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10K Training Plan for Beginners and Experienced Runners

Whether you've signed up for your first 10K race or going for your 110th, this guide will help you level up your running and fly across the finish line.

Are you about to sign up for your first 10KM race? Or are you a seasoned runner looking to improve on your speed in your next 10K race? Either ways, the training programme below will help you rev up your engines to finish your race in record time!

What you see below is a simple 12-week training programme. If you’re an experienced runner, this will help you improve your 10K time. If you’re just starting out, this plan will guarantee that you finish within the qualifying time (as long as you stick to the plan!).

The 10K training plan is pretty straightforward. Aim to do 2 key workouts a week (hills, intervals, tempo, hard runs) followed by easy runs along the way.

Hills are Important

Source: washingtonian.com

Source: washingtonian.com

Hill repeats are important to improve running form, running economy and leg strength.  Look for a variety of hills with different degree of steepness ranging anywhere between 50m – 1,000m. You can divide them into short and long hill repeats or mix them up. Experiment with what you have and do between 3-10 reps (according to your level of fitness).

Strides Can Help You Run Faster

Source: coolage.in

Source: coolage.in

Strides are incorporated into the programme to improve leg strength as well as running technique and form. Include them at the end of your run at race pace (very hard effort). Strides are usually done once every 2 weeks after an easy run. Hard days can be done back to back occasionally (week 3 and 9). This will help your body adapt to running even when you’re feeling tired and sore all over. Remember how you feel on back to back hard days. This will help you power through the last few KMs.

Sign Up for Short Runs Prior to Race Day

Source: mattyfund.org

Source: mattyfund.org

If you’re feeling a bit nervous, sign up for a few short runs to gear up for race day. This can be done at week 6 and 10. Race day simulations allow you to gauge your current fitness level (whether or not you have improved). It will also prepare you mentally for the rigors of racing.

Rest Up But Stay Active

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Look out for week 7 which is taper week. This would ensure that you are well rested. By reducing the mileage, your body is able to repair the accumulated wear and tear of training. On rest/recovery days, aim to do a short run at a very easy pace. You can also cross train with cycling or swimming or just have fun with your pet at the park. Try not to NOT do anything. Stay active and keep moving. Also, remember to work on your core. This will help you keep proper running form and improve your running efficiency.

Please note that this is a pretty standard programme that you can start off with. Remember to adjust it according to your fitness level and experience. Beginners should stick to the lower end of the mileage, while pros can do a little more.

A little explanation on the terminology: 

Source: forkstofeet.com

Source: forkstofeet.com

Easy: Easy runs are when you can run and hold a conversation.

Tempo: Tempo runs are done at a steady and constant pace throughout. The pace would be your threshold pace which should be about 30 seconds slower than your race pace. It is medium to hard running but would be comfortably hard. If you are at your tempo pace, you can hold short conversations but you’d rather not talk. Tempo runs improve your lactate threshold which would help you run farther and faster.

Hard: Hard runs can be done at your race pace.

Fartlek: A combination of speed intervals and continuous running. The sessions should be about 1 hour. An example of a fartlek: 1KM warm up, 3KM tempo run, speed intervals (ie: 3x400m speed with 1-min rest in between), 1-2 mins sprint, 1KM cool down

Interval: Short runs and then rest. An example of a good interval running session: warm up with 5 x 400m (with 1-min rest in between each of the 5 times), then run 3 x 1KM (with 1.5-3min rest in between each run), then cool down with another  5 x 400m.

Week 1

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage28-41K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue5-7K Easy
Wed8K interval; ie: 5x400m (warm up), 3x1K, 5x400 (cool down).
ThursRest or cross-train
Fri6-8K fartlek / stairs
SatRest, cross-train or 5-7K easy
Sun9-11K easy

Week 2

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage27-40K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue7K hills (3-5 x hill repeats with hard effort)
Wed5-7K easy
ThursRest or cross-train
Fri6-8K easy
SatRest, cross-train or 5-7K easy
Sun9-11K hard

Week 3

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage30-43K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue5-7K easy
Wed8K tempo
Thurs7-9K fartlek/stairs
FriRest or cross train
SatRest, cross-train or 5-7K easy
Sun10-12K easy

Week 4

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage32-45K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue9K interval
Wed6-8K easy
ThursRest or cross train
Fri7-9K easy
SatRest, cross-train or 5-7K easy
Sun10-12K hard

Week 5

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage33-46K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue6-8K easy
Wed8K hills (4-5X hill repeats with hard effort)
ThursRest or cross train
Fri8-10K interval
SatRest, cross-train or 5-7K easy
Sun10-13K easy

Week 6

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage32-45K
Mon
Rest or Cross Train
Tue9K tempo
Wed6-8K easy
Thurs8-10K easy (include 6 to 8 x 50 to 100m strides)
FriRest or light cross train
SatRest or 5-7K easy
Sun9-11K race simulation / tune up race

Week 7

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage27-40K
Mon
Rest
Tue5-7K easy
Wed5-7K interval
ThursRest or cross train
Fri6-8K fartlek / stairs
SatRest, cross train or 5-7K easy
Sun9-11K easy

Week 8

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage36-49K
Mon
Rest or cross train
Tue9K hills (5-6x hill repeats with hard effort)
Wed7-9K easy
ThursRest or cross train
Fri8-10K easy
SatRest, cross train or 5-7K easy
Sun12-14K hard

Week 9

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage36-49K
Mon
Rest or cross train
Tue7-9K easy
Wed10K tempo
Thurs8-10K fartlek / stairs
FriRest
SatRest, cross train or 5-7K easy
Sun13-15K easy

Week 10

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage39-52K
Mon
Rest or cross train
Tue5-10K intervals
Wed10-12K easy
Thurs9-11K easy (include 6-8 x 50-100m strides)
FriRest or light cross train
SatRest or 5-7K easy
Sun10-12K race simulation / tune up race

Week 11

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage42-55K
Mon
Rest
Tue8-10K easy
Wed11K tempo
ThursRest or cross train
Fri9-11K interval
SatRest, cross train or 5-7K easy
Sun14-16K easy

Week 12

DayYour To-Do
Total Mileage33-37K
Mon
Rest or cross train
Tue8-10K easy
Wed10K interval
ThursRest or light cross train
Fri5-7K easy
SatRest
Sun10K race

We hope that by the end of it, you’d be flying across that finish line. All the best!

_____

When’s your 10K race? How are you prepping for it? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

 

Contributed by Hong Zi Shen and Adele Wong, Puma Running Club Pacers, members of the Cari Runners and Pacemakers.
Hong Zi Shen started running in 2009 and never stopped since. He is a Puma Running Club Pacer, as well as a member of the Cari Runners and Pacemakers.

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