10K Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners

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So you've already run at least one 10K (6.2 mile) road race and now you're ready for your next goal: improving your time. To achieve a personal record (PR) in the 10K, you'll definitely need to add speed training to your training regimen, if you haven't already.

This eight-week training schedule will help you run your fastest 10K. If this plan seems too tough for you, try the advanced beginner 10K schedule. If this training plan seems too easy, try the advanced 10K schedules.

Components of the 10K Schedule​

Getting ready for a 10K involves incorporating many different components into your training routine. Some are related to exercise (such as cross-training, tempo runs, and long runs), while others are more focused on giving your body time to rest and recover.

Cross-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cross-training activity (e.g., biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at a moderate effort for 45 minutes. You should also do 15 to 20 minutes of strength-training, either using machines or bodyweight exercises, focusing on your lower body and core.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for fast 10K racing. Start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running near your 10K pace (but not at race pace), and finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Interval workouts (IW): After a warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) at your 5K race pace and then recover by jogging for about 90 seconds to two minutes. So when the schedule says "4 x 400," that's four hard 400s, with a brief recovery in between each lap. As you get more comfortable with intervals, you can add variety if you choose.

For example, instead of running 400 meters with a 90 second recovery, try running 800 meters with a slightly longer recovery. You can also try a ladder interval format where the interval increases and decreases in steps: 400m-800m-1200m-800m-400m.

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day, you won't see much improvement. Fridays are a good day for rest because you'll have just done your speed workout on Thursday and the next day is your longest run of the week.

Long runs: After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage. If most of your runs are on the road and you're not sure how far you run, you can determine the mileage by using sites such as MapMyRun.com. Or, drive your route in your car beforehand and use your car odometer to measure the mileage. Keep in mind that long runs can be done any day of the week, but many runners choose Saturday or Sunday for scheduling reasons.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy, comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles.

If you need to switch days to accommodate your schedule, that's fine. Just make sure you don't do two speed workouts in a row.

Sample 10K Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 3 m run easy 30 min tempo Rest 4 m run 30 min easy
2 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 3.5 m run easy 35 min tempo Rest 5 m run 35 min easy
3 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 3.5 m run easy 35 min tempo Rest 6 m run 35 min easy
4 CT or Rest 7 x 400 IW 4 m run easy 40 min tempo Rest 6 m run 40 min easy
5 CT or Rest 8 x 400 IW 4.5 m run easy 40 min tempo Rest 7 m run 40 min easy
6 CT or Rest 8 x 400 IW 4.5 m run easy 40 min tempo Rest 7.5 m run 45 min easy
7 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 4 m run easy 40 min tempo Rest 8 m run 45 min easy
8 CT or Rest 3 m run easy 40 min tempo run 3 m run easy Rest Rest 10K Race!

If you want to estimate your 10K time, you can do so with this pace calculator.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.