Intermediate 10k training plan: Run a faster 10k

Intermediate 10k training plan: Run a faster 10k

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Running a 10k is a goal for a lot of runners who have either finished their first 5k or have a few 5k runs under their belt. This intermediate 10k training plan is for runners who would like to learn how to improve their performance over a 10k. 

A 10k is my favourite running distance, closely followed by a 5k. If you haven’t already, check out my intermediate 5k training plan. 

When it comes to using this plan, it’s important to note that it has been designed with intermediate runners in mind. So you should already be running 4 to 6 times a week and averaging about 15 to 25 miles per week.

It would also help to have experience with running a 10k or more up to half marathon level. This is because before attempting this plan you need to have a good endurance base from which to work from. 

If you already have a race time in mind, be sure to check out my post on how to run a faster 10k in 60 minutes or less. In this post I share some tips when wanting to run a faster 10k. 

In this post I’d like to share a sample 8 week intermediate 10k training plan. This plan will provide you with a framework in which to train for your next 10k PB. 

intermediate 10k training plan

Intermediate 10k training plan: The basics

  • Endurance and speed. This plan will help you to improve your endurance and speed – two things that are crucial to focus on when training for a faster 10k. This means the plan will get you running further and faster than what you would have done in a 5k. Note my comments about your current weekly mileage at the start of this post. 
  • Rest days. I’m a big believer in rest days, so the plan won’t get you running every day of the week. At most, you’ll be training 6 days a week.
  • Speedwork. Before you begin the plan, it also helps to have a basic understanding of speedwork. Speedwork is a way to increase running speed and can take the form of many types of training including strides, interval training, Fartlek training and tempo running. In this plan I focus mainly on interval training and tempo running, but you could switch these activities out for other speedwork of your choice.
  • Stretching. Important to any training plan is stretching. Stretching is crucial in the recovery process and helps to alleviate soreness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Make sure you find time to stretch, particularly after fast runs. You may also want to include foam rolling into your recovery routine. 
  • Strength training. This plan also includes time for strength training. It’s up to you if you include strength training in your plan at this stage, but I highly recommend it in order to run faster and stronger for longer. I have scheduled strength training sessions to take place after your easy run, but you can schedule these sessions on days that are better for you in terms of timing. 
  • Cross training. You can also choose to include some cross training in the form of swimming, cycling, walking and other forms of aerobic training in your plan. Whatever activity you choose, be sure to take it easy. Cross training days should be considered easy days. 

Intermediate 10k training plan: Types of runs

  • Easy run. The plan will include easy runs which are runs where you run at a comfortable pace. The general rule of thumb that I like to apply here is that you should be able to hold a conversation while you run without getting out of breath. 
  • Tempo run. Tempo running, also known as threshold running, is a type of speedwork that is designed to get you running outside of your comfort zone. You will be running at a faster pace during these runs and therefore your body will get used to running at a faster pace. Tempo runs are great for developing your anaerobic threshold. 
  • Interval training. Interval training is another type of speedwork that I have included in the plan. As with tempo running, in order to improve your speed you need to be running at a faster pace during training. The plan includes 400m intervals separated by a recovery walk or jog. When training for a 10k, I suggest you run each interval at your 5k race pace. Just remember to warm up thoroughly before attempting intervals – don’t go straight into doing them as you are at a higher risk of injury. 
  • Long run. The plan will also include one long run a week that is between 4-8 miles. Long runs are still important when it comes to training for a 10k as they help to build your endurance and stamina. Make sure you run at a comfortable pace during your long run, they shouldn’t feel too challenging. 
  • Race test. At points in the plan you will be doing what is called a race test. This is designed to test your fitness, normally half way through the plan, so you can understand how you’re doing and what you might need to calibrate to improve certain areas. You can either do this on your own or sign up for a race locally, such as a Parkrun.
intermediate 10k training plan

Intermediate 10k training plan: Week by week

Week 1

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 3 mile easy run 
  • Wednesday – 35 min tempo run
  • Thursday – 3 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 4 mile long run

Week 2

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 3.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 8 x 400m intervals 
  • Thursday – 4 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 5 mile long run

Week 3

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 4 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 40 min tempo run
  • Thursday – 3 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 6 mile long run

Week 4

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 4.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 9 x 400m intervals
  • Thursday – 4 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 5k race test
intermediate 10k training plan

Week 5

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 45 min tempo run
  • Thursday – 3 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 6 mile long run

Week 6

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 5.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 10 x 400m intervals
  • Thursday – 4 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 7 mile long run

Week 7

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 6 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 50 min tempo run
  • Thursday – 4 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 60 minute strength training/cross training session
  • Sunday – 8 mile long run

Week 8

  • Monday – 3 mile easy run
  • Tuesday – 3 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 5 x 400m intervals
  • Thursday – 1-3 mile easy run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 10k race

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Caroline Geoghegan

Caroline Geoghegan (aka Run With Caroline) helps people become faster and stronger runners. She started her blog in 2018 to share her passion for running. Caroline is a UK Athletics qualified Run Leader and Run Coach and NASM qualified Personal Trainer.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sophie Hill

    Great post! This is very motivating as I find 10K runs to be such a mountain of a goal!

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