A 10K race is an excellent distance for runners of all abilities, especially beginners looking to enter their first mass-participation event. As oppose to the full-on, time-sapping commitment of a half or full marathon, 10K races hit the sweet spot of being a challenge without requiring six months of planning and training to complete them in one piece.
They’re also far more common, with small events running every weekend all around the country, and securing a spot in even the most popular 10K races is a doddle compared to the ballots or extensive fundraising required to bag a major marathon place.
Assuming you’re convinced, head to our running events page to scout out the 10K you’re going to enter in 2017. Once you’ve signed up and given yourself a pat on the back, it’s time to start planning your training.
To help any runner smash their 10K we asked running coaches for a training plans for all abilities and aims. Once you’ve selected your plan from the below, scroll down for some general tips for running your best 10K.
10-Week 10K Training Plan For Beginners
We have two 10K training plans for people who are just looking to complete the race, perhaps through a mixture of walking and running. This ten-week plan is aimed at people with little running experience who can run a mile (1.6km) continuously.
16-Week 10K Training Plan For Beginners
Our second plan is aimed at beginners who have given themselves more time to train ahead of the 10K. Having 16 weeks available means you should be able to go from couch to 10K, but it’s best if you can already run 1.6km continuously.
12-Week 10K Training Plan For A PB
For more experienced athletes looking to smash their 10K PB, we’ve enlisted running coach Ed Kerry (therundoctor.co.uk) for a plan that contains a mix of sessions to ensure you have the speed and endurance to fly through the race.
6-Week Emergency 10K Training Plan
One of the great things about a 10K race is that if you are a regular runner – two to three times a week – you can jump into a race at a moment’s notice. Even so, if you’d like to impress at the event try this six-week plan to set you up for race day.
10K Training Tips
For some general advice on bossing a 10K, here’s Adidas Runners London captain James Heptonstall with his five top tips. Adidas has just launched a new series of 10K events called City Runs, which starts with a race in Shoreditch on 8th October.
1. Mix Up Your Training Runs
“When training for a 10K, variety is key. It’s not just about getting out and running – you should be mixing up your training with intervals, tempo runs, fartlek and hills, as well as steady runs. It is also important to listen to your body and not do too much – rest and recovery is a critical element in all training schedules.”
2. Run With Other People
“If you’re looking to improve your 10K time, it’s crucial to run with someone of a similar ability, be it a friend or in a group at a run club. By training with others, you will push yourself much harder to get more out of your training. Running is a mental game as well as physical so if you have others around you to support and encourage it can make the world of difference.”
3. Don’t Neglect Your Strength Training
“When training for a 10K, there are plenty of other exercises that you should consider to complement your running training. Working on your core stability as well as your strength and conditioning, in particular for your legs, provides a great base for an effective and efficient technique as well as helping with injury prevention. In conjunction to this, flexibility training through stretching, yoga or Pilates is also excellent for injury prevention and improving your range of movement as a runner.”
RECOMMENDED: Strength Training For Runners
4. Nail Your Pre- And Post-race Nutrition
“Pre-race I would focus on slow release carbohydrates such as brown bread, porridge or brown rice to provide sustained energy release. Post-race I look to fast-release carbohydrates such as white pasta or a jacket potato to replenish depleted energy stores. For a 10K run you will probably only need to take on water during the race, depending on the weather.”
5. Avoid Changes And Stress On Race Day
“Don’t change anything – be it your diet, shoes or kit. You shouldn’t introduce something new on race day. Arrive at the race with plenty of time to spare so you can warm up, go to the loo and drop your bag off. Use a watch so you can keep track of your pace over the kilometre splits.”