A 10k race is a challenging run for runners of any experience. A 10k, or 6.2-mile run, can require both endurance and speed. Whether you’re an experienced runner or it’s your first race, we are all curious as to how we compare to the average 10k time.
Why should anyone want to run a 10k? Because it is a fantastic way to challenge yourself after mastering the 5k. Training for a 10k requires more running which will make you fitter and sets you up to take on longer distances such as a half-marathon or marathon.
So, if you’ve done many 5ks and are looking for a new way to push yourself, the 10k may just be what you are looking for!
Being able to run 6.2 miles is a feat and something that should be celebrated! Being able to further challenge yourself to run this distance at a pace that spurs personal is even better!
In this article, we will cover:
- How long is a 10k
- What is an average 10k time by age and gender
- What is an average 10k time by country
- What is a good 10k time
- What is the fastest 10k time
- How many miles a week should I run to train for a 10k
- How many weeks should I train for a 10k
- Benefits of training for a 10k
- How to run a 10k, and 10 tips to train for a 10k
So, let’s get going!
How long is a 10k?
A 10k, or 10,000 meters, is 6.2 miles or 25 laps around an Olympic-sized track.
A 10k is also 6 miles 376 yards or 32,808 feet 5 inches. And, it goes without saying a 10k is twice as long as a 5k which is 3.1 miles.
The 10k is the longest standard track event and is often raced in road and cross country events.
What is the fastest 10k time?
The world record fastest 10k time for men is 26:11:00, set on October 7, 2020 by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda! That is 4:12 a mile!
The world record fastest 10k time for women is 29:01:03, set on June 8, 2021, by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia. That’s 4:40 a mile!Related: How Long Does it Take to Run a 5k? Average 5k Times by Age and Sex
What is the average finish time by country?
According to RunRepeat’s State of Running Report:
- Switzerland has the fastest 10k finishers with an average finish time of 52 minutes 42 seconds.
- Luxemburg is in second place with 53 minutes 6 seconds.
- Portugal comes in third with an average 10k time of 53 minutes 43 seconds.
- Thailand and Vietnam are among the slowest nations in the distance
Looking specifically at male rankings:
- The Swiss are still number one with 48 minutes 23 seconds, and
- Luxembourg is second with 49 minutes 58 seconds.
- The Norwegians are in third place with an average time of 50 minutes 1 second.
- Portuguese women are first in 10Ks with 55 minutes 40 seconds. They are faster than the men from Vietnam, Nigeria, Thailand, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary Belgium, Austria, and Serbia, according to the report.
What is a good 10k time?
A good 10k time is 49:43, according to our dataset which calculates race finish times by age and ability. This number is based on the average 10k time across all ages and genders worldwide.
A 10k time under 50 minutes averages about 8 minutes a mile.
More advanced runners will be able to finish under 43 minutes, averaging just under 7 minutes a mile.
By some standards, a male elite runner should be able to run a 10k in under 38 minutes and a female elite runner in under 45 minutes. Though, elite qualifying standards are race-specific and vary.
For casual runners, it is more difficult to say exactly what a ‘good’ 10k time is, as race time varies greatly depending on age group. You could consider a ‘good’ 10k time for the casual runner as being greater than the average for their age group (scroll down to view these categories for yourself).
Related: How to Run a 7-minute Mile
How long does it take to run a 10k?
A beginner runner will likely take 12-15 minutes to finish a mile. Thus, it may take between 70 to 90 minutes for a new runner to finish a 10k.
What impacts how fast you can run a 10k?
There are many factors that can influence how fast you can run a 10k. These factors include your current level of fitness, age, gender, and ability.
The more you run, the more you can positively impact your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health which will make you run faster.
What are average 10k times based on age and gender?
Below are the 10k averages reported by RunRepeat in 2019 for men and women, divided by age groups.
The data shows us that age group is correlated significantly with average 10k time, with older age groups tending to have a slower average running pace.
How many miles a week should I run to train for a 10k?
Beginner runners should run at least 15 miles a week to train for a 10k. More advanced runners will run 40 miles a week to train for a 10k.
How long should I train to run a 10k?
