1st 10k training plan progress | 80/20 Endurance

1st 10k training plan progress

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    David Graham

    Just thought I’d post my stats and observations upon trialing the Level 2 training plan for 10k in the 80/20 book.

    I’m 45 and have run for around 5 years after never having run before apart from competing in sports at college and university. I had a back operation at 36 and it took 4 years of adding weight post operation before I decided to try running although I was nervous with my previous back issues. I had reached a weight of 16st 5lbs and although this isn’t terrible for a man standing at 6ft 5, I still knew I had to do something before it got worse.

    5 years later and after training at around 1000km a year (60 miles a month) my wife bought me the 80/20 training book. I found it fascinating and thought I had to give it a go. Having not been an avid runner in my 20/30’s it’s hard to know how fast I could potentially go and my previous times based on running 3/4 days a week were:
    5k – 22.13
    10k – 47.02
    Half – 1hr 45m

    I hadn’t run the 10k time in about a year and recently had run it in about 48.30. As stated I went for the 10k Level two plan and stuck to it strictly.

    I spent the first week as recommended in the book at really slow pace and this took a while to get use to (now it feels normal). I had reservations as it felt at times that I was losing speed and how would I be able to maintain race pace when I was running well below that pace for long periods of time. I think I started to relax a little more after a few weeks after my time’s per km we’re falling at low intensity levels and you can start reconciling pace with heart rate. I was running zone 2 (130-143bpm) at 8 1/2 mins per mile rather than 9 1/2 mins a mile at the start.

    I had worked my lactate threshold out as 160bpm based on previous running/heart data on hard runs. My maximum heart rate is approximately 175bpm.

    In my 3 months on the plan the mileage increased as below:

    Month 1 – 111 miles (180km)
    Month 2 – 116 miles (188km)
    Month 3 – 153 miles (247km)

    This was way more mileage than I am used to but the low intensity aspect at 80% enabled me to get through injury free although even at the lower intensity it made me wonder if I was overdoing it at times, and maybe in future I might incorporate cross training as an alternative.

    I didn’t know what to expect on race day, I was still nervous that I hadn’t maintained race pace level (7 1/2 mins per mile) in training but trusted in the science and went for it! I had used the same course as the previous 47.02 time albeit it a year earlier – 5 km out and 5 km in so no overall altitude gain or loss although there were some mild incline’s which turned into decline’s on the way home. Conditions were good with the sun shining and temp approximately 13 degrees.

    My final time was 46.33. I had mixed feelings about this. I felt a little that maybe I should have been faster but then considering my recent times had been more around 48 1/2 mins I then felt that 2 minutes was a good gain after 12 weeks. I had given almost everything on race day and maybe with hindsight could have squeezed it to nearer 46 mins but was happy with the result.

    My observations of 80/20 running is that it has made me feel like training more as previously I had trained too hard over less miles. I could only increase mileage and improve my time by running at lower intensity as upping my mileage at the intensity I used to train would have been unsustainable.

    I started the 12 week program at 14st 5lbs and ended up at 13st 7lbs after eating at my normal level, possibly eating slightly more. This has reduced my BMI to 22.3 and I feel fitter even though I considered myself fit beforehand.

    Going forward after a mini break I intend to carry on with the 80/20 plans as I believe there is more to come if I stick to this method and also I am back to enjoying running. I think running more miles and dropping weight would have reduced my time regardless of the 80/20 but I think that might have come at a cost in injury terms and I feel that (through reading forums) there is more gains to come from the 80/20 side of things as I doubt 12 weeks is enough to build that peak core fitness that comes from plenty of low intensity miles.

    Hope this helps anyone thinking of taking the plunge, you won’t look back and if your a complete beginner like I was 5 years ago you can train in the correct way right from the start. I do feel like some of my previous years were spent training inefficiently.

    Happy running,


    David Warden


    Fascinating read! Loved it. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your result. I’m confident this will inspire other athletes who will read it.


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