Training for a 10K: A Schedule that Works for Everyone

You might be a somewhat new runner who has already conquered a few 5k races. You’re ready to take it to the next level. A 10k might feel intimidating because it’s twice the distance. However, we’ve got you covered with a 10k training plan that can work for any schedule to get you ready for race day. 

Training for a 10K: A Schedule that Works for Everyone

Let’s follow along with Coach Nate to learn more about a 10k training schedule that will have you lacing up your running shoes to get started in no time. This plan is focused on quality workouts that will take you to the next level. He’ll teach you how to set a foundation as a healthy runner and have an get you the finish line of a 10k–and hopefully a personal record! 

First of all, you want to give yourself about 8 to 10 weeks to properly train for a 10k. We will start with about three to four runs each week, with each run having a specific purpose with varied paces, varied terrain, and different techniques. You’ll also want to incorporate some rest days to help you from getting injured and let your body recover. 

man running uphill

Pro-tip: No matter what workout you’re doing, make time to fit in a short warm-up and cool down. This helps your body stay healthy, prevents injury and soreness. 

The Varied Paces Day 

This is a day where you’ll focus on different paces you’ll encounter during any race. It’s like a fartlek or interval run where you focus on different speeds for short periods of time with short recoveries. Beginner runners should start with a 20-30 minute run.

Try running for one minute at an eight out of 10 effort, then jogging for a minute. Then run 30 seconds at a nine out of 10 effort and jog for 30 seconds. Play with the intervals as you feel comfortable. Add a few minutes each week until you’re up to 40 minutes or more. 

The Tempo/Speed Work Day 

One of your runs will be a faster run, also called a tempo run. Advanced runners can do two of them per week, but beginner runners should start out with one quality speed session per week.

10k training is more about running strength and stamina than sprinting or all-out speed. So, we want to spend time focusing on varied terrain like hills and sections of extended race pace effort–anywhere from three to eight minutes at a time. 

For example, you might start out the first week with a 20-minute run where you run three minutes at 10k race pace three times. Recover by jogging for one to two minutes in between each interval. Each week, lengthen the amount of time of that tempo interval by one minute and add one more interval per run. 

woman running

The Long Run Day 

When you’re training for a 10k, you don’t need to go overboard with 15 or 20 mile weekly runs–you’re not training for a half marathon here. But, you do need to get comfortable running at least the 10k distance. Beginner runners should build up to that 10k distance over 8 to 10 weeks. 

So, your first and second week might have a long run of three to four miles. Your third and fourth week can go up to five, and then the rest of the weeks should go up to six or seven miles each to get you comfortable that 10k distance. 

The Fun Run Day

At The Run Experience, we like to keep a focus on the joy of running. So, that’s why we incorporate a “fun run” day where you’re not focused on anything specific–you’re just running for the pure joy of it. 

Go with whatever you’re feeling that day. Enjoy a new trail run you haven’t explored. If you’re feeling super strong, do some hill repeats. If you’re feeling mellow, keep it down to a dull roar. This day is up to you! 

Planning Your Training Schedule

The reason this plan is somewhat loose and not very strict in structure is so that you can plan it around your schedule.  Everyone has a busy schedule with life and responsibilities outside of running. Play with the intensity level of each run as you progress throughout the weeks.

So, take these workouts–varied paces workout, the speed/tempo workout, the long run day, and the fun run day and work them around your specific schedule.

Maybe you like to run early in the morning before work or school. Perhaps you like to get a boost from a workout during your lunch break. It’s okay to run in the evening, but try not to workout two to three hours before you go to bed–it can impair your sleep. 

Pro-tip: Especially if you’re just getting started, incorporate some cross-training, mobility work, and strength training into your training program. Lower impact cross-training such as yoga, pilates, and swimming improve your cardiovascular capabilities, keep you limber, reduce soreness, and your risk of injury. 

Ready to get started? Don’t forget to download our new mobile app for access to coaching advice, daily video workouts, injury prevention tips, and complete training programs that will help motivate and inspire your training program!