Contents

12 Week Beginners Training Plan

12 week Men’s 10K training plan

Mon Tue Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Run 15min easy Walk 5min brisk, run 15min easy, walk 5min brisk. Run 25min easy, walk 5min brisk
Week 2 Walk 5min brisk, run 20min easy, walk 5min brisk Run 15min easy Run 25min easy
Week 3 Run 20min easy Run 20min easy, walk 5 min a bit faster, 5min walk Run 30min easy
Week 4 Run 20min easy Run 5min easy, (run for 1min fast, 2min walk) x4, 5min walk. Run 35min easy
Week 5 Run 20min easy Run 20min easy, (run 3mins tempo, 2mins walk/jog recovery) x5, 6min walk. Run 40min easy
Week 6 Run 25min easy Run 10min easy. (4min tempo running, 2min walk/jog recovery) x5. Run 8min easy. Run 45min easy
Week 7 Run 25min easy Run 10min easy. (4min tempo running, 3min walk/jog recovery) x3. Run 10min Saturday Run 50min easy Run 50min easy
Week 8 Run 30min easy 10 mins easy jog: Hill: 5x30secs up hill, jog/walk down to recover. 10mins Saturday Run 55mins easy Run 55mins easy
Week 9 Run 30min easy 10 mins easy jog, (5mins tempo running, 3min walk/jog recovery) x4, 10mins Saturday Run 60mins easy Run 60mins easy
Week 10 Run 25min easy 10 mins easy jog: Hill: 8x30secs up hill, jog/walk down to recover. 10mins Saturday Run 60mins easy Run 60mins easy
Week 11 Run 20min easy 10 mins easy jog, 3x 3mins tempo running, with 2mins walk recovery. 10mins easy running Run 55mins easy
Week 12 Rest day Run 15min easy 10 mins easy running, 3x 2min tempo run, 2min jog recovery. 10mins easy running Rest day 10mins easy run Rest day Event Day – good luck!

This schedule is for you if you have done a little running before and are making the step up to 10k for the first time. Each week has 3 running sessions. You’ll start your programme by building up a mixture of walking and running and then gradually do more running. You’ll develop an understanding of different running speeds and your stamina to go the distance will increase as the weeks progress.

This is a strategy for many new runners and involves breaking up the race into periods of running then walking. For example, 8min run – 2min walk repeated.

Easy or recovery runs
During an easy run you should feel relaxed. You should be breathing comfortably and be capable of holding a conversation throughout the run. If you’re a new/novice runner then you’ll probably be questioning whether any runs feel easy and holding a conversation may feel impossible. Slow down, walk if necessary and control your effort.

Steady runs
These are the bread and butter of your training, the ‘miles in the bank’. Steady runs build the aerobic base that acts as the foundation for the rest of your training. Conversations are still possible at this pace but in sentences rather than long gossip.

Threshold or tempo runs
Running at ‘threshold’ pace is about running under ‘controlled discomfort’ and is great for improving your running economy. You will find them slightly uncomfortable and they’ll require concentration but they are well worth the effort. You’ll only be capable of uttering a four or five words as you run. As you get fitter and more experienced you’ll learn how to find your own ‘threshold’ pace and this will change the fitter, stronger and faster you get.

Thinking about tackling a 10K race this summer or fall – but nervous because you’re a beginner runner? No need to worry, my friend! You’ll find a perfect beginner-friendly 12 week 10K training plan below.

The 10K race is a great distance for beginners. The 6.2 mile distance is a longer challenge than a 5K, but often feels more attainable than a half marathon (especially when you’re just starting out with races).

Plus, this training plan features a modest 3 days a week of running with very gradual mileage increases. This not only makes it feasible for anyone’s schedule, but that gradual uptick in distance means reduced injury risk.

Here’s everything you need to know about this 12 week 10K training plan:

You can scroll to the bottom of this post to view and print the training plan, but be sure to read over these important tips before starting it:

Who is this plan for?*

This plan is ideal for several groups:

  • Beginner runners who want to do their first 10K
  • Runners prone to injury that need very gradual mileage increases
  • Experienced runners who prefer lighter training plans and have no time goal in mind

If you are an experienced runner looking to PR in a race, this is probably not the plan for you. (Feel free to check out my intermediate 10K training plan here, which might be a better fit!).

*Disclaimer: Check with your doctor prior to starting any new exercise plan, especially if you’ve had any injuries or have a medical condition that may affect your fitness.

How far should I be able to run before starting this plan?

You should be able to either run OR walk (or a combination of those two) for a mile straight when starting this program.

If you cannot currently run a mile but you can walk a mile, and you are hoping to run as much of your 10K as possible, you will follow the same training schedule below. Just incorporate as many walking breaks as needed to finish the mileage each day. For example, on Day 3 of the first week, you might alternate between 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking until you finish the 2 miles assigned that day.

