The 10K is a popular distance amongst both beginners and experienced runners and is usually considered to be the next milestone after completing a 5K. If you’re considering a 10K running event, or even if you’ve already ran several you might find yourself asking “How long should it take to run a 10K?”.
How can I measure my running time?
Your running pace will dictate the time it takes you complete any distance, for example if you run at a speed of 10km (6.2 miles) per hour you will finish a 10K in 60 minutes. Fitness trackers and apps provide a convenient means of tracking and measuring the speed and distance of your run. If you are training on a treadmill you can manually set your running pace and adjust this as your fitness improves.
Factors such as age, fitness level and gender will also have an effect on the time it takes you to run a 10K. You can use a useful tool, called an age graded calculator, which provides a performance score based on running data for your age and gender, allowing for a fairer comparison across the board.
Average 10K time for beginners
If you’ve ran a 5K before, it is more than likely that a 10K to take you twice that time, if not a little more whilst you adjust your training to incorporate those extra miles. For beginners, you can expect to cross the finish line of a 10K somewhere between 60-80 minutes. If training is new to you, you can start out by doing a combination of running and walking to build up your fitness and avoid injury. Training plans such as Couch to 5K will ease you in to running and help you improve your pace over time. Once you’ve managed 5K, keep adding on that distance to 10K!
Average 10K time for intermediate runners
For intermediate runners, who have a fairly robust training schedule (regularly completing 3 to 6 mile runs), an average 10K time would be around 45-60 minutes. That equates to an average speed of around 7-9mph over the course. Interval training, combining bursts of speed and endurance, can help you to shave down your 10K time and work towards that new personal best. Remember your rest days to give your body time to build and recover too.
Average 10K time for athletes/elites
The world record time for a 10K currently stands at 26:17.53 minutes for men, held by Kenenisa Bekele (who also holds the 5K world record), and 29:17.45 minutes for women, held by Almaz Ayana. Athletes running at a consistent pace of 5 to 7-minute miles can complete a 10K in an average time of 30-45 minutes. Achieving the fastest 10K times requires athletes to follow a strict training plan, incorporating techniques such as altitude training to help shave of those valuable seconds.
How can I improve my average 10K run time?
Whether you’re aiming for a new personal best, or just looking to make some gradual improvements to your 10K run time, there are a few techniques that you can try out to help boost your pace. Whilst a 10K is considered one of the ‘shorter’ running distances, maintaining a run at high intensity for that distance can still be seriously challenging, so what are the best ways to improve your time?
Make use of intervals: Adding a short burst of intensity in your training not only helps to push your top speed, but it also improves your form and has a positive impact on the way your body uses oxygen whilst you run. Start with an easy mile to warm up, then experiment with 200m bursts of sprinting interspersed with an easier recovery run speed. You’ll soon find that the higher speed becomes easier and you’re able to sustain it for longer.
Do a long training run each week: Doing one long run per week as part of your training will help you to build up stamina as you approach your race day. Longer runs help your body to adapt by increasing the capillary density in your muscles and increasing your ability to store glycogen. Although you may be training for a 10K, a weekly run of around 10 miles at a pace 20-30% lower than your 10K speed will give you noticeable improvements on race day.
If you are looking for your next 10k run, take a look at our event listings to find the perfect event for you - 10k run Listings