Training Tips from the Coaches: How to Train for a 10K

Learning how to train for a 10K is no small feat, especially if you’ve never run one before. Perhaps you’re a new runner and have a few 5K’s under your belt, and you’re ready to lace up your running shoes to embark on a training plan for a 10K, and then maybe even a half marathon. 

Remember, no matter what you’re training for, focus on proper nutrition, have rest days when you need them, and incorporate cross-training and strength training into your schedule as needed. You’ll toe the line for your 10k feeling healthy and confident!

Training Tips from the Coaches: How to Train for a 10K

Our expert coaches are here to help! Here are our coaches top tips for how to train for a 10K: 

Coach Elizabeth“I heard once that the 10K is like the 5K’s ugly step-sister–Often ignored and usually disliked. But if you ask me, it’s a great race. I call it a long sprint. You need resiliency AND speed. Don’t neglect either in the build-up to your race day.

In your training schedule, this means including “race-specific” workouts done at the same pace as the goal race, but they also have about the same volume as the race itself.”

– Coach Elizabeth

Coach Nate“Remember we play how we practice! So, if you want to run a particular time, it’s imperative that you add speed work like race pace intervals into your training program every week. Start with shorter intervals of 3 x 2-3 minutes to get a good feel, and then progress to 3 x 6-10 minutes as the race gets closer.

At 10k pace, these intervals will feel quite challenging but they’ll give you the pacing experience, confidence and physiological gains to have a great 10k all the way through the finish line.” 

– Coach Nate

Coach Holly“The 10K marries grit with endurance. You can’t leave it all out on the table from the beginning, but there’s not enough time to leave too much fuel in the tank either.

Spend a big chunk of your training program learning your zones–such as how hard you can push and for how long, so that your plan on race day comes down to a science, not hopes and prayers. Tempo runs are the key here for gaining endurance.” 

– Coach Holly

Coach Morgan“The 10k can be a tricky distance because it’s right in between a sprint and an endurance run. That means you have to devote equal time to both your speed work and your long steady runs.

The 10k can be the best of both worlds and will require both grit and determination to complete a 10k training schedule.”

– Coach Morgan 


Coach Edward“I think that mentally you have to accept that you have to run at uncomfortable paces (faster than a tempo) for longer-than-you’re-used-to periods of time. That’s what makes it a hard-but-honest race distance. It’s typically right at the edge of your lactate threshold, which means that it’s mostly an anaerobic effort.

Anaerobic efforts all come with a countdown timer– you can only run that fast for so long before you exhaust glycogen stores. The good thing is that lactate threshold levels can be improved with training. Your training plan will need to include longer intervals that ride that uncomfortable edge so that your body learns to better buffer the lactate.”

–Coach Edward

Pro-tip: When race day comes, be sure to warm up and cool down properly before and after the race. Your muscles need to be warm and limber before you launch into the race, and even though you’ll be exhausted after, invest in 10 minutes of light jogging and stretching to prevent soreness and reduce the risk of injury later. 

Check out Coach Holly’s videos on how to easily warm up and cool down:

Are you ready to embark on your journey towards an awesome 10k and run a personal record? We are here to help!

Download our new mobile app full of tips, videos, training advice, and motivation to get you started. Don’t forget to check out our broad range of training programs to help you reach your running and fitness goals, too!