January 27, 2022

A Simple Beginners' 10K Training Plan

I mentioned signing up for a race in the next few months for the sole purpose of that sense of discipline that comes with following a training plan. Knowing that I have to train for a race is what will make me do it when I just don't want to run.

I was looking at 10K races because 1) It's always been my favorite race distance; 2) I think it's a good distance to work toward over the next few months, and 3) I don't really have a desire to run farther than 10K at this point. My body has gotten all sorts of messed up in the last few years and I think running is great, but I don't want to push it.

I was shocked when I went to my training plans page and saw that I don't have a beginner's 10K plan! I highly recommend my "Your Best 10K" training plan when you are going for a personal record; but that is meant for seasoned runners with lots of training under their belts. Right now, I am back to being a beginner for the most part.

For the purpose of this plan, I'm defining a "beginner" as someone who can run--no matter how slowly--about three miles without stopping (or with just a couple of short walk breaks). It would be great for someone who just completed the Couch to 5K plan and is looking to train for a 10K. So it's not a "Couch to 10K" plan, but a plan to get you from running about 3 miles to running 6.2 miles over a period of 8 weeks.

(If you are a true non-runner that wants to look train for a 10K, I would start with one of my beginner 5K plans; then, when you are able to run 5K, switch over to this plan.)

I wanted this to be very beginner-friendly; if you only want to run three days a week instead of four, then just skip Thursdays' runs. If you hate speed work, then just turn that into an easy three-miler. If you'd rather do run/walking, then go for it!

I also kept this extremely simple as far as numbers go--no heart rate training and no worrying about the "80/20" rule here. It's still very balanced and is heavy on the "easy" running.

There are three days for easy runs and just one day of simple speed work. The speed work alternates each week between intervals and tempo runs. There are four effort levels:

E - Easy (a pace that is barely faster than a walk; you should be able to have a conversation with a friend at this pace).

T - Tempo (this should feel "comfortably hard" where you could only say 1-2 words at a time; you should feel like you want to slow down, but you know for sure you could finish it). 

H - Hard (this is where you can run as hard as you want--the highest effort you choose to put in).

W - Walk (walk as quickly or as slowly as you like; the walking is in between the hard intervals, so I like to run the hard part as fast as I can and then I walk this part very slowly to recover).

Here is a glimpse at the first couple of weeks:

All of that said, here is the printer-friendly plan! 

It should be very straight-forward, but let me know if you have questions. I *think* I've chosen a race for Jerry and I to do (if we don't end up doing the relay with my siblings) so this is what we'll follow. Since we'll likely be doing a lot of treadmill running, I wanted to make this as simple as possible (running by feel instead of heart rate and keeping it very beginner-friendly).

If all goes well, Jerry and I will be running a race together soon--the last time we did that was in 2015! We trained for a half-marathon in 2018, but had to cancel at the last minute. So I'm looking forward to this :)


  1. I can't wait to hear how your plan goes! I've been thinking of dipping back into running myself but I think I need to start with a 5K plan. I haven't ran since 2017!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading about the race and seeing some pictures. I'm curious if you'll run together at the same pace, or one of you will pull away and finish at different times.

  3. Thanks for this! I always forget you have training plans here. I point my friends in your direction for lots of reasons. This makes one more. And yahoo for you two running another race together!

  4. I've been running for three months now, thanks to you, and while I wasn't planning on doing any races or training for anything, this 10K training plan looks totally doable! Now I'm looking for a race to enter...


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