Most 10k training plans will be 12-14 weeks long and include a base phase before introducing speed and race-paced workouts. Couch-to-10k programs will include only easy running.
Should I run a 10k before my 10k race?
If you have an upcoming race, It is not necessary to run a 10k before your 10k race but is helpful.
Unlike the marathon, running the full 10k in your training before race day will not unnecessarily tax your system and hurt recovery.
Instead, running a full 10k before your 10k race will give you the confidence that your body can cover the distance.
It will also spur physiological changes such as stronger bones and muscles along with increased capillary density and mitochondria to perform better on race day.
What are the benefits of running a 10k?
Running longer distances has a host of mental and physical benefits that include but are definitely not limited to:
- decreased stress, anxiety, and depression;
- increased memory, mental acuity, and happiness;
- improved cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cholesterol;
- healthier bodyweight;
- and stronger bones, tendons, muscles, and joints.
For a runner looking to run faster, training for a 10k can help you run faster at all distances.
- For distances shorter than 10k, training for a 10k can improve your lactate threshold, thereby improving your endurance and allowing you to run faster for longer.
- For distances longer than 10k, training for a 10k can add power to your training, also improving your speed and endurance.
Similarly, a 10k is a fantastic progression for couch-to-5k runners who have mastered the 5k and are ready to take their running to the next level.
How can I run a faster 10k? – 3 ways
There are 3 key ways to improve your 10k run time:
1. Lift weights (strength training)
Strength training using the 5 basic movement patterns of lift, hinge, push, pull, and carry, two times a week may improve your 10k performance by improving your running stride power and efficiency. Additionally, strength training can help to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, reducing the chance of injury and enhancing your performance.
2. Run strides
Running strides improves neuromuscular connections and improves running efficiency (due to fewer wasted movements).
Add about four strides after easy runs two times a week. Running drills can also help you run faster by improving communication from your brain to your muscles.
Related: Running Strides Guide
3. Vary your runs
Do different types of running with varying speeds to build the different energy systems in your body, improve muscle fiber activation, and increase musculoskeletal strength.
The types of runs you should do in your training include hills, threshold runs, race-pace intervals, fartleks, and VO2 max intervals. In particular, hill sprints and other types of interval training based around speed work are proven to be effective in increasing running speed for distance runners.
How to run a 10k?
The most tried-and-true race strategy for the 10k is to run negative splits. That means you will start out slower than your goal pace and progressively run faster for each mile.
To run a negative split:
- First decide on your goal race pace for the 10k.
- Then, run your first 2 miles about 5 to 10 seconds slower than your goal race pace.
- Gradually pick up the pace so that you are running at your goal pace for miles 3 and 4.
- For the 5th mile, aim to run 5 to 10 seconds faster than goal race pace.
- In the final 1.2 miles, give it all you got! Run as fast as you can and leave nothing in the tank!
10 Tips to Run a 10k
1. Find a training plan. Pick a training plan that matches your current fitness level and schedule.
2. Pick a race. Then pick a goal race that fits within the timeframe of your training schedule.
4. Build your mileage slowly. Do not increase your runs by more than 10 percent week-over-week in your training, or risk injury. If you want to cross the finish line with a good time, you need to be training regularly, as opposed to doing too much at once, then having to stop because you’ve overtrained.
5. Practice makes perfect. Race a 10k in your training to know what a race feels like and get comfortable with the process and distance.
6. Vary your workouts. To get faster, you need to do more than just run. Run at different paces to build your speed and endurance.
7. Recover as hard as you run. You are always only as good as your recovery. So, be sure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of rest. Stretch. Foam roll. Take weekly rest days. And, be sure to maintain a healthy diet.
8. Find a friend. Run with friends to ensure accountability and guard against burnout.
9. Taper. In the week before your workout, run less mileage and do not strength train. Allow your body to build itself back up so that you are strong on race day.
10. Finish strong. Never run a race feeling like you could have given it more than you did. Finish fast and give it your all!
We’d love to help you conquer the 10k distance!
Check out our 10k training plans!
For the beginners:
For active folk who are looking to challenge themselves:
For runners looking to bag at 10k PR: