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.
At a glanceAuthor: Hal Higdon Length: 8 Weeks Typical Week: 2 Day Off, 3 Run, 2 X-Train Longest Workout: 5.5 miles
What do I get?
- Stay motivated for the 10K with daily tips from Hal in your inbox
- Monitor your progress within TrainingPeaks’ online tools, apps, and wearable integrations
- 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.
|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|
|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|
Training Actually Works!
When I ran a few half marathons several years ago, I used Hal’s training schedules and was always surprised when I moved from knocking out a 3 miler to actually running 13.1! Now I’m 50, and I haven’t been running consistently for about 3 years. My husband got us to sign up for a 10K as motivation to be more consistent. When we started training, 2 miles was do-able, but 6.2 was out of the question! However, we committed to the plan, and are at 5 mile runs four weeks before the race. The plan really does work – even at 50 and 50 PLUS! Find something or someone to motivate you and consistently stick to the plan! If we can do it – so can you!
Response from Hal Higdon
Jennifer: Glad to hear the plan worked, and thank you for your review. Stride on!
10k at 12
This program helped my son run his first 10k with ease. Since this he has also ran a half marathon at age 13. He is now training for a full marathon.
Training program proven and being shared
My oldest daughter used the program to train for her first marathon last year and it went so well that she is sharing it with my husband to train for his first marthon ever in December at age 58 and today they ran 15 miles together. Meanwhile she outlined this program for me to use to train for my first 10K in December and she is confident it will help me succeed.
These Programs are Awesome
Thank Hal – this program is helping me progress at a higher rate than ever before. I would recommend any runner to check these out.
I always come back to hal higdon’s plans. I have used them for short fast races and long trail runs. I have passed them onto many friends.
Response from Hal Higdon
Lisa, thank you for the review. Stride on!