10K Training : Novice

About the Novice Program

This program has been designed for new runners looking for a training program to prepare them for a 10K race. Or for experienced runners, looking for an easy schedule involving a relatively low level of weekly miles. Each day, Hal will send you an email telling you what to run and also offering tips about training.

5.0 rating
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At a glance

Author: Hal Higdon Length: 8 Weeks Typical Week: 2 Day Off, 3 Run, 2 X-Train Longest Workout: 5.5 miles

Run With Hal app

For runners who want personalized year-round training, using the Higdon method.

  • Start training for free — or upgrade to Hal+ to fully customize your plan
  • Track your progress with personal stats and charts
  • Record your runs with GPS (Hal+ only)
  • Hal adapts to your goals, performance, and schedule (Hal+ only)
  • Train for multiple races at once (Hal+ only)

Interactive Novice program

For runners who want the same time-tested Hal Higdon training plans.

  • Stay motivated for the marathon with daily tips from Hal in your inbox
  • View and manage your calendar
  • Monitor your progress within TrainingPeaks’ online tools and apps
  • Access charts and graphs to understand training load
  • Tap into TrainingPeaks experience

Hal on his Novice Program

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO TRAIN TO RUN 10K? 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. That might include running shorter races, such as a 5K or an 8K.

But if you’ve made the decision to run a 10K 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 10K. (For those metrically challenged, 10K 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 10K 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 10K, 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 10K Novice Program, and in many of my other training plans from 5K 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 10K 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 10K walking program if you decide to walk rather than run your goal 10K.)

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.

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 2.5 mi run 30 min cross 2 mi run Rest 40 min cross 3 mi run
2 Rest 2.5 mi run 30 min cross 2 mi run Rest 40 min cross 3.5 mi run
3 Rest 2.5 mi run 35 min cross 2 mi run Rest 50 min cross 4 mi run
4 Rest 3 mi run 35 min cross 2 mi run Rest 50 min cross 4 mi run
5 Rest 3 mi run 40 min cross 2 mi run Rest 60 min cross 4.5 mi run
6 Rest 3 mi run 40 min cross 2 mi run Rest 60 min cross 5 mi run
7 Rest 3 mi run 45 min cross 2 mi run Rest 60 min cross 5.5 mi run
8 Rest 3 mi run 30 min cross 2 mi run Rest Rest 10K Run
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 4.0 km run 30 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 40 min cross 4.8 km run
2 Rest 4.0 km run 30 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 40 min cross 5.9 km run
3 Rest 4.0 km run 35 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 50 min cross 6.4 km run
4 Rest 4.8 km run 35 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 50 min cross 6.4 km run
5 Rest 4.8 km run 40 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 60 min cross 7.3 km run
6 Rest 4.8 km run 40 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 60 min cross 8.1 km run
7 Rest 4.8 km run 45 min cross 3.2 km run Rest 60 min cross 8.9 km run
8 Rest 4.8 km run 30 min cross 3.2 km run Rest Rest 10K Run

Additional 10K Training Programs


Novice 10k

5.0 rating
October 15, 2019

This program was fantastic in helping me build my endurance and distance gradually without injuries. I successfully ran my first 10k yesterday. Thanks so much for a great program!


Stupid question I have....

5.0 rating
October 7, 2019

I’m running now according to this program and I think it’s great! But once you reach the 10k, how do you go from there? How do you maintain it?

Liat Gavish

Great program

5.0 rating
September 24, 2019

From couch to 10k if you follow the program….it worked for me….100% recommended!


Perfect Training Program

5.0 rating
September 3, 2019

Recently used this 10K training program to train for my first ever race. Prior to training, I had probably never run more than two miles on a single run. This training program was the perfect blend of challenging and doable – the weekend long runs were good for building confidence gradually at a steady ramp curve. At about halfway through the eight weeks, I actually started to look forward to the next long run.
The 10K race went great and I could definitely see myself moving on to a half-marathon next.

Zach E.

Response from Hal Higdon

Glad the plan worked out, Zach, and congrats on the successful race!

A great follow up to beginners running programs

5.0 rating
July 22, 2019

I had just finished Couch to 5k, which puts me in a class with a lot of new runners, and I found this program to be a great next step. Of course Hal has his own 5k plans, but I hadn’t yet been introduced to those.
I completed this program pretty much to the letter and found each distance run to be challenging enough to feel accomplished, and I loved using the shorter runs as opportunities to push myself on pace.
I’m looking forward to starting the Novice Base program this week to carry me through the hot summer and will likely begin on HH Novice 1 Half Marathon after that.
Thanks to Hal for creating some wonderful programs to help people change their lives for the better.


Response from Hal Higdon

Cory: Thanks for your kind words. Good luck with the half marathon training!

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