The 10K seems to be lacking the spotlight of other race distances – yet it can be a really fun distance for runners. The challenge in a 10K becomes balancing both endurance and speed. This 6 week 10k training plan – focused on intermediate runners – uses a combination of easy runs, long runs, and speed work to address both factors.
Here’s everything you need to know about this intermediate 6 week 10K training plan:
You can scroll to the bottom of this post to view and print the training plan, but be sure to read over these important tips before starting it:
Who is this training plan for?
This plan is ideal if you are currently running 3-5 times a week and can run several miles at a time comfortably. You can use this to train for your first 10K, or you can use this if you have completed 10K races in the past but are looking to improve your time.
This plan is not ideal for beginners, as the volume and speedwork are higher than necessary for new runners. If you are a beginner, I’d encourage you to check out my 12 week 10K training plan for beginners. If you’re an intermediate runner that’s looking for something less intense than this plan, check out my other 10K training plan which is also 6 weeks but only includes 4 days per week of running.
*Disclaimer: Check with your doctor prior to starting any new exercise plan, especially if you’ve had any injuries or have a medical condition that may affect your fitness.[Tweet “Are you runner looking to improve your 10K time? Try this intermediate training plan!”]
How does this differ from a beginner plan?
Most beginner plans focus on a few days per week of running with gradual increases in mileage, and most are a bit longer than 6 weeks for a 10K.
This intermediate 10K training plan, on the other hand, includes more days of running each week, is only 6 weeks long, and includes a key speedwork day each week. Occasional speedwork is essential for getting faster at the 10K distance – if you want to race faster, you need to train faster.
Your Running Schedule:
This 6 week 10k training plan includes 5 days per week of running – two easy runs, one day of speedwork, one long run, and one recovery run.
You can fit these into your week as works best for your schedule – I personally recommend something like the following schedule:
- Monday – Rest (or Cross Train)
- Tues – Day 1 – Easy Run
- Weds – Day 2 – Speedwork
- Thurs – Rest
- Fri – Day 3 – Easy Run
- Sat – Day 4 – Long Run
- Sun – Day 5 – Recovery Run
Types of Running Workouts and Pacing Information:
This plan includes several types of runs – here are descriptions of each:
- Easy Pace – These are your normal, comfortably paced runs. You should finish these and feel fairly good – not overly tired, sore, or huffing/puffing.
- Long Runs – Just like it sounds, these are the longest runs of your week. They are meant to help build endurance for the 10K event. Complete them at a comfortable, steady pace. Avoid going out too fast and then dropping your pace at the end.
- Recovery Run – This run is done the day after your long run, when you are likely feeling a bit tired and sore. It’s meant to simply keep your body moving and help add some easy mileage to your week. Run them slow – they should be slower than the easy pace runs.
- Tempo Run – For the 45 minute tempo run, you should start with 10 minutes of easy running, gradually building up to a little slower than race pace for 25 minutes, then cool down with easy running for 10 minutes.
- Speedwork Intervals – Most of the speedwork in this plan is done in intervals. Here are some guidelines:
- For all speedwork, warm up with 1 mile of comfortable paced jogging prior to starting. After the speedwork, cool down with another mile of comfortable paced jogging.
- The speedwork is listed as the (number of intervals) x (distance). For example, 8 x 400 means 8 intervals of 400 meters each, with the specified rest interval between each. As an FYI: 400 m = 0.25 miles = 1 lap around a track / 800 m = 0.5 miles = 2 laps around a track.
- You can experiment with adjusting the number of intervals and the amount of rest as needed to make this a plan that works for you. For example, some runners simply progress slower or faster than others due to their genetics. If a workout feels too hard, try adding a little more rest time between intervals and/or cutting down 1-2 intervals. On the flip side, if you finish and it feels like it was too easy, try reducing the rest time or adding 1-2 intervals.
Why isn’t there more speedwork?
This is a question I’ve gotten from runners, so I want to address it here. Although you need to train at a fast pace to run at a fast pace, you only need to do that sometimes. Going balls-to-the-wall for every workout is just a recipe for fatigue and injury.
The reality is that by training for around 80% of your runs at a slow, easy pace – and then doing structured speedwork for the other 20% – you’ll make far greater improvements than if you try to do a ton of speedwork. (Read more about this in the post about running slower to run faster.)
Other Helpful 10K Training Tips:
Stretching & Foam Rolling:
This is an intermediate 10K training plan that includes speed work, which places more stress on your muscles than a traditional plan. Be sure to stretch regularly after your workouts. If you experience tight muscles on a regular basis, you should also incorporate some foam rolling as well.
If possible, try to include one day a week of cross training – like swimming or cycling. This will help work different muscle groups and balance out your training, preventing injury.
While I’m a huge proponent of strength training, if you’re not already doing it, I wouldn’t recommend starting any intense strength training while also starting this plan. As this plan is only 6 weeks, it will be difficult to balance a new strength training routine at the same time.
Instead, if you’d like to try to incorporate some strength work, just mix in body weight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and bird-dogs 1-3 days a week. Simply do them at another time of day on the same day as an easy run (i.e. run in AM, do these in PM).
If you already have a current strength training routine, you can incorporate that in here as it fits. Most research shows you can drop down to 1-2 days per week and maintain your current strength.
No matter what, I recommend leaving at least one day a week as a complete rest day. You can do light activity – a walk with the family, swimming at the beach with the kids – but don’t do any structured exercise. I truly believe this helps prevent overtraining and reduces injury risk.
Soreness and Injury:
Soreness is generally normal after runs, especially speed work and long runs. Pain that affects your running stride is not normal. If you experience any injury that is affecting the way you run, be sure to see a doctor for an evaluation.
Your 6 Week 10K Training Plan for Intermediate Runners: