10K Novice Training Plan

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10K Novice Training Plan

How much do you need to train to run your first 10K race ? If you possess a good level of fitness (because of participation in other sports) you probably could run a half dozen miles on very little training. The same if you have run a 5K or an 8K race before. You might be sore the week after a 10K race, but you still could finish. But if you’ve made the decision to run a 10K race you might as well do it right. Following is an 8 week training plan to help get you to the finish line of your first 10K. (For those of us used to old money, 10K is 6.2 miles). To participate in this 10K plan, you should have no major health problems, should be in reasonably good shape, and should have done at least some jogging or walking. If running 2.5 miles for your first workout on Tuesday of the first week seems too difficult, you might want to begin by walking, rather than running. Or, if you have more than 8-10 weeks before your 10K, switch to the 5K schedule to build an endurance base before continuing.

Stretch & Strength: Mondays are the days in which we advise you to do some stretching along with some strength training. This is actually a day of rest following your long run on Sundays. Do some easy stretching of your running muscles. This is good advice for any day, particularly after you finish your run, but spend a bit more time stretching on Mondays. Strength training could consist of push-ups, pull-ups, use of free weights or working out with various machines at a gym. Runners generally benefit if they combine light weights with a high number of repetitions, rather than pumping very heavy iron. We also suggest that you do some strength training following your Thursday workouts, however you can schedule strength training on any two days convenient for you.

Running workouts: Put one foot in front of the other and run. It sounds pretty simple, and it is. Don’t worry about how fast you run; just cover the distance or approximately the distance suggested. Ideally, you should be able to run at a pace that allows you to converse comfortably while you do so. This isn’t always easy for beginners, so don’t push too hard or too fast. Under this workout plan, you run three days of the week: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, Sundays being a longer run. (See below).

Cross-Training: On the schedule, this is identified simply as “cross.” What form of cross-training works best for runners preparing for a 10K race? It could be swimming, cycling, walking, other forms of aerobic training or even some combination that could include strength training if you choose to do it on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of as indicated on the schedule. And feel free to throw in some jogging as well if you’re feeling good. What cross-training you select depends on your personal preference. But don’t make the mistake of cross-training too vigorously. Cross-training days should be considered easy days that allow you to recover from the running you do the rest of the week.

Rest: The most important day in any running program is rest. Rest days are as vital as training days. They give your muscles time to recover so you can run again. Actually, your muscles will build in strength as you rest. Without recovery days, you will not improve. In this plan, Friday is always scheduled as a day of rest to compliment the also easy workouts on Mondays.

Long Runs: The longest runs of the 8-week schedule are planned for Sundays, since you probably have more time to do them on the weekends. If Sunday isn’t a convenient day for your long runs, feel free to do them on Saturday or any other day of the week for that matter. What pace should you run? Go slow. There is no advantage to going fast during your long runs, even for experienced runners.

Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise that a lot of runners overlook in their training. In the training schedule below, we don’t specify walking workouts, but feel free to walk during your running workouts any time you feel tired or need a break. Nobody cares whether you run the full 10K, they’re more concerned that you finish. If this means walking every step in practice and in the race, do it.

The following schedule is only a guide. If necessary, you can make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule.

Click here to download the 10k Novice Schedule