10K-paced efforts. These race-specific intervals are lengthy with rather short rest intervals. 10 days out from your peak race the overall volume will be reduced to ensure fresh legs on race day. Since 10K pace is close to VO2max and LT-pace alike, no other training modes are necessary.

Suggested training modes (10K):

General endurance = Easy to steady pace

Race-specific = 10K pace


“Just because running is a simple activity doesn’t mean running training can be simplistic. The physiology that powers your running is incredibly complex. Therefore, improvements in athletic performance beyond the ordinary necessitate a science-based, experience-tested, 21st century training program.”

10K Training Plans

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
8, 12, or 16 weeks