10K Training Plan & Schedule
Most runners considering the 10K already have the miles under their belts to compete adequately in the distance. The Cool Running training program enhances that endurance while sharpening the pace through speedwork.
Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2013
The 10K is the single event where any runner can enjoy the full range of everything road racing has to offer. As a test of both speed and endurance, this distance combines the best aspects of the 5K and marathon. That means that improving your 10K performance can put you in striking distance of improvements at those other distances as well. In fact, much of the appeal of the 10K is not only that it demands versatility of runners, but also that it helps to develop it within them. Running the 10K often means running better.
Most runners considering the 10K already have the miles under their belts to compete adequately in the distance. The challenge is to sharpen the pace through speedwork. Cool Running's 10K training plans are designed to develop endurance without neglecting those fast-twitch muscles.
Keep in mind, of course, that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training program. While the 10K training schedules offered here are solid and dependable, you should feel free to tinker with them and make them your own. Adapt them to your own rhythms.
By following one of these 10K training schedules, you will develop gradually through four training phases: endurance, strength, speed and tapering (for more info on these, check out "Road Rhythms," our survey of the training cycle). Before you begin your 10K training, be sure you're in shape to keep up with the 10K training schedule you select. Each 10K training plan includes a schedule for a "pre-training week" to help you gauge your level of fitness. Take a few weeks to build up your running level in order to run the mileage for that week comfortably. You can do this by adding one mile to your long run each week. You should be able to run that pre-training schedule comfortably for four to five weeks before beginning the 10K training plan.
Beginning runners, take note: we recommend that runners put off training for races until their bodies have adapted to the strain of running. Tendons and ligaments can be injured all too easily if you go from ground-zero to 5K-racing too quickly. Before you start training for your first race, establish a six-month foundation of running. During that base stage, slowly build through easy, consistent training runs as your body adapts to the rigors of the road. After that, come back and tackle one of our beginner training programs.
The advanced program includes many weeks with no days off, and the competitive program has no days off at all. Instead of days of complete rest, these schedules build in easy days of relatively light mileage. There exists a philosophical difference in approach to training -- whether to take the day off entirely or simply to go light on the miles. For the advanced and competitive schedules, we've chosen the latter. For those who would prefer the former, however, those light days can be replaced by days of complete rest. Do what feels comfortable for you.
10K Training Plans
Beginner 10K Training Plan
For runners who run 15 to 25 miles per week and expect to run the 10K in 48:00 and up for men, or 54:00 and up for women. You should have at least six months of running experience.
Intermediate 10K Training Plan
For runners who run 25 to 50 miles per week and expect to run the 10K between 40:00 and 48:00 for men, or 44:00 and 52:00.
Advanced 10K Training Plan
For runners who run 40 to 60 miles per week and expect to run the 10K between 34:00 and 40:00 for men, or 38:00 and 44:00 for women.
Competitive 10K Training Plan
For runners who run over 50 miles per week and expect to run the 10K under 34:00 for men, or 38:00 for women.