Reading Time: 5 minutes

A sub-45 minute 10k is a realistic and very achievable goal for a large majority of runners. That’s not to say it’s easy though. And can it be done in twelve weeks though? With this free sub-45 10k training plan, a commitment to execute it, and a positive mindset I believe it definitely can.

runners legs running on road in 10K running race

About this sub-45 10k 12 week training plan

I’ve based this sub-45 10k training plan around the training I followed as part of my recent sub-45 min 10k challenge.

My total training time for the 12 weeks of that challenge was 57.5 hrs. The total run mileage was 215km (133 miles).

Those time and mileage elements are essentially what I’ve structured this plan around.

How fit should I be before starting?

Ideally, you should currently be able to complete 10k and do it around 55 minutes with a comfortable hard (75 – 85%) effort. Any slower than this makes things much harder and probably requires more time.

How much time will I need per week?

The weekly hours range from 3 hrs in week 1 to 7.5 hrs in week 11. Building each week by 30-60 minutes and a recovery week every 4th week.

Week No. TimeRun time and (approx) mileage
13hrs1.5hrs — 16k/10 miles
24 hrs2hrs — 22k/13.6 miles
35 hrs2.5 hrs — 27k/16.7 miles
4 (recovery)3 hrs1.5hrs — 16k/10 miles
55 hrs2.5 hrs — 27k/16.7 miles
66hrs3hrs — 33k/20.5 miles
76 hrs3hrs — 33k/20.5 miles
8 (recovery)3 hrs1.5hrs — 16k/10 miles
96.5 hrs3.25hrs — 35k/21.7 miles
107 hrs3.5hrs — 38k/23.6 miles
117.5 hrs3.74hrs — 41k/25.4 miles
12 (sub-45 attempt)4 hrs2hrs — 22k/13.6 miles

How many sessions per week?

Ideally, you should be doing 3 – 5 sessions per week. This will allow you to distribute the training load more effectively so to speak.

Is this sub-45 10k training plan entirely run-based?

No, it’s not all run, run, run.

This training plan has its basis in triathlon training. The focus though is on the run element of it.

The plan is predominantly made up of run and cycle sessions. The swim element makes up a very small fraction of it. If required it can be switched out for additional cycling, or replaced with some other form of upper body cardio.

Any commute cycling can and should be counted as training time.

If you like a training plan with some variety then this plan will suit you.

Will cycling and swimming benefit my running?

A very valid question. Based on my experience I believe cycling as part of a run training plan has the following benefits –

  1. Extends or maintains aerobic capacity.
  2. Great for recovery sessions, very easy on the legs.
  3. Maintains a good balance of strength in both legs.
  4. Build strength in the quads, great for uphill running.
  5. Adds variety to your training plan.

Swimming obviously won’t benefit your leg strength to the same degree at all. However, it will help to maintain any aerobic gains you’ve made with running.

How strict is this sub-45 10k plan?

In general, if you can at all, you should try to stick as closely to the plan as possible. It doesn’t matter on which days of the week you do the different sessions. The important thing is to get them all done for that week.

If things don’t go to plan though you can adapt it a little to suit your schedule.

The most important thing is to stay on track with the weekly and monthly time and mileage targets. Don’t worry though, if you’re down a little one week, just try and make it up the following week. However, try as much as possible to avoid scenarios where you do 2 hrs one week and have to do 9 hrs the next to stay on track.

Ok to do more than I should?

In terms of run sessions, you should try and stick to the plan. Don’t go too much over/under the weekly mileage or long run. Running is hard on your body hence the need to build gradually.

It won’t matter so much with the cycle and upper body cardio sessions. Because they are non-weight bearing exercises the negative impact of doing more than planned will be far less than with running. Recovery from those sessions is much, much faster than with running. Don’t go too mad on it though at the same time.

Can I add strength training to the plan if I want?

You can add 1 or two strength and conditioning sessions per week into the plan if you like. However, for the purposes of this training plan, you should NOT count it as part of your total weekly training time. The reason is that it won’t really extend your aerobic capacity which is what we’re trying to achieve with this plan.

Any upper body and core work will benefit your run form though. Things like tabletop crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, etc are all good options.

A little bit of leg strength training will do wonders too. Things like bodyweight squats, or Hindu squats are ideal. Add a little weight if you like but don’t overdo it. Be mindful of upcoming sessions etc. For example, don’t smash your legs the day before an interval session.

girl in gym doing deadlift strength training

Is a sub-45 10k guaranteed with this free training plan?

Of course not! How could you ask such a question?

Seriously though, I like to think the chances are EXTREMELY high (85%) of going sub-45 if –

  1. You are starting at sub-55 min 10k level and injury-free.
  2. Commit to the training plan 100%.
  3. Believe in yourself that you can do it!
  4. Avoid getting injured.

Who should follow this training plan?

Anyone can follow this plan as long as they’re currently at sub-55 min 10K level and injury-free.

Download your free sub-45 10k training plan now

OK, that’s enough talking about it.

There’s no time like the present to get started.

Only if you’re serious about it though, willing to commit, and willing to put in the hard work.

No more excuses!

If this sounds like you then click the link and get your FREE sub-45 10k training plan straight to your inbox.

Keep me posted

If you do commit to the training plan let me know in the comments or by email. Let me know how it goes for you. I want to know if you hit that sub-45 or just miss out, either way, I want to know.


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness, or exercise.

Michael Duffy
Michael Duffy

Fitness, health, and outdoor enthusiast! 2 decade of experience training for, and competing in different sports. Boxer, runner, road cyclist, triathlete, and XC mountain biker. More about me here.

    2 replies to "Sub-45 10k Training Plan : Structured 12 week program"

    • AJ

      Hey there – I used your plan to prepare for the 10k Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. Thanks to your plan I was able to run it in 44:50 min! Last year I used a different plan and got a time of 46:53, so it’s a fair improvement.

      I tried to follow your plan quite carefully. If I missed anything, I shorted a bit of time from biking. I’m a poor swimmer so I replaced swimming with biking. I hit every benchmark that you set with the intervals – typically consistently beating the target paces. For example in the week 11 interval run, I ran about 4:06 each interval.

      I appreciate the care and detail you put into the plan. It was very easy to follow. I also appreciate your suggestions about pacing and effort levels throughout, and the benchmarks to check my progress.

      If I may offer a few suggestions based off my experience – I noticed that on race day, my legs and lungs were prepared but my stomach was not. The last few km’s were brutal. I believe this was because I had not adequately trained my lactic acid system with high intensity training. Looking back, the only times in my training where I felt like I was pushing my lactic acid threshold was during the mock 10ks. It seems like the interval sessions in the plan, while they served a purpose and certainly helped me develop a sense of pace, were just not long or intense enough, or maybe I should have done more of them. If I were to do this plan again, I would probably turn the intervals or the hilly runs into sprints, hitting effort levels 5-6 much more often.

      Honestly, for my next race, I will be doing a bit more searching around to find a plan that deliberately includes more intense training. But, I do sincerely thank you for helping me reach my goal this year.

      • Michael Duffy

        Absouloutly delighted to hear this helped you smash that 45 min barrier AJ. Pacing intervals can be tricky, be careful pushing too hard though as recovery can then become an issue, it’s all about consistency and progression. But ye if the suggested pace feels way too easy then it’s perfectly reasonable to push a little harder, it needs to feel like a reasonably hard effort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.