10k Training Plan


This page has a 10k training plan, race-day tips, and some other guidance to help you prepare for your race and meet your goal.

The 10k is considered by many runners to be the distance that separates the middle distance runners from the long distance runners. A 5k (3.1 miles) race is a much quicker race with a heavy emphasis on speed. The 10k (6.2 miles) race is a nice balance of speed and endurance, and the 10k training plan below weaves those factors into the schedule to build up both your stamina and your pace.

There are not very many people out there that have the luxury of an open schedule in life. Most of us have to squeeze our training runs in our busy and hectic lives and work around higher priorities like family, work, etc...

The 10k training plan below is a low-mileage plan, but you’ll notice that Tuesdays are distance days and Saturdays are speed days. If you’re training in the winter (not much evening daylight), or if it’s not feasible to workout that long on a weekday night, try switching the Tuesday and Saturday workouts to meet your schedule. There are more tips below on how to tweak the schedule to customize it for you.

While this 10k training plan works…it may not be a good fit for everyone. If you are only running 2-3 days per week now you may want to build a transition period before you jump into this 8-week schedule that includes 4-5 days of running per week. If you’re a long-distance runner, and you’re already running long training runs (>7 miles), you may want to treat Tuesdays as an easy distance day and add a tempo run, intermittently, on Mondays or Thursdays.

The bottom line is that you’ll need to look at the 10k training plan below and make adjustments to meet your current conditions and schedule. Below are the building blocks for any successful distance running training plan:

  • Distance
    Being able to complete 6.2 miles should be your first priority. If you’re a middle-distance runner (5k), and have not run many runs over 5 miles, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t miss the long training runs. These should be incremental & gradual increases of your maximum mileage.  Try adding 1-mile to your longest run each week and build yourself up to 7-10 miles depending on how many weeks you have until the race. There are many speedsters that will lose steam with 2-miles to go, because they didn’t place much emphasis on the long-run. Don’t forget the distance days!
  • Speed
    Speed or Interval workouts are the best way to get faster and set a new PR (personal record). The 10k training plan below is geared for the runner that is going for a PR and has some experience with interval workouts. The plan below has a number of speed workouts in the form of interval and tempo runs. If you have access to a local track, that’s the best way to time a measured distance for the intervals. If not, there are other tools out there. I have had a lot of success with the Garmin Forerunner interval training feature. I can pre-set the interval and rest distances and it chimes and beeps to let me know when to start & stop. It also records my lap times to view after the workout. It can be a refreshing break from going to the track or a good training tool if getting to a track is not convenient. Whatever method you chose to measure and record your speed workouts, make sure that you conduct these intervals at a slightly quicker pace than your goal 10k race pace.
  • Rest
    The most important part of your 10k training plan is rest. The best training plan is the one that includes enough time to gradually increase stamina and speed to meet your goal. This includes rest. You’ll notice that the plan below only has 4-5 days of running per week. Is it possible to run more? Sure…but you’ll put yourself at a higher risk of getting injured. Some weeks I’ve run 6 and 7 days per week, but I usually follow that up with a week of 4-5 days of easy running. Many, many runners have spent weeks and even months nursing an over-use injury…it’s not worth the extra training day…don’t forget to rest!



The 8-week 10k Training Plan

This 10k training plan is for you, if

  • You are currently running at least 10+ miles per week.
  • Your longest run is 4 miles or longer.
  • You have at least 8 weeks before your scheduled 10k race


Week 1 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 5-mile easy distance
  • Wednesday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Thursday 3-mile easy run
  • Friday Rest
  • Saturday 1x400m & 1x800m interval (+ warm-up & cool-down)
  • Sunday Rest


Week 2 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 6-mile easy run
  • Wednesday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Thursday4-mile easy run
  • Friday Rest
  • Saturday 400m,800m,1-mile at goal pace (+ warm-up & cool-down)
  • Sunday Rest


Week 3 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 7-mile easy run
  • Wednesday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Thursday4-mile easy run
  • Friday Rest
  • Saturday 3x400m & 2x800m with 1-mile warm-up & cool-down
  • Sunday Rest


Week 4 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 8-mile easy run
  • Wednesday3-mile easy run
  • Thursday4-mile easy run
  • Friday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Saturday 4 x 800m with 1-mile warm-up & cool-down
  • Sunday Rest


Week 5 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 9-mile easy run
  • Wednesday 3-mile easy run
  • Thursday 4-mile easy run
  • Friday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Saturday 5 x 800m with 1-mile warm-up & cool-down
  • Sunday Rest


Week 6 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 10-mile easy run
  • Wednesday 3-mile easy run
  • Thursday 4-mile easy run
  • Friday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Saturday 6 x 800m with 1-mile warm-up & cool-down
  • Sunday Rest


Week 7

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 5-mile tempo run
  • Wednesday 3-mile easy run
  • Thursday 4-mile easy run
  • Friday Cross-Train (elliptical, bike, rowing,,,)
  • Saturday 7 x 800m with 1-mile warm-up & cool-down
  • Sunday Rest


Week 8 

  • Monday 4-mile easy run
  • Tuesday 4-mile easy run
  • Wednesday 3-mile easy run
  • Thursday 3-mile easy run
  • Friday Rest
  • Saturday Race Day - 10k!!


Long, Slow, Distance:   Run these at a comfortable pace 

Easy run:  3-5 mile training run, try not to meet or exceed race pace

Rest / Cross-Train:  Rest or do some other light non-running cardio

Speed:  Interval work or tempo runs - slightly faster than race goal pace

I’d highly recommend molding and modifying the above 10k training plan to make it your own. Lay down the foundation blocks of distance, speed, and rest.

Next, fill in the details such as finding the best time of day to run and what your pace should be. Pace can be a tricky part of your training program. Sometimes, I find myself feeling great on an easy day so I open it up and run a much faster workout. If I had a hard workout planned for the next day, I just blew it!

Make sure that you keep easy days easy, so that you’re well rested enough for the hard workout days.

If you’re looking for a good goal time for the 10k, check out the Race Prediction Calculator. This will help you set a good goal time, based on your prior performances.

If this is your first race, try doing a time trial at the track and use this time in the Race Prediction Calculator to predict your 10k race time. Your goal pace is a big part of your 10k training plan pacing, so do your best to set a realistic and attainable goal.

Race day will come quickly and all of your hard work that you put into your 10k training plan will soon pay off.

Here are a few pointers to help make sure that you perform your best on race day:

  1. Don’t try anything new on race day.  New socks, new shoes, new energy gels have all failed many veteran runners on race day. It’s best to go with what you know. If you didn’t drink water during your training runs, don’t think that you need to stop at every water stop because they have them in a 6.2 mile race. Do what you did in training. If you want to try something new, try it a few weeks before the race to see if you like it.
  2. Pack the night before. Try to do all of those tedious little race tasks ahead of time: laying out your clothes; lacing your timing chip in your shoe (if applicable); pin the bib on your shirt if you have it; pack your post-race snack, etc… You may get the pre-race jitters in the morning and you don’t want to forget anything important…so lay it all out the night before!
  3. Start off slow! The races where I’ve actually followed this advice have been some of the best races of my life. When I go out too fast, I’ve always paid for it in the end. Take the first ½ mile to warm-up and let the “rabbits” take off. Chances are that it will be very hard for you to run as slow as your goal pace with the adrenalin of the start. If you can hold yourself back in that first mile and run an even pace, you’ll have so much more energy in the end. You have 6.2 miles to run. It’s far better to ease into the race than it is to blast out of the starting blocks. Try it…you’ll see what I mean.
  4. Don’t stop moving after you finish. When you cross the finish-line, you’re going to want to stop and sit down and savor the moment…don’t do it. All of that lactic acid is still sitting in your muscles. The more you walk around, the better you’ll feel the next morning. For long-distance training runs and races, I usually use a massage stick to further work out the lactic acid. It has cut down on my recovery time significantly.

Now that you’re all set with your 10k training plan…put it into action. Keep a running log and do your best to stay on track. If you miss a workout…don’t beat yourself up…modify your plan and keep going.

Very few of my training plans have gone unchanged from start to finish…weather...family…moods…life…there are too many factors to consider…so make your 10k training plan as flexible as you can.

Best of luck in your race! Happy running ;-)


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