Search
 

YOUR ULTIMATE 10km PLAN
Brought to you by Runner’s World, the World’s Leading Running Magazine

 

You’ll be glad to hear that 10km training forms the foundation of all-around fitness, because it includes ample amounts of the three core components of distance running – strength, stamina, speed. Sure, you can use it to train for any goal race from 5 km to the marathon. But we’re talking about the classic distance here.

When you race a 10km, you immerse yourself in near-mythical tradition. So read through the runner profiles below to determine which of our six-week plans is best for you. And remember, these are not one-size-fits-all plans, so if you can’t complete a given workout, don’t. If you need to rearrange trainings days to fit your schedule, do it.

FOUR TRAINING UNIVERSALS

Rest: Rest means no running. None. Give your muscles some serious Rest & Recreation so all systems are primed for the next workout. Better two quality days and two of total rest than four days of mediocrity resulting from lingering fatigue. Rest days give you a mental break as well, so you’ll come back feeling refreshed.

Easy Runs: Easy runs mean totally comfortable and controlled. If you’re running with someone else, you should be able to converse easily. You’ll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don’t. Here’s some incentive to take it easy: You’ll still be burning 300 kilojoules every kilometre you run, no matter how slow you go.

Long Runs: Long runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner for company. You’ll have plenty of time to talk about anything that comes up.

Speedwork: Speedwork means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This increases cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency that translates into more kays per litre, and the psychological toughness racing demands. That said, you’re not trying to kill yourself. Keep it fun.

1.    BEGINNER PROGRAMME

You’re a notch above novice. You’ve been running at least six months and maybe have done a 5-K or two. You run five to eight kays three or four days a week, have done a little fast running when you felt like it, and now you want to enter – and finish – what you consider a real “distance race”.

If you’re a beginner, your 10km goal is less a personal best (PB) than an LDF (longest distance finished). You want to run the whole 10km, so you’re going for endurance – because it’s likely to take you an hour or more to get there.

Basic aerobic strength is every runner’s first need, so you’ll do most of your running at a steady, moderate pace. But we’re also going to flick a dash of pseudo-speedwork into your endurance stew for flavour. This will put some added spring into your step, give you a brief taste of what it feels like to run a little faster, and hasten your progress to the intermediate level. Hence, every week in addition to steady running, you’re going to do two extra things.

STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
 Aerobic Intervals (AI): You push the pace just a bit, you breathe just a little harder – followed by slow jogging until you feel rested enough to resume your regular tempo. And you always, always, stay well short of going anaerobic (squinty-eyed and grasping for breath). Treat these runs like play. When you do them try to recreate that feeling you had as  kid when you ran to the park and couldn’t wait to get there.

Gentle Pickups (GP): You gradually increase your pace over 100 metres to about 90 percent of all-out, hold it there for 10 to 20 metres, then gradually decelerate. Walk to full recovery before you start the next one. Nothing big, nothing really stressful – just enough to let your body go, “Ah, so this is what it feels like to go fast.” Note: after a few AI/GP weeks, your normal pace will begin to feel more comfortable. And you’ll get race-fit more quickly this way.

Race Day Rules
Have some fluids and an energy bar or bagel an hour before the start, and arrive early enough to get your race entry without the stress of long lines. Walk around about 10 minutes before the start, maybe even do a few minutes of slow jogging. Start off slower than you think you should, and work gradually into a comfortable and controlled pace. Let the race come to you. When you reach a water table, stop and drink and relax for 10 seconds.

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

Rest

3km
4x1:00 AI
3km


5 km or Rest


7km + 3 GP


Rest


8 km


Rest

2

Rest

3km

5 km or Rest

7km + 3 GP

Rest

9 km

6 km

3

Rest

3km
4x1:30 AI
3km


5 km or Rest


7km + 3 GP


Rest


10 km


7 km

4

Rest

3km
6x1:30 AI
3km


5 km or Rest


8km + 6 GP


Rest


10 km


7 km

5

Rest

3km
4x2:00 AI
3km


3 km


Rest


3 km, 2 GP


Rest


10km Race

 

2.       INTERMEDIATE PROGRAMME

You’ve been running a year or more, done some 5km races, maybe even a 10km. But you’ve always finished feeling like you could have, or should have, gone faster. You consider yourself mainly a recreational runner, but you still want to make a commitment to see how fast you can go.

