How Long Does it Take to Train for a 10K?

Training for a 10k is a magical place to be in your journey as a runner. Maybe you’ve gotten a couple of 5k races under your belt and you are ready for a bigger challenge. You know you’re not quite marathon material yet, but you still want a bigger goal to shoot for than where you’re at. Enter the 10k race. It’s 6.2 miles, exactly twice that of a 5k. And while the mileage may be double, the effort of training for it does not.

If you are a beginning runner — one who may or may not be able to run 2 miles without stopping — you will want to give yourself about 10 weeks to train for a 10k. If you are a more advanced beginning runner, then you should budget about 8 weeks of training into your schedule. Adding a couple of weeks in for bad weather, recovery from an injury, or other schedule interruption is never a bad idea, whether you are a beginning runner or not.

Training involves a combination of walking/running intervals, with the walking times decreasing as the running times increase. Since your primary goal is to build endurance, your runs are going to be easy – you should be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath.

The training schedule will look like this, which you can adjust for your own fitness level:

Week 1: On 3 alternating days, run 1 minute and walk 1 minute, repeating 10 times. The 4th day will be devoted to 40 – 45 minutes of cross-training like swimming, yoga, weight lifting, walking, or bicycling. Whatever activity you like to do, this would be the day to do it. Just don’t run.

Week 2:  On the first day, walk 1 minute and run 1 minute, but each day increase the repetition by one so on the third day you will repeat the walk/run cycle 13 times. Be sure not to run two days in a row as your body needs the time off to repair and strengthen. Don’t forget your 4th day cross training workout for 40 – 45 minutes.

Week 3: Repeat the walk/run cycle 15 times and cross train on your 4th day for 40-45 minutes.

Week 4: This is the week when you begin increasing your run time versus your walk time: run 2 minutes and walk 1; repeat the cycle 10 times on alternating days. Again, your 4th day should be cross-training (anything but running!) and should be for 45 minutes.

Week 5: On two of your running days, run for 2 minutes and walk for 1, repeating intervals 11 times. On your third day, run for 3 minutes and walk for 1 and repeat the intervals 8 times. You will also have two days of cross training, one for 45 minutes and one for 30 minutes. Make your cross training fun!

Week 6, 7, and 8: Keep running for 3 minutes and walking for 1; repeat the intervals 10 times for two of your running days. On the third day, repeat your run/walk cycle 13 times. Don’t forget to include your two days of crossing training for the same amount of time as week 5.

Week 9: You are almost there! Repeat your intervals of running 3 minutes and walking 1, repeating 10 times for two of your running days; on your third running day repeat 17 times. As before, include your two days of cross-training, same amount times as before.

Week 10: Congratulations! Your race is this week! Your training schedule will look different because you want to rest before the actual race. You will have three running days, but on your first day, run 2 minutes and walk 1, repeating 10 times; day two of training will be 30 minutes of cross-training and on day three, you will run 3 minutes and walk 1, repeating five times. Your next workout will be your race. Good luck!

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