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The ultimate intermediate 10k training plan

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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.

At 6.2 miles, the 10k run should not be underestimated.

There’s a decent amount of training that goes into running a 10k, especially if you want to achieve your next PB.

The good news is that using a training framework like the one in this guide, you will be provided with strategies and a week by week breakdown to help you achieve your next 10k personal best.

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • How many miles is a 10k?
  • Intermediate 10k training plan Q&A
  • Key components of an intermediate 10k training plan
  • Runs and workouts in the intermediate 10k training plan
  • Intermediate 10k training plan: Week by week
  • Tips for 10k running

Be sure to download the intermediate 10k training plan PDF at the bottom of this guide which will bring all the elements of the plan together into one handy visual.

Ready?

Let’s get started!

8 week intermediate training plan

How many miles is a 10k?

A 10k in miles is 6.2 miles.

If you’re used to running 5k, then a 10k is effectively double the distance.

According to the IIRM’s State of Running Report conducted in 2019, there were about 1.8 million people who completed 10k races in 2018.

Intermediate 10k training plan Q&A

Q: Am I ready to run a 10k?

A: My intermediate 10k training plan is for you if:

  • You can already comfortably run a 10k.
  • You would like to learn how to improve their performance and race times.
  • You are already running between 4 to 6 times a week, averaging about 15 to 25 miles per week.

If you don’t feel you meet the above criteria, then you may benefit from my beginner 10k training plan.

Q: What is a good time to run a 10k?

A: The average 10k time for men is about 1 hour, whereas the average time for women is about 1 hour 14 minutes.

Of course, race times are dependent on a number of factors, including your gender, weight, age and the amount of training you do ahead of the race.

8 week intermediate training plan

Key components of an intermediate 10k training plan

A well-rounded 8 week intermediate 10k training plan will include a mixture of easy runs and long runs, as well as workouts like speed training, strength training and cross training.

These running workouts are designed to add variation into your training plan and build your endurance as well as your strength and speed.

Here are the key components of an intermediate 10k training plan:

Endurance and stamina

This plan will help you to improve your endurance and stamina – two things that are crucial to focus on when training for a 10k.

This means the plan will get you running further and faster than what you would have done in a 5k.

The key to building your endurance and stamina is running regularly and consistently and progressing at regular intervals.

Speed

Before you begin the plan, it also helps to have a basic understanding of speed training.

Speed training is a way to increase running speed and can take the form of many types of training including

  • Strides
  • Interval training
  • Fartlek training
  • Tempo running

In this plan I focus mainly on interval training and tempo running, but you could switch these activities out for other speed training of your choice.

Rest and recovery

Any training plan, no matter where you’re training for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon should include designated rest days.

On rest days you should do precisely that – rest!

Don’t be tempted to run on your rest days as you risk burnout or injury.

Stretching and foam rolling

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 long runs and speed training. You may also want to include foam rolling into your recovery routine.

Related: 30 day strength training plan for runners

8 week intermediate training plan

Runs and workouts in the intermediate 10k training plan

Now you know the key components of an intermediate 10k training plan, you may be wondering how this all fits together in terms of the runs and workouts in the plan.

The following runs and workouts are included in the intermediate 10k training plan:

  • 3 easy runs
  • 1 long run
  • 1 speed training session (e.g. interval training or tempo running)
  • 1 strength training and/or cross training session
  • 1 race test

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.

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. 

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. 

Tempo run

Tempo running, also known as ‘threshold running’, is a form of speed training 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 speed training 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. 

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, yoga, 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.

Race test

Mid way through the plan you will be doing what is called a ‘race test’.

A race test 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.

Are you ready to get started?

Read on to see my 8 week intermediate 10k training plan!

8 week intermediate 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

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

Intermediate 10k training plan PDF:

8 week intermediate 10k training plan

4 tips for 10k running

Here are a few training tips to help you train for and run a 10k:

#1 Think about pacing during your run

If you have a goal race time in mind, then work out the pace you need to be running at during your training in order to achieve this on race day.

The best way to do this is to use a running pace calculator.

#2 Wear the right running shoes

There’s nothing worse that an ill-fitting pair of running shoes that don’t support your feet or give you blisters.

Success on race day is as much about your training as it is preparation in the form of the right running gear.

Check out my guide on how to choose the running shoes for more information.

#3 Fuel your runs properly

Food and nutrition is really important when it comes to your speed and performance.

Ensure you are fueling your body properly with nutritious and wholesome food and make sure you are staying hydrated.

#4 Perfect your running form

Proper running form and technique plays a huge role performance and speed.

Running form is all about running in the most efficient way possible. Efficiency is a contributing factor to speed, so take some time to understand if your running form could be improved.

Check out my guide on head to toe running form and technique for more tips and advice.

More tips on 10k running:

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Sophie Hill

Thursday 29th of October 2020

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

Caroline Geoghegan

Friday 30th of October 2020

Thanks Sophie! I'm glad you found it useful :)