Your running schedule:

You’ll run three days a week on this 12 week 10K training plan. Space out the days that you plan to run. For example, you might choose a Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday schedule — or a Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday schedule.

Your pace:

You can run or walk with this training plan, or use a combination of these methods. For most beginners, I recommend doing your training runs at a comfortable pace that you can maintain the entire time. OR, alternate between a run/walk schedule that you can maintain the whole time (for example, 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking).

If you are trying to run the entire 10K race without stopping, try to maintain steady, consistent pacing during your training runs. You might want to start at a pace that feels a little too slow for you, as most people tend to start out too quickly. If you get to the later half of the run feeling like you are still going too slow, then pick up the pace. The goal is to avoid going out too fast and having to slow down considerably mid-run.

Speedwork:

Since this plan is developed for beginners, I have not included any speedwork. However, if you’re a more experienced runner and you want to build on this plan, you can add in an additional day with either speedwork or hill training.

Warm up & cool down:

Start each run with a few minutes of brisk walking or a slower paced jog to warm up. After each run, give yourself a few minutes of brisk walking to cool down.

It’s also worthwhile to stretch after your runs. If you struggle with ongoing tight muscles, try foam rolling as well.

Cross training & strength training:

Besides the three days of running each week, I recommend also adding 1-2 days of cross training and 1-2 days of strength training as feasible.

Cross training (like cycling or swimming) will help to work other muscle groups and balance out your training. Strength training will help to create stronger muscles that power your stride and also keep you in alignment during your run.

Don’t get overwhelmed with this though. If you only have one extra day to devote to exercise, that’s fine. Just choose a strength training or cross training activity to fit in and don’t worry about creating the “perfect” plan.

And always have one day a week that’s completely devoted to rest (“active rest” like a family walk or restorative yoga class is completely fine).

Injuries:

Soreness is normal; significant pain and injuries are not. If you have any type of injury that is changing your stride, you should see a doctor before starting to run again.

12 week 10K training plan:

Here you go! Feel free to print out, bookmark, or save it on Pinterest. 🙂

Share with me: Have you ever done a 10K? If you’re a beginner runner, what are you nervous about? If you’re an experienced runner, share your 10K tips in the comments! And if you’ve used this 12 week 10k training plan, share how it went for you below!

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Chrissy Carroll

Chrissy Carroll is a Registered Dietitian and USAT Level I Triathlon Coach. She specializes in sharing nutrition and fitness tips, as well as recipes, for runners, triathletes, and active women.Chrissy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition, a Masters Degree in Public Health, and is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

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B.A.A. 10K TRAINING PLANS

Three different 12-week training plans to prepare for the B.A.A. 10K
  • Be willing to adjust and adapt to your individual circumstances: work, school and home life, illness and injury.
  • The goal is to get to the starting line fit and ready to race your best.
  • The B.A.A. 10K Training Plan material is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute any fitness and/or medical advice.
  • You should always consult a qualified and licensed medical professional prior to beginning or modifying any exercise program.
  • Please use personal judgment when participating in any training or exercise program.
  • Information contained within the B.A.A. 10K Training Plan may not be reproduced or repurposed without approved written consent from the Boston Athletic Association.
TRAINING PLAN LEVELS
  • Level One plan is intended for those new to the sport and primarily focused on completing a first 10K but without a specific time goal.
  • Level Two plan is designed for runners with limited racing experience, and who currently maintain an average weekly mileage of 15-25 miles.
  • Level Three plan is for the competitive runner who has a solid base of running fitness, can handle a peak weekly mileage of 40 miles or more, and has raced successfully in previous 5K-10K races.

PACE CHART

Use the pace guides below when determining your pace for the various workouts within the four levels of coaching:

All paces above are approximate average per mile

Want to run a brand-new personal best? Choose from three tailored 10k plans, guaranteed to help you reach your goal!

Ready to break a 10k barrier?

Whether you’re shooting to run under 60, 50 or 45 minutes, we have the perfect plan to help you make a new record a reality. Choose your 10k race, follow the schedule that works for you and in 12 weeks you will be running the race of your dreams!

Rev Your Engine

All three of these training programs assume that you’ve already run at least one 10k race. If you haven’t, you can still follow the basic guidelines of the “Sub-60 Minute Plan,” but run at an effort that’s comfortable for you rather than the pace prescribed. The good news is if you are new to the distance, as long as you cross the finish, you’re guaranteed a personal best! For runners who have run a 10k before, choose a goal that’s realistic for you.

Each program is based on three key workouts: tempo runs, speed work and long runs. These are the most difficult and the most important workouts in your schedule. In addition, you’ll mix in some easy runs, strength training and cross training to improve your endurance base. Always take one day of complete rest each week so your body has a chance to recover and repair itself.

RELATED ARTICLE: FLAWLESS 5K TRAINING PLANS!

Training Key

Cross Training (XT)
Non-running exercise helps to improve your fitness while preventing burn out. Yoga, elliptical training, biking, swimming and rowing are all great ways to cross train.

Easy Runs (E)
Easy runs help you increase mileage and improve aerobic capacity. Since they also aid in recovery, it’s crucial that you don’t push the pace. Keep your effort comfortable and controlled.

Hill Repeats (HR)
Running hills strengthens your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and glutes. It also improves your stamina and confidence. Choose a medium-grade hill and run repeats at 5k race effort for the indicated time. Recover in between repeats with an easy jog downhill.

Long Runs (LR)
A 6.2-mile race isn’t shor t, so it’s important to improve your endurance. Long runs should be performed at a fairly comfortable pace. To work on your finishing kick, you’ll end some long runs with a strong finish (SF).

Race Pace (RP)
Run these workouts at your goal 10k pace. In addition to improving your fitness, running at race pace helps you easily settle into that speed on race day. Start and finish these workouts with 10 minutes of easy running.

Strong Finish (SF)
Some long runs end with a strong finish. This will help you mimic the feeling of fatigue that you will inevitably experience at the end of your race. Pick up the pace by about 30 to 45 seconds per mile for the time indicated.

Strength Train (ST)
Strength training makes you stronger and prevents injury. Perform any kind of strength exercises you wish for 20 minutes. This means bodyweight exercises such as pushups and lunges or free weights at the gym.

Tempo Runs (TR)
Tempo runs improve your speed and strength. Start at your easy pace for one mile, then speed up to a pace 10 seconds slower than your goal 10k pace. Run for the designated amount of time at that effort, which should feel “comfortably hard.” Finish with one final mile of easy running.

RELATED ARTICLE: YOUR FIRST MARATHON TRAINING PLAN!

Sub-60 Minute 10k Plan 9:39 Race Pace

CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION

Week 4
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-5 miles E + ST
Thursday: 5 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR with 10 min SF
Sunday: 3-4 miles E

Week 11
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 3-5 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles LR
Sunday: 3-5 miles E

Week 12
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles TR
Wednesday: 3-4 miles E
Thursday: 2 miles RP
Friday: Rest or 2-3 miles E
Saturday: RACE!
Sunday: Rest

Run a PR with even more training plans from Women’s Running Magazine. Each month’s issue has a new plan, so subscribe today!

Sub-50 Minute 10k Plan 8:02 Race Pace

CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION

Week 1
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-5 miles E
Thursday: 3 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 miles LR
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 2
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-5 miles E
Thursday: 4 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR w/ 10 min SF
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 3
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 5-6 miles E
Thursday: 5 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 miles LR
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 4
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 5-6 miles E
Thursday: 3 x (1200 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 8
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles E + 5 x 2 min HR + 2 miles E
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 miles LR
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 9
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles E + 6 x 2 min HR + 2 miles E
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 miles LR
Sunday: 4-5 miles E

Week 11
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles LR
Sunday: 3-5 miles E

Week 12
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 2 miles RP
Friday: Rest or 2-3 miles E
Saturday: RACE!
Sunday: Rest

Run a PR with even more training plans from Women’s Running Magazine. Each month’s issue has a new plan, so subscribe today!

Sub-45 Minute 10k Plan 7:14 Race Pace

CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION

Week 1
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 4 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 2
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 5 x (800 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 miles LR w/ 10 min SF
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 4
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles TR
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 3 x (1200 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR w/ 10 min SF
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 5
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles TR
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 4 x (1200 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 9 miles LR
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 8
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles E + 6 x 2 min HR + 2 miles E
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 11 miles LR w/ 10 min SF
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 9
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles E + 7 x 2 min HR + 2 miles E
Wednesday: 6-8 miles E
Thursday: 4 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 9 miles LR
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 10
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles TR
Wednesday: 5-7 miles E
Thursday: 4 x (1600 meters RP + 400 meters R)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 12 miles LR w/ 15 min SF
Sunday: 4-6 miles E

Week 11
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 3 miles RP
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles LR
Sunday: 3-5 miles E

Week 12
Monday: XT or Rest
Tuesday: 2 miles TR
Wednesday: 4-6 miles E
Thursday: 2 miles RP
Friday: Rest or 2-3 miles E
Saturday: RACE!
Sunday: Rest

Run a PR with even more training plans from Women’s Running Magazine. Each month’s issue has a new plan, so subscribe today!

10K Training

10K Training

TEN KILOMETERS IS A POPULAR RACING DISTANCE. Many runners start by entering a 5K, then shift upwards to the 10K (10,000 meters, or 6.2 miles) en route to a marathon. Or they begin at the half and full marathon distances and look downward, realizing they can improve their speed and race more frequently at shorter distances, often in smaller races. This is the theory behind my best-selling book, Run Fast. 10K races are fun to run and easy to train for. Unlike marathons, you don’t need to spend 18 weeks training specifically for them, and recovery time is measured in days, not weeks.

SEE ALL 10K PROGRAMS

If this is your first 10K race, or race at any distance, pick the Novice program. If you are an experienced runner looking for a gentle maintenance program, do the same. If you are looking for more of a training challenge, move up to Intermediate. The most experienced runners probably would be happiest with Advanced. I also offer a walking program. See the links to programs at various levels, below.

On these screens, you will find instructions on how to train but for more detailed instructions plus extra training advice and tips, consider signing up for one of my interactive programs, available through TrainingPeaks. For eight weeks leading up to the 10K race of your choice, I will send you daily emails telling you how to train. .

So lace up your running shoes. It’s time to start training for the 10K.

12-Week 10K Training Plan For A PB

This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve run 10Ks in the past, many times, and now it’s time to get serious. Forget fun runs and fancy dress – you’re going all out for a PB, and you need the plan to get you there.

Our 12-week 10K training plan is designed by running coach Ed Kerry (therundoctor.co.uk), and if you follow it to the letter, there’s no reason you can’t strip minutes off your previous best.

The plan mixes up the kind of running involved and also suggests days for strength training. This will not only keep your training interesting, but also build your speed and endurance to ensure 10K success.

Types of Run In This Training Plan

Recovery Runs

“These should be nice and easy and you should feel relaxed,” says Kerry. “Enjoy the scenery. You should be breathing easily and be capable of holding a conversation throughout the run. This will mean that you are running in the 60-65% range of your maximum heart rate (MHR) and it should be no more than 35 minutes in duration.

“This allows your body to adapt to the training workload and therefore improve. It also helps with the removal of the waste products which accumulate in your muscles after harder efforts.”

Strength Training

“Runners need to make sure they have some strength sessions in their training plan,” says Kerry. “This will make sure that your muscles, ligaments and tendons are strong enough to withstand the mileage.”

Skipping your strength sessions won’t just hit your performance, it could also lead to injury, so it’s well worth doing.

“The areas you need to focus on are the legs and core,” says Kerry.

“You need to be using light weights or bodyweight exercises and doing high repetitions. Three sets of 15 repetitions is a good base level to start at, with a weight heavy enough to make the last two reps difficult.”

RECOMMENDED: Strength Training For Runners

Out And Backs

These are a great way to mix up your training. You simply run in one direction for a certain length of time, then turn and aim to cover the distance back quicker than you did on the way out. Doing out and backs gives you an excellent workout and has the added benefit of teaching you how to start your runs slowly and building up speed, rather than flying out of the blocks and finishing at a snail’s pace.

“I find these are a nice way of building pace and they also promote slower starts, which people struggle to do on race days,” says Kerry.

Long Run

It might surprise and dishearten you to hear that training for a 10K PB involves running distances of further than 10K, but it all adds to building your endurance for faster, shorter efforts.

“Long runs are vital in your plan and key to racing well in long distance races from 5K to the marathon,” says Kerry.

“At first, concentrate on increasing the time you spend on your feet rather than worrying about distance. Start by heading out for at least an hour and run at 65% of MHR (conversational pace). Gradually build to 75% of MHR as you start to practise periods of marathon pace running.

“These runs improve your muscular endurance and condition your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source. They also prepare you physically and mentally for the task ahead.”

Cross-Training

Running can be tough on the body, so it’s worth adding some other, lower-impact sports to your training. Furthermore, once you start PB-seeking, you also need to work on conditioning your whole body, not just the legs.

RECOMMENDED: HIIT Conditioning Workout For Runners

“As a beginner it is important that your training is balanced with some low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, rowing and aerobics,” says Kerry, “otherwise you are more likely to pick up an annoying injury that will set back your training.

“More experienced runners should also add cross-training to their regime. Endurance running requires whole body conditioning. To achieve this you should aim to work a variety of muscle groups and not just your legs.

“Remember, though, that you are a runner, so just be careful not to make the cross-training – whether it is lifting weights, using an elliptical trainer or practising Pilates – so intense that you are left too tired for your running.”

Fartlek

“This is a Swedish term that literally means ‘speed play’. It involves bursts of effort over a variety of distances with a variable recovery,” says Kerry.

“Originally the length of effort was based on the terrain, for example, pushing harder every time you came to a climb, no matter how long it was. But you can adapt it for your needs.”

Race Pace

If you’re shooting for a 10K PB, you should already have a time in mind you think you might be capable of running based on your past races. When you see race pace marked in the plan, run at the per-kilometre speed you hope to achieve on the day. Even over shorter distances than 10K, running at race pace will help get you used to sustaining that speed.

Long Hills

Long hills is a term that will rightly terrify all regular runners, but grinding up the gradient is worth the effort.

“Hill running develops strength in your muscles and tendons without putting them under the type of stress they are exposed to during faster running,” says Kerry.

“Run up a 5-10% gradient for 45-60 seconds at a steady pace. Turn immediately at the top and run down the hill at the same effort, then turn at the bottom and repeat without any recovery until the rep time ends.

“Like a tempo or threshold run, a hill session is time to concentrate. You should be working at about 80-85% of MHR and be able to utter just a word or two.”

Warm Up And Warm Down

It’s also important to warm up and warm down before and after every running session to ensure you train at your highest level and avoid injury. Use our guide on what to do pre and post-run to stay in tip-top shape.

RECOMMENDED: How To Warm Up For A Run And Cool Down Afterwards

12-Week 10K Training Plan For A Personal Best

Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 Out and back, run 16-18min out, faster back
Session 3 2km easy, then 600m effort (or 2min) with 400m (or 3min) jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 4 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 8km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 Cross-train 45min
Session 3 2km easy, then 600m effort (or 2min) with 400m (or 3min) jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 5 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 10km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 5km best effort (record time)
Session 3 2km easy, then 600m effort (or 2min) with 400m (or 3min) jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 6 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 12km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 1km easy, 3km at race pace, 1km easy
Session 3 Long hills at 5km pace, repeat 4-5 times
Session 4 Long run 8km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 1km easy, 4km at race pace, 1km easy
Session 3 Long hills at 5km pace, repeat for a total of 5-6 times
Session 4 Long run 10km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 1km easy, 5km at race pace, 1km easy
Session 3 Long hills at 5km pace, repeat for a total of 6-7 times
Session 4 Long run 12km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 Out and back, run 20-22min out, faster back
Session 3 2km easy, then 2min effort with 90sec jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 5 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 14km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 Cross-train 45min
Session 3 2km easy, then 2min effort with 90sec jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 6 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 10km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 5km best effort (aim to beat time from week 3)
Session 3 2km easy, then 2min effort with 90sec jogging to recover, repeat for a total of 7 times, then 2km easy
Session 4 Long run 12km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 1km easy, 6km at race pace, 1km easy
Session 3 Fartlek 40min
Session 4 Long run 14km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 1km easy, 7km at race pace, 1km easy
Session 3 Fartlek 40min
Session 4 Long run 8km
Session 1 Recovery run 30-35min and strength session
Session 2 Rest
Session 3 Light running 20-30min
Session 4 Race day. Good luck!

Are you planning on running your first 10K in the upcoming three to four months? Then you’re in the right place because I’m going to share with you a couch to 10K training plan that will help you get there.

And yes, in just three to four months.

Even if you’re a complete beginner with no previous running experience, that period of time is all you need to get prepared for a 10K distance–as long as you’re following the right training program.

Truth be told, I envy you because my first 10K race was a complete mess. I didn’t give myself enough time to prepare for the whole distance, and by the time I was five miles in, I was done. I’d to push myself to the finish line.

That was my last race for a very long time.

Nowadays, I look back on that experience with an appreciation for the difference that smart training can make, and wish I’d had somebody guiding me along the way.

So, where you should start training for 10K once you decide to train for the race?

Keep on reading to learn how to go from being a complete couch potato to a 10K hero.

What’s a 10K Race?

Alongside the shorter 5K, the 10K, is one of the most popular race distances for beginner runners. It’s an awesome event for runners of all abilities, especially newbies looking to step into their first mass-participation event.

There’s something magical about the 10K distance. From one side, the 6.2-mile requires training and demands respect. But, on the other, it isn’t too much of a challenge that you can’t train for it…maybe even run several 10Ks in one session as a complete beginner.

A 10k race hits the sweet spot of being a challenge without calling for endless months of hard work and sacrifice, such as it’s required for half or full marathon events. It’s also one level up the 5K and a great segue to the half or full marathon distance.

What’s more?

10K races are far more common, with events taking place every weekend all around the country. Getting a spot in a 10K race, even in the most popular events, is quite easy compared to the ballot and substantial fundraising required to secure a major marathon place.

10K in Miles – How Many Miles In a 10K Race?

If you have no idea what a 10K distance means, then it’s okay. You’re not alone.

Here’s the 10K breakdown.

The ‘K’ stands for kilometers, which is roughly 0.6 miles or 1093.6 yards. Thus, a 10K distance is ten kilometers (10,000 meters), or about 6.2 miles. It’s twice the distance of the 5K race.

As a frame of reference, to complete a 10k distance, you’ll have to :

  • Run 25 laps around a standard outdoor track that’s 400 meters long.
  • Run 50 laps around a standard indoor track that’s 200 meters long.
  • Run a football field—(109.73 meters) —including the end zone—91.14 times.
  • Climb the Empire State building (443.2 meters high, including antenna) 26.25 times.
  • Scale the Eiffel Tower (324 meters tall) 31.25 times.

Here some useful links on the history of the 10K as well as some interesting facts.

10K Widipedia Page.

Things you need to know before your first 10K race.

10K racing tips.

The PRRO offcial website.

Th eIAAF 10K page.

10K Training Plan For Beginners – From Couch To 10K In 13 Weeks

Medical Note: The training plan below is quite challenging, and some trainees might not be ready to tackle a 10K, even after six months of training.

This is especially true if you’re obese, are over 40, or have chronic injuries or physical limitations. If any of these scenarios describe you, consult your doctor before you start any exercise program.

Walk First

Start by working up to being able to walk comfortably for one hour.

Can’t pull that off? Then invest a few weeks (or months) in a walking routine. Walk three to four times per week, gradually building your sessions up to longer than 60 to 90 minutes each. Here’s the full guide to starting a walking exercise program.

Once you can briskly walk for that total duration without succumbing to pain, you’re ready to take on the 10K training plan described below.

Avoid The Classic Mistake

The biggest mistake beginner trainees make is rushing into training, trying to do too much too soon.

As a beginner, your first few runs should be a mix of running and walking, then over time, and as you get fitter, aim to build it up gradually and slowly to keep the risk of injury low. This mix helps reduce the risks of pain, injury, and burnout while improving your training enjoyment.

Even with perfect technique and 200$ shoes, running is still a high impact sport, and a beginner needs to give their body enough time to get used to and adapt to the new stimulus. Otherwise, they’re looking for trouble.

Walk & Run Right

Remember to perform the running intervals slow enough at the beginning of every run so that you’ll feel tired but not completely exhausted at the end.

And please don’t wait for too long to take walk breaks. By alternating jogging and walking from the get-go, you’ll be able to speed recovery without skipping on any of the endurance gains of the long one

Take More Weeks

This program is 13 weeks long, but feel free to repeat some weeks if you need to. It’s guidance, not rules.

If you feel like the plan is advancing too quickly for you, slow down and repeat a week or two. It’s so much better to slow down than to let yourself get hurt or discouraged, which could force you to stop training altogether.

Both your body and mind need ample time to adapt to the high demands of training, so don’t rush it.

Beginners’ 10K Training Program Instructions

I’ve included the total workout time for each day so that you can plan accordingly and leave yourself enough time to get it done.

Warm Up & Cool Down Right

To stay safe and comfortable, start every session with 5 minutes of brisk walking as a warm-up.

The workout times that I have listed below include 5 minutes of warming up and another 5 minutes for after you’re done training so you can cool down with another 5-minute easy walk.

Another thing you can do to stay injury free is to stick to a conversational pace. This means being able to maintain a conversation while you’re doing it.

In other words, you should be pushing yourself at low enough level that you could keep a conversation without much huffing and puffing. If you’re gasping for air every step of the way, you’re doing too much. Slow down and let yourself recover.

More specifically, exercise within 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, which translates to a 6 to 7 on an exertion scale of 1 to 10.

Cross Train Or Rest

During non-running days, you need to either cross train or rest.

Ideal cross-training exercises include biking, swimming, strength training, and yoga. All of these will help you build your endurance and stamina further. But don’t underestimate the role of rest.

As a rule of thumb, take one day off every week. For most people, that’s usually Sunday, but different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes.

Speaking for myself, I find that Sunday is one of my favorite days to do my long runs because I can take my time, without the pressures of work.

The 10K Training Progression For Beginners

My couch to 10K training plan incorporates a mix of low intensity running—or jogging, walking, and resting.

During the three months of training, you’ll gradually build your running time form 5 to 10 in the first week to 40 to 50 minutes in the last week.

Each week include one day of complete rest, which is crucial for recovery—regardless of the distance—and 3 (optional) days for walking or cross-training, which can help you on your feet without risking burnout.

Couch to 10K – Month One

The hardest phase of the training is also the first step, and it’s all about getting out the door.

Week 1

  • Session I is a 26-minute workout. Run one minute, then walk two minutes and repeat seven times.
  • Session II is a 30-minute total workout. Run one minute, then walk two minutes and repeat eight times.
  • Session III is a 33-minute total workout. Run one minute, then walk two minutes and repeat nine times.

Week 2

  • Session I is a 35-minute total workout. Run two minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat five times.
  • Session II is a 31-minute total workout. Run 90 seconds, then walk one minute and repeat six times.
  • Session III is a 35-minute total workout. Run 90 seconds, then walk 30 seconds and repeat eight times.

Week 3

  • Session I is a 35-minute total workout. Run two minutes, then walk one minute and repeat six times.
  • Session II is a 40-minute total workout. Run two minutes, then walk one minute and repeat eight times.
  • Session III is a 40-minute total workout. Run two minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat ten times.

Week 4

  • Session I is a 40-minute total workout. Run two minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat ten times.
  • Session II is a 40-minute total workout. Run three minutes, then walk one minute and repeat six times.
  • Session III is a 40-minute total workout. Run three minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat eight times.

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Couch to 10K – Month Two

Look what you’ve already accomplished! In just four weeks you’ve worked your way up to forty-minute workouts where you’re spending two-thirds of the time running! Keep going!

Once you’ve gotten through the first training month, you’ll probably start noticing huge improvements in your overall conditioning and fitness levels, especially if you started from scratch.

Now it’s time to take it up a notch, but not by too much.

Week 5

  • Session I is a 40-minute total workout. Run four minutes, then walk 90 seconds and repeat six times.
  • Session II is a 40-minute workout. Run four minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat eight times.
  • Session III is a 45-minute workout. Run five minutes, then walk one minute and repeat six times.

Week 6

  • Session I is a 45-minute workout. Run five minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat eight times.
  • Session II is a 45-minute workout. Run seven minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat four times.
  • Session III is a 45-minute workout. Run seven minutes, then walk one minute and repeat six times.

Week 7

  • Session I is a 45-minute Run eight minutes, then walk 90 seconds and repeat four times.
  • Session II is a 50-minute workout. Run ten minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat three times.
  • Session III is a 45-minute workout. Run ten minutes, then walk one minute and repeat three times.

Week 8

  • Session I is a 50-minute Run 12 minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat three times.
  • Session II is a 50-minute workout. Run 15 minutes, then walk 90 seconds and repeat three times.
  • Session III is a 50-minute workout. Run 20 minutes, then walk one minute and repeat two times.

Couch to 10K – Month Three

This is where you start challenging yourself. Keep going strong and do what you have to do to get things done. You’re almost there, and you should be proud of yourself! You’ve got this!

Week 9

  • Session I is a 55-minute workout. Run 25 minutes, then walk for two minutes and repeat two times.
  • Session II is a 50-minute workout. Run 30 minutes, then walk two minutes and run 20 minutes.
  • Session III is a 55-minute workout. Run 35 minutes, then walk three minutes and run 15 minutes.

Week 10

  • Session I is a 50-minute workout. Run 30 minutes, then walk two minutes, then run 15 minutes.
  • Session II is a 55-minute workout. Run 35 minutes, then walk three minutes and then run 10 minutes.
  • Session III is a 45-minute workout. Run 40 minutes.

Week 11

  • Session I is a 45-minute workout. Run 40 minutes.
  • Session II is a 50-minute workout. Run 45 minutes.
  • Session III is a 60-minute workout. Run 30 minutes, then walk five minutes, then run 20 minutes.

Week 12

  • Session I is a 45-minute workout. Run 40 minutes.
  • Session II is a 50-minute workout. Run 45 minutes.
  • Session III is a 70-minute workout. Run 35 minutes, then walk three minutes, then run 20 minutes.

Week 13

  • Session I is a 60-minute workout. Run 50 minutes.
  • Session II is a 45-minute workout. Run 20 minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat two times.
  • Session III is a 40-minute workout. Run 15 minutes, then walk two minutes and repeat two times.

Last Day

Race Day– YOU’VE GOT THIS THIS! Run 6.2 miles.

10K Racing Tips For Beginners

Before you jump into the 10K race, keep the following tips and guidelines on mind.

Recover Well

The last week before the big day, do your 50-minute long run. But in the two to three days before the race, rest and let your body recover and recharge.

Sign Up Early

To keep training consistent, sign up for a race as early as possible. That way, you’ll have a clear goal to work toward.

Once you’ve picked an event, make sure you build your training volume gradually and slowly.

Get Ready The Night Before

To keep your mind focused on the race instead of everything else, lay your running gear and items the night before the race, then try to get as much sleep as possible, aiming for 8 to 9 of high-quality uninterrupted sleep.

Be Realistic

A 10K for a complete beginner is super hard.

Although the 10K distance is perfectly doable, set yourself a reasonable finishing time that’s personal to you and aim to have fun.

Typical times for recreational runners range from 40 to 60 minutes.

For example, if you’re a complete beginner, planning to run the whole event under 45-minutes might not be within your reach. You might be setting yourself up for a painful setback. And you don’t want that.

And more importantly? Try to get to the finish line in one piece and with a smile on your face, no matter how long it takes you to get there. Your first event should be fun, or it’s a no deal.

