The 10K is a difficult race distance to master.
If you’re a beginner, running twice as far as the more common 5K is quite the challenge and requires doubling your training efforts.
For experienced runners, the 10K is a blend of speed and endurance that necessitates performing 5–6 miles of lung-busting intervals on the track during training.
To master the distance, you need to develop the perfect blend of speed and endurance so you can maintain a vigorous pace for 6.2 miles.
So, how do you accomplish this daunting task? That’s exactly what we’ll show you in this article. Plus, we’ll provide you with a specific six-week plan to help you achieve your best 10K.
How to Develop Speed and Endurance at the Same Time
The trick to mastering the 10K is learning how to combine speed and endurance workouts into one session. To do this, you need to manipulate the rest periods of your track or interval workouts.
For example, running a workout of 8 x 800 meters at mile pace with a 3-minute rest is a great VO2 max workout. However, it’s not very specific to the demands of the 10K since the three minutes of rest allow you to recover fully between each repeat.
A better workout to prepare specifically for the 10K would be something like 8 x 800 meters at goal 10K pace with a short jogging rest (try for 1 minute or 1:30) at normal, easy pace.
In this workout, while the pace of the 800-meter repeats is slower than the VO2 max session, the speed and short duration of the rest makes this workout much more difficult and 10K-specific. You’ll learn how to run 10K pace with as little rest as possible.
By not fully recovering and jogging quickly between repeats, you not only improve your ability to run at race pace, but you also ensure you have the aerobic strength to maintain goal pace on race day.
So, how do you include workouts like this in your training plan? We’ll show you exactly how.
Your Race-Specific Training Plan
The following is a six-week, race-specific training plan for beginner and advanced runners.
You should begin this plan six weeks out from your goal race but only after building a good training base. The length of your base-building period will be determined by your experience level.
Beginners will need 8–10 weeks of general training to be capable of completing the suggested workouts. Before starting this plan, you should be able to run 6 miles comfortably for a long run and perform 2–3 miles of hard interval training.
Experienced runners may only need 4–6 weeks of training before starting this plan.
10K-Specific Workouts for Beginners
This is a six-week progression for beginner runners that will slowly adapt your body to racing at goal 10K pace.
- This plan only discusses the one harder track workout per week you should perform. You should also run easy 2–4 other days during the week, maintaining your normal weekly mileage.
- Optionally, you can perform a second workout each week, which would be a tempo run session — but it’s not required.
- Your long run should progress from 5–6 miles at the start of this plan to 8–10 miles by the end.
- You should race on the seventh week of this program, so simply find your target race and work backward to set up your full training plan.
10K-Specific Workouts for Advanced Runners
This is a six-week progression for experienced runners who are stuck at a 10K plateau and need to structure their training for maximum results. Before starting this program, you should be able to perform 5 miles of hard intervals in training.
- You should perform one tempo or threshold workout in addition to these 10K-specific workouts each week.
- Your long run should be 12–16 miles, depending on your total weekly mileage.
- Implement this seven-week progression into your next 10K training plan, and you’ll be primed and ready for your best on race day.