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The 10K: Training plans for beginner and advanced runners

Comical illustration of the number 10 and letter K with legs running together

You’re not quite ready to jump into training for your first marathon, but maybe you’re eager for something that requires more endurance than a 5K. Consider the 10K — a popular Goldilocks race that attracts a wide spectrum of runners. At 6.2 miles, the 10K is just right for many — it's a faster pace than a marathon but more challenging than a 5K.

No matter your experience, a 10K training schedule can help you meet your goals. Danny Mackey, coach of our Brooks Beasts pro team, created plans for beginner and advanced runners. So yeah, these plans are legit.

Following a good training plan will fine tune your body for race day, help keep you from getting injured, and push you to run your best time.

On your mark, get set, gear

If this your first race or your 50th, the same basic training principles apply. Be sure to answer these questions before you get started: Do you have proper equipment for training and race day? What does your nutrition plan look like? How will you stay accountable for your training goals?

First, let’s talk gear. If you’re new to running, you’ll want to find the right shoe for you (hint: they’re not flip-flops). Our Shoe Finder can help match you with the right support for your training goals. If you’re a seasoned runner, you may already have a great fit, but it doesn’t hurt to take the quiz to make sure you’re not missing out on something new.

Illustration of a woman thinking about different run bra and shoe options

Shoes aren’t the only pieces of gear that should be top of mind. Do you have the right run bra for training and race day? Our Bra Finder can help!

Read how choosing the correct bra could mean the difference between a comfortable run and a distracted race.

And don’t forget about clothing — good essentials will keep you cool, relaxed and focused on the finish line.

No matter your choice of gear, it’s important to remember to be consistent with what you wear during training. Stick to what works for you and don’t wear something new or unfamiliar on race day. Your un-chafed body will thank you later.

Eat well, run well

Just as important as what you wear on your body is what you put in it for fuel. It’s not a great idea to scoff a couple of slices of pepperoni pizza before a workout, no matter how good you feel about your impending calorie burn. Like most things in life, balance is key when it comes to diet. Use your training time to listen to your body and make small, smart adjustments when you need to. A balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and good fats is just as much about fuelling your run as it is about keeping gastrointestinal stress in check while you’re active. And of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

llustration of a woman comically drinking a flowing stream of water from a bottle

Check yourself

Training for any race is no small feat so it’s important to stay accountable. Unless you’re Bear Grylls surviving on a deserted island, you’re not alone — rely on relationships with other runners (read more about doing this safely during COVID-19) to keep on top of your 10K training programme. Share your daily training regimen on social media or through run tracking apps like Strava to stay focused and motivated.

With these basics covered, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of our 10K training programmes.

The plan: A 10K training schedule for beginners

Training-Plan_10k-Beginner_... by BrooksRunning

The 9-week training plan for 10K beginners uses the Hansons Training Pace Calculator to figure out your goal finish time, your goal pace (GP), or the speed you’re hoping to maintain during your race), the length of your long run, and the 10K pace for your workouts.

If you’re new to running, don’t let some of the lingo in the 10K plan throw you for a loop. Here are some quick definitions:

Goal pace: the speed you’re hoping to maintain during your race

Tempo: in this plan, it means you’ll have difficulty making conversation while running, but should be able to keep up the pace for 45 minutes

Warm-up/cool-down: the runs you do before/after a training session to prep your body for exertion/return your body to rest

Cross-train: non-running exercises like yoga, cycling, swimming, or other low impact activity

Notations: in this training plan, minutes are denoted using single quotation marks (5’ = 5 minutes) and seconds are denoted using double quotation marks (30” = 30 seconds)

For more running lingo definitions, check out our useful glossary.

The plan: An advanced 10K training schedule

Training-Plan_10k-Advanced_... by BrooksRunning

This is a 9-week schedule for more experienced runners. Expect a mix of easy runs to start your week (varying from 4 to 7 miles week to week) followed by intense hill work, fast intervals, and long runs. Run a 2-mile warm-up and 2-mile cool-down on Tuesday and Thursday workouts. Sundays are for rest or cross-training.

If you’re ready to cut some serious time off your personal best, follow this plan to maximise speed, strength and endurance.

llustration of four people running a race, with one well-prepared runner pulling away and widening her lead