If you have already reached the running level of a 5k run or followed the 5k running plan here, then you might be ready to tackle the next step – 10k.
Once you’ve checked the local 10k races that are available in your area, then you just need a plan….
…here’s the way to do it!
1. Develop awareness of what you want from your 10k run
First of all, assess your level of experience how close you are to being running fit. If this is the first time you have run a 10k, then your aim will probably be just to get round the course.
Equally, if you are experienced, then you’ll be more focused on achieving a better time than last time.
This matters, because there is an easy way to build up to a 10k run – and there is a more complex way, which simply requires more time, focus and commitment, if you want to start to improve your times.
It is wise in all cases, to assume the level of excitement that we start our training won’t be equal throughout! In other words, if we are going to succeed – and that means complete the training, then we are wise if we don’t bite off more than we can chew! So, if in doubt, opt for the easier option, you can always increase the training later if you want to.
2. Set the habit
The next step is to plan your diary. And yes, this means, planning either your paper or electronic diary by setting appointments to go running.
A 10k running plan is typically a 12 week programme. That means you need to be able to run every week – 3 times per week – for the next 12 weeks.
So, if you have holiday or business trips planned, can you take your running shoes and keep jogging? You can do this if you plan.
Equally, when are you going to run? In the morning or in the evening? Or lunch time? Which ever you choose, plan the event in your diary. Do it now.
3. The simple plan
Here is the simple plan. This operates for 12 weeks (or just under 3 months) working back from the actual race day.
Run three times during the week (not on consecutive days) – for
Week 1: 3km, 5km and 3km (total 11km)
Week 2: 3km, 5km and 5km (total 13km)
Week 3: 4km, 5km and 6km (total 15 km)
Week 4: 5km, 6km and 6km (total 17 km)
Week 5: 6km, 6km and 6km (total 18km)
Week 6: 6km, 7km and 7km (total 20km)
Week 7: 8km, 6km and 8km (total 22km)
Week 8: 9km, 6km and 9km (total 24km)
Week 9: 6km, 6km and 6km (total 18km)
Week 10: 10km, 6km and 10km (total 26km)
Week 11: 10km, 6km and 10km (total 26km)
Week 12: 6km, 6km and 5km (total 17km)
Please note, the purpose of this plan is to slowly extend your range – but also to provide sufficient time to recover. Equally, the plan is designed to help you achieve a weekly distance. This means that if you run slightly shorter on some days but longer on others, that’s okay, so long as you are reaching the weekly target.
Also, some weeks are designed to be reduced – in total distance and individual run. This is deliberate as it gives the body time to catch up. Hence, if you need extra time on any particular week, you can always swap these around.
4. Check your gear
You should always use correct running shoes. After that, you can spend as much or as little as you want – so long as the shoes are comfortable and adequately protect your knees by containing sufficient cushion on the heel.
Depending on the time of year, you will need more or less protective clothing.
Also, if you are running in the dark or along roads then a reflective jacket is a wise precaution.
However, if you stick to daylight and use cycle paths or pavements or canal routes, then shorts and a T Shirt of Polo shirt are sufficient.
Often, you’ll see runners wearing a pair of gloves – which makes a surprising difference if it is cold.
5. The 10k running plan for competitors
Now, if you have run a 10k before and want to go faster or better, then you can take the simple plan above and start to add extra trainings.
These can consist of cross-training on your non-running days. Or, if you want to go further, short bursts of high speed running – repeated over and again.
Week 1: 4 x 400m, at fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 2: 4 x 400m, at fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 3: 5 x 400m, at fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 4: 8 x 400m, at fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 5: 3 x 1,200m, at moderately fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 6: 8 x 100m, at fast pace – or up a hill, one minute interval between each run
Week 7: 4 x 1,200m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 8: 2 x 2,400m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 9: 4 x 1,600m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 10: 4 x 1,600m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 11: 5 x 1,600m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Week 12: 2 x 3,200m, at moderate fast pace, one minute interval between each run
Here’s what is important. This addition running is not necessary to finishing the race. This, instead, is designed to help you run faster – if that’s what you want!
Therefore, please feel free to either ignore it, adapt it – by making it simpler, or adopt it entirely.
Essentially, you are training your body to run for shorter distances at a higher speed – but repeating frequently. You can add as much or as little of this ‘extra’ plan to your personal plan as you desire.
6. Find a companion
Lastly, find a companion or fitness trainer that you can run with. Or at least, find a companion that you can share the race with – the more people you know in the race, the easier it becomes.
This last point is probably the most important point when it comes to succeeding at your first 10k race.
7. Tell your friends and family
Lastly, telling friends and family that you are entering the race is a great way to put your goal out there. And, once you’ve told people, you then need to stick to your plan and do it!