Run Tucson

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10K Training Plan

Training for a 10K

When you are comfortable running 3 miles and want your next challenge, the 10K distance is the best next step.  Or maybe you’ve been racing longer distances and want to take a break from higher volume but still have a training goal.  At Run Tucson, we think the 10K is the perfect race distance!  Training for a 10K will typically result with you feeling healthy and fit and ready to take on more (if you choose).   

First time 10K runner

The most important training goal for your first 10K is getting comfortable being on your feet for 6.2 miles.  Whether you want to run the whole distance or use walking breaks, gradually building up from 3 miles to 6 miles and staying consistent is key.

Here is a sample 6 week build-up plan:

The goal for your first 10K is getting comfortable on your feet for 6.2 miles.  Whether you run the whole distance or include some walking intervals, gradually and steadily building up to 6 miles is key.  It won’t take long if you stay consistent and you’ll feel much stronger by the end.  Here is a 6 week mileage build-up plan for beginners: 
Week 1:  This plan assumes that you will run 4 times each week.  We recommend doing some type of recovery exercise the other days of the week, such as walking, biking, swimming, yoga/pilates or gentle stretching and foam rolling.
  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 4 miles (if necessary, include a 1-2 min. walking interval after 3 mi.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 4.5 miles (if necessary, include a walking interval after mile 3 & 4.)

Week 2:

  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 4.5 miles (if necessary, include a 1-2 min. walking interval after miles 3 & 4.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 4.5 miles (try to reduce walking break to 1-2 minutes after mile 4.)
Week 3: 

  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 4.5 miles (if necessary, include a 1-2 min. walking interval after mile 4.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 5 miles (walking break after mile 4 if necessary.)

 Week 4:

  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 5 miles (if necessary, include a 1-2 min. walking interval after mile 4.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 5.5 miles (walking break after miles 4 and 5,  if necessary.)

 Week 5:

  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 5.5 miles (walking break after mile 5, if necessary.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 6 miles (walking break after mile 5,  if necessary.)

 Week 6:  Ready for a 10K!

  • Run 1= 3 miles
  • Run 2= 6 miles (walking break after mile 5, if necessary.)
  • Run 3= 2 miles
  • Run 4= 10K (6.2 miles)

Experienced 10K Runner:

If you’ve done 10K’s before, you know it takes a unique combination of speed and stamina as well as a moderately robust cardio base to do well.  Starting with the cardio base, make sure you are getting in a solid 35-40 miles a week and comfortable doing an 8-10 mile run before implementing this training plan.   

Weeks 1-3:  This plan assumes 1 full rest day (no running) each week.  You can substitute one of the 3-4 mile recovery days with 30-40 minutes of an alternate recovery exercise, such as easy swim, bike, elliptical or Ellipti-Go.  If you do strength work, include it on the same days as your harder runs (run 2, 4 and 5), not on your recovery days.  Do 3 weeks of the following:
  • Run 1= 5-7 mi. @ your comfortable aerobic pace (Effort Level 2 out of 5).
  • Run 2=  6-8 mi. with strides.  After a few warm-up miles, alternate 20 seconds building speed with 40 seconds of recovery jog for 1 mile.  Strides are best done on grass or a softer path.  Follow the strides with a couple easy miles to close out the run.
  • Run 3= 3-4 mi. @ your most comfortable aerobic pace (Effort Level 1.5 = recovery mode).
  • Run 4= 6-8 mi. with tempo.  After a few warm-up miles, do a 20 minute tempo run (Effort level 3 out of 5).  During the tempo run focus on staying steady at a pace that feels challenging but manageable.  If you had to, you could do more at this pace.  Follow it up with a couple easy miles to close out the run.
  • Run 5= 9-10 mi. @ your comfortable aerobic pace.
  • Run 6= 3-4 mi. @ your most comfortable pace/ recovery mode.