10-K Training Guide - Novice Program

Click here for the TrainingPeaks interactive 10-K programs 

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO TRAIN TO RUN 10-K? If you possess a good level of fitness (because of participation in other sports) you probably could run a half dozen miles on very little training. The same if you have run a 5-K or an 8-K race before.

But if you've made the decision to run a 10-K race you might as well do it right. Following is an eight-week training schedule to help get you to the finish line of a 10-K. (For those metrically challenged,10-K is 6.2 miles.) 

The program is designed for beginning runners, but experienced runners like it too, because of its gentle approach. To participate in this 10-K program, you should have no major health problems, and perhaps have done at least some jogging or walking. If running 2.5 miles for your first workout on Tuesday of the first week seems too difficult, you might want to pause before taking your first steps. If you have more than eight weeks before your 10-K, switch to an easier (shorter) schedule to build an endurance base.

The terms used in the training schedule are somewhat obvious, but let me explain what I mean anyway.

Rest: The first word you encounter in the 10-K Novice Program, and in many of my other training plans from 5-K to the marathon, is "rest." I suggest you rest on Fridays before your weekend workouts and on Mondays after those workouts. You can't train efficiently if fatigued. Take rest days seriously.

Running workouts: As a novice, don't worry about how fast you run; just cover the distance--or approximately the distance suggested each day. Ideally, you should be able to run at a pace that allows you to converse comfortably with any training partners. In the 10-K Novice plan, you run three days of the week: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 

Cross-Training: On the schedule, this is identified simply as "cross." Wednesdays and Saturdays are cross-training days: swimming, cycling, walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or other forms of aerobic training. But don't cross-train too vigorously. Cross-training days should be easy days.

Long Runs: The longest runs are planned for Sundays, since you probably have more time to do them on the weekends. If Sunday isn't a convenient day for your long runs, feel free to do them on Saturday, cross-training on Sundays. What pace should you run? Go slow. Don't be afraid to take walking breaks. Just cover the distance.

Strength Training: Have you lifted before? If not, you may not want to start the same time you start a running program. Tuesdays and Thursdays are good days for strength training--after your run. Stretching also is important to keep your muscles loose.

Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise that a lot of runners overlook in their training. In the training schedule below, I don't specify walking workouts, but feel free to walk during your running workouts any time you feel tired or need a break. (Be aware that I have a separate 10-K walking program if you decide to walk rather than run your goal 10-K.)

The following schedule is only a guide. If necessary, you can make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule. The interactive programs available from TrainingPeaks offer much more detailed instructions.

Training for the 10-K

Click Here for a printer-friendly version of the Novice schedule.


Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 2.5 m run 30 min cross 2 m run Rest 40 min cross 3 m run
2 Rest 2.5 m run 30 min cross 2 m run Rest 40 min cross 3.5 m run
3 Rest 2.5 m run 35 min cross 2 m run Rest 50 min cross 4 m run
4 Rest 3 m run 35 min cross 2 m run Rest 50 min cross 4 m run
5 Rest 3 m run 40 min cross 2 m run Rest 60 min cross 4.5 m run
6 Rest 3 m run 40 min cross 2 m run Rest 60 min cross 5 m run
7 Rest 3 m run 45 min cross 2 m run Rest 60 min cross 5.5 m run
8 Rest 3 m run 30 min cross 2 m run Rest Rest 10-K Run

10-K Training: Novice | Intermediate | Advanced | Walk

Click here for the TrainingPeaks interactive 10-K programs