Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Sub-50 minute 10k Plan

After a fair bit of thought and time spent mulling over my options, I think I finally have my training plan sorted out for my sub-50 minute attempt at the Baker Hughes 10k in May. For me this is a tricky time to try and push myself into targeted training as I’m terribly busy both at work and socially. One glimpse of my calendar for the next month proves this!

I’ve been concentrating on how to train efficiently and effectively around various engagements; thankfully a key ingredient in building speed are interval sessions which for someone at my level, don’t need to be any more than 4 miles. This means I can squeeze in workouts where previously in ultra training I’d be struggling to find time to do so.

I’m working on the basis of three speed-based sessions a week, one easy run and one ‘long’ run, and one day cross training. I still have a great fitness base from the Ultra so I’m forgoing hill training for now and just focussing on getting my legs moving faster. I don’t have a great deal of time at all so I’m hoping for the best; if I don’t reach my goal at this race there are a couple of other options later in the year to have another go – further afield either the Crieff 10k or perhaps the Forth Road Bridge 10k, or closer to home the no-frills and flat Beach 10k in June which takes place along the oh-so-familiar Beach Promenade.

My planned sessions are as follows:

MONDAY: Cross Training – fitness yoga/core/weights
TUESDAY: Intervals* – either at the ASV track or in Stonehaven with Kynon (who is FAST)
WEDNESDAY: Easy run – a short 45 – 60 min run to shake out
THURSDAY: Tempo* – 1 mile warm up, X miles at tempo pace, 1 mile cool down
FRIDAY: Rest – probably with beer
SATURDAY: Progression – Early miles getting faster and finishing up at Aberdeen Parkrun.
SUNDAY: ‘Long’ Run – 1.5 – 2 hours depending on feel. Mainly indulging my enjoyment of long runs.

*: – These sessions are interchangeable depending on work commitments.

The training plan itself looks like this:

I feel somewhat uneasy looking at this – it’s a bit alien to me and I’m really not looking forward to the tempo runs. Tempo Pace for me will be at, or as near as I can get, to 8 minute miles. I need to run 6 x 8 minute miles to get a sub – 50 10k so on race day ideally I should be knocking out 7:5X miles. At the moment my easy pace is 8:30 – 9ish. Makes me feel a little sick just thinking about it…!

I wish I could say that the plan got off to a good start but last week was somewhat patchy. I had a great interval session on Tuesday in Stonehaven with Kynon, who quite frankly kicked my ass with his speed. We ran up and down the beach front in Stonehaven doing 0.25m sprint / 0.25 recovery; I think I need to be more controlled at my Sprint sections though as towards the end I just could not maintain a decent speed for the full 0.25. It was a good workout though and puke threshold was definitely reached at times!

On Wednesday I had an hour to squeeze in a run between my day at work and a work commitment in the evening, so I rushed home and was out of the door within 10 minutes to try a new trail by the river I’d scoped out on Google maps. It was a sunny evening and I was really enjoying myself – the trail was interesting and new to me and I was very reluctant to turn back at 2.5 miles. I completed my 5 miles in 46 minutes and somehow got myself to the Town House for a civic reception, dressed smartly and looking appropriately glamourous (through probably with mud still between my toes!) by 7pm.

Due to work I had to shift my Thursday tempo session to Friday, and then when the time came we were experiencing monsoon-style Spring rains – the weather was absolutely atrocious. I took the opportunity to use this time to write my training plan before heading out for the evening, trying to convince myself that it was a worthy substitute for running. Close, but not quite…writing training plans for a sub-50 10k does not actually get you a sub-50 10k!

On Saturday I was all set to return to my new trail for a longer recce run and wanted to go for about 2.5 hours, or around an estimated 14 miles. Again there were more monsoon-style rains but I forced myself to man up and get out of the door for my run.

So close to the city yet five minutes in and you could be miles away.

Spring has not quite sprung here – I expect that this could be quite overgrown in Summer.

About 2 miles in I began to encounter some problems – all the rain did not come without consequences…

I sucked it up and got wading. If anything it washed all the itchy mud off and the icy water rinsed out the scratches and nettle stings that were accumulating around my ankles. The trail ends at the border of Cults/Bieldside but you can continue on to circumnavigate the Deeside Golf Course which I did. I don’t think this route would be possible in summer at all – it will be far too overgrown. The trail is pretty technical with a lot of rocks, dips, climbs, low hanging trees, and muddy embankments. It was on one of these muddy embankments that I felt a painful wrench in my left quad as I swung it forward to take a big step… My quads have been quite tight the last few weeks and I’ve been attempting to foam roll this tension out but I still feel it on each run.

I decided to walk for a bit and try and loosen the muscle out. At this point I really wasn’t feeling the run – I was tired, soaking wet from top to toe, sore, and grumpy. I just wanted to go home! I even toyed with the idea of phoning a friend to come and get me – I’d been out for an hour and had only covered 5 miles out of my planned 14 and had that horrible helpless feeling of ‘How am I ever going to survive another 9 miles of this?!’ that you can only truly understand when in the middle of a bad run. The trail had pretty much come to an end and I actually didn’t know where I was. I figured I was somewhere near Bieldside/Milltimber and if I ran up perpendicular to the river then I would eventually hit the Deeside railway line. I really didn’t want to double back and go back over the flooded muddy path again…

I had a jaffa cake and looked at some cows. They seemed happier in the rain than I was! I headed North to try and find civilisation again and eventually found myself in the Newton Dee Special Needs community and located the railway line. My quad was aching and I had had enough – time to head for home.

I made it 8.5 miles in 1hr 36 minutes… not exactly what I had planned, nor anything like the speed I wanted to be running at but these tough runs are the making of us. This weekend’s long run will be the Petrofac Challenge 15 mile trail race which I’m looking forward to. It is taking place out at Balmoral Castle as part of the RunBalmoral events (I did the 10k last year) so it should be a very scenic run. In terms of time I have no idea what to expect – probably somewhere around the 2.5 hour mark perhaps but I won’t be racing hard.


  1. Hi
    Remember that Aberdeen AAC has track/interval sessions suitable for road runners at ASV every Mon and Wed starting at 6.45. Good if you want to get speed into your legs. Feel free to join us!

  2. PS And the Lynx Pack does them at ASV on Thursdays starting at 12.30 – handy for the Yooni!

  3. Great pics! It looks like a run-swim duathlon course! I was able to improve my time for 10k and 10 mile by focusing on 5k goal. The tempos seem easier now.

    • It was certainly challenging…
      That pace is getting easier gradually, I guess I just need to keep putting in the hard fast runs and and I’ll speed up eventually; although I have to say I enjoy long slow runs far more!

  4. Hi Rhona, have been following your blog since starting training for the D33, also my first ultra. I don’t know much about races in the Aberdeen area but can advise you from personal experience not to think of the Crieff 10k as a possible PB venue unless you’re a mountain goat. I’ve seen your pictures online and saw you at the D33, I know you’re not!! A wonderful wee race, really tough, a great finish along the banks of the Earn and post-race nosh to die for but definitely not a fast course.
    All the best for Balmoral,

    • Hi Davie,
      The undulations of the Crieff 10k have been mentioned to me! It does look like a good race though so I may still do it for fun depending on how my summer plans work out.
      Thanks for your comment!

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