Pace Yourself

Whether you’re planning to run a 30-minute or 90-minute 10K, proper pacing is crucial to running your best race.

The key is to start slow…really slow. If you go out faster than your goal pace, you’ll risk burning out early.

Don’t let your ego dictate your pace. Trying to chew more than you can swallow will only set you up for an early exit. And you don’t want that.

Run the first 20 percent of the race slower than you usually would, with the goal of finishing strong.

I’d recommend that you approach the 10K distance by dividing it into two 5Ks. Run the first 5K at an easy, very easy, pace. Then, once you’re past the 5K mark, gradually increase your speed and make each mile a bit faster so that once you reach the final stretch, you’re definitely at your max.

Eat For Performance

On Race day, eat something that provides you with enough energy but without upsetting your stomach.

That’s why you need to test out different eating strategies during your regular weekday runs. That’s how you’d know what works and what doesn’t. Race day is never the day for testing a new fueling strategy.

Listen to Your Body

This is the most important advice –whether you end up racing or not. When you’re a newcomer to the sport of running, it’s gonna take your body a while to adapt to high-impact exercise, and this usually results in a few aches and pains.

If you’re experiencing acute pain while racing, stop running immediately and seek medical help, but if you’re mildly sore, rest for a day and see how you feel.

What’s more?

If you just got a classic, not-so-serious, running injuries such as blisters or chafing, then consider it a badge of honor and just push through.

For more tips check the following links:

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Conclusion

And that’s it. The above guidelines are you all need to go from a complete couch potato to a 10K accomplished runner.

Just make sure to take action on what you’ve just learned, and never give up. The rest is just detail.

Thank you for dropping by.

Keep Running Strong.

David D.

The 12-week couch-to-10k training plan to make the most of the Irish summer*

AFTER A WINTER lasting approximately three years, the good weather finally made itself known over the past week which means that we can all, hopefully, put the thermals away until next October.

If you’ve been braving the hail, rain and lots and lots of snow, then fair play but this is not the training plan for you.

If, however, you’ve decided that Ireland not being at the World Cup means you won’t spend the summer in front of the TV, then this could help.

Week 1

This is a nice easy start to the whole thing. It might not feel like you’re doing a whole lot, but that cliché about a journey of a thousand miles exists for a reason.

Monday – 1.5km
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 2.5km
Thursday – 1.5km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 2.5km
Sunday – Rest

Week 2

You should start to feel it this week. Try and up your pace a little on the Saturday run and the Sunday one will seem a breeze.

Monday – 3km
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 2km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 4km
Sunday – 3km

Week 3

We calm things down a little in week three just to give your feet, knees a lungs a bit of a breather.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 3km
Wednesday – 5km
Thursday – 4km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 6km
Sunday – Rest

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Week 4

We’re one-third of the way through and we’re going to aim to hit 5k twice this week. The second time around, time it to get a sense of where you are.

(Spoiler: There’s no such thing as a bad time, this is your body, your limits).

Monday – 4km
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 5km
Thursday – 3km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5km – (timed)
Sunday – A

Week 5

This might be the toughest week you’ll face but trust us, it’s a good thing that you’ll feel tired, especially on Friday and that rest day is key to your success this week.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 4km
Wednesday – 5km
Thursday – 4km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 7km
Sunday – 3km

Week 6

Your reward for those efforts last week is a handy enough week, though you probably wouldn’t have called 19k ‘handy’ back in week one.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 5km
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 4km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5km
Sunday – 5km

Week 7

This might seem like another easy week considering the work you’ve put in so far but, when you see what’s coming up, you’ll look back on this week and thank us.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 4km
Wednesday – 6km
Thursday – 4km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5km
Sunday – Rest or 3km

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Week 8

You’re two-thirds of the way there and things step up a gear this week. By now, you should be timing all of your runs, but feel free to leave the watch behind for Sunday’s long run.

Monday – 6km
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 6km
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 3km
Saturday – 3km
Sunday – 8km

Week 9

We bet you’re looking back on week seven quite fondly now?

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 6km
Wednesday – 6km
Thursday – 5km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5km
Sunday – 8km

Week 10

You’re so close to achieving your goal now and, because you’ve been doing so well — and run further than you’ve maybe ever done — we’re throwing in a bonus rest day.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 5km
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 5km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 9km
Sunday – Rest

Week 11

Look at you running 5ks like they’re nobody’s business.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 5km
Wednesday – 5km
Thursday – 5km
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5km
Sunday – 9km

Week 12

In the build up to the 10k on Sunday, we’ve made the rest of this week about keeping your legs ticking over.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 5km
Wednesday – 4km
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 3km
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – 10km

And that’s it, you’ve done it.

Just remember running is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

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10k in 12 weeks

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