Here’s the two-pronged approach that will move you from recreational runner to the cusp of competitive athlete. First, you’ll be adding mileage to your endurance-building long run until it makes up 30 percent of your weekly mileage. Second, you’ll now be doing a substantial amount of tempo running aimed at elevating your anaerobic threshold, the speed above which blood lactate levels skyrocket – a gulping-and-gasping prelude to your engine shutting down for the day. How to avoid this unpleasantness? With regular sessions at a little slower than 10km race pace – that is, tempo run pace. This will significantly improve your endurance and running efficiency in just six w3eeks.

So your tempo work will include weekly “10-10s,” along with a mixed grill of intervals and uphill running, all of which strengthen your running muscles, heart and related aerobic systems (see Stuff you Need to Know, below).

Oh, one more thing: Running fast requires effort - and some discomfort. Still, be conservative. If you can’t maintain the same pace throughout a given workout, or if your body shrieks “No more!” then call it a day. And maybe adjust your pace down a bit next time.

STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
Pace Intervals (PI): Run at 10km goal pace to improve efficiency and stamina, and to give you the feel of your race pace. For 6-minutes-per-kay pace (a 1:00:00 10km), run 2:30 (for 400 metres), 5:00 (800m), 7:30 (1200m). For 5:30-minute pace (55:00), run 2:15 (400m), 4:30 (800m), 6:45 (1200m). For 5-minutes pace (50:00), 2:00 (400m), 4:00 (800m), 6:00 (1200m). With pace and speed intervals (below), jog half the interval distance to recover.

Speed Intervals (SI): Run these at 30 seconds-per-mile faster than goal pace. For 6-minute pace run 2:22 (400m), 4:44 (800m), 7:06 (1200m). For 5:30-minute pace, 2:08 (400m), 4:16 (800m), 6:24 (1200m). For 5-minute pace run 1:53 (400m), 3:45 (800m), 5:38 (1200m).

10-10s: 10-minute tempo repeats at 20 second per kay slower than 10km goal pace; 3-to-5 minute slow jog after each.

Total Uphill time (TUT): Run repetitions up the same hill, or work the uphill sect6ions of a road or trail course.

Strides (S): Over 100 metres, gradually accelerate to about 90 percent of all-out, hold it there for 5 seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to full recovery after each.

Race Day Rules
Many intermediate runners run too fast in the first 5km, and that’s the surest way to run a mediocre time. Even pace is best, which means the first half of the race should feel really easy. Also divide the race into three plus-minus 3 km sections: Doable pace for the first section, push a bit in the middle section, then go hard the last few kays.

 

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

Rest

3km
1 or 2 x10-10
3km

6 km

1x400m PI
1x800m PI
1x1200m PI
1x800m PI
1x400m PI


Rest


6km
4x100m S


10 – 12km

2

Rest

10km, incl.
6:00 TUT

6 km

1x1200m PI
2x800m PI
4x200m PI
4x200m SI
4x100m S


Rest


7km
5x100m S


11 – 13km

3

Rest

3km
2 or 3 x10-10
3km

6 km

1x800m PI
1x1200m PI
1x800m PI
2x400m SI
4x200 SI


Rest


8km
6x100m S


11 – 13km

4

Rest

3km
3 or 4 x10-10
3km

6 km

1x1200m SI
1x800m SI
2x400m SI
2x200m SI
4x100m S


Rest


8km
6x100m S


12 – 14km

5

Rest

3km
3 or 4 x10-10
3km

6 km

1x800m SI
4x400m SI
4x200m SI
1x800m SI
4x100m S


Rest


10km
6x100m S


12 – 14km

Taper

Rest

800m SI
2x200m SI
400m SI
2s200m SI
6x100m S


6 km
4x200m SI
4x100m S



Rest


5km easy,
3x100m S


10km Race

 

ADVANCED PROGRAMME

You’ve been a serious runner for several years, have run many races – perhaps even a marathon. You’re familiar with fartlek and intervals, and can run comfortably for an hour-plus. Now you want a breakthrough time – and you’re willing to put in a rigorous six weeks to achieve it.

The cornerstone of 10km training has long been the tempo run. Great for stamina-seeking intermediates working their way up the racing-fitness food chain. But not for you. How come? Because a recent study found that short intervals at 5km and 10km race pace (roughly, our speed and pace intervals below) produced huge improvements versus temp runs. (Note: Tempo running produced improvements, but faster running did better still.)

The study found that those doing intervals trained faster than the tempo runners and therefore developed better economy, coordination and comfort while running fast. Which translated into faster 10km running. Moreover, the interval group spent just 31 minutes during two sessions per week running their reps, while the tempo runners required 578 minutes for their two sessions.

So there you go. That’s why we’re going to put you on a six-week diet of quick stuff – medium-long on Tuesdays, short and swift on Thursdays. And we’re going to make sure you maintain your vital aerobic base, as you’ll be doing solid mileage as well.

STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
Pace Intervals (PI): For 5-minute-per-kay pace(50:00), run 2:00 (400m), 4:00 (800m), 6:00 (1200m). For 4:30-minute pace (45:00), run 0:53 (200m), 1:45 (400m), 3:30 (800m), 5:15 (1200m). For 4-minute pace (40:00), run 0:45 (200m), 1:30 (400m), 4:30 (1200m). Recover is a 1-minute jog (after 400m reps), 2:00 (800m), and 3:00 (1200m). Note: For both pace and speed intervals, run 3km easy plus four 100m strides before each session, and 3km easy afterward.

Speed Intervals (SI):  For 5-minute pace run 1:53 (400m), 3:45 (800m), 5:38 (1200m). For 4:30-minute pace, 0:49 (for 200m) 1:38 (400m), 4:53 (1200m). For 4-minute pace run 0:41 (200m), 1:22 (400m), 2:44 (800m), 4:08 (1200m). Recovery is jogging half the interval distance (i.e. 400m jog after 800m rep).

10-10s: 10-minute tempo repeats at 20 second per kay slower than 10km goal pace; 3-to-5 minute slow jog after each.

Lactate Session (LS): LS training involves running about as fast as you can for 1 minute followed by 3 to 4 minutes of slow jogging.

Strides (S): Over 100 metres, gradually accelerate to about 90 percent of all-out, hold it there for 5 seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to full recovery after each. Strides aren’t meant to tire you out. Just the opposite. They’ll add zip to your legs.

Race Day Rules
Know the course. If you know how the hills and turns go, you can more easily match your efforts to the course. Also study the last kay. In fact, run it as a warm-up. Look for markers a certain distance from the finish so you can expend your final energy at the right time.

Week

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

Rest

2x1200m PI
2x800m PI
4x400m PI


7km-10km

2x800m SI
4x400m SI
4x200m SI
4x100m SI


Rest or
5-7km easy


7-10km
6x100m S


13 – 15km

2

Rest

2x1200m SI
1x800m SI
1x400m SI
1x200m SI
6x100m S


7km-10km


4x200m SI
4 LS
4x100m S


Rest or
5-7km easy


8-10km
6x100m S


13 – 15km

3

Rest

2x1 mile PI
1x1200m SI
1x800m SI
1x200m SI
6x100m S

 

4x200m SI
4 LS
4x200m SI
4x100 S


Rest or
5-7km easy


8-10km


15 – 17km

4

Rest

2x1200m SI
1x800m SI
1x400m SI
1x200m SI
6x100m S


7km-10km


5-7 LS
6x100m S


Rest or
5-7km easy


8-10km
6x100m S


15 – 17km

5

Rest

2x400m SI
1x800m SI
1x200m SI
1x800m SI
6x100m S


7km-10km


6-8 miles


Rest or
5-7km easy


8-10km
6x100m S


16 – 18km

Taper

Rest

1x1200m SI
1x800m SI
2x400m SI
4x100m SI

Rest

4x200m SI
4x100m SI
4x200m SI
4x100m S

Rest

5km easy
3x100 S

10km Race