How Long Does It Take to Train for a 10K?

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The training period you will need for a 10K (6.2-mile) race depends on numerous factors, including your current fitness level, your running experience, and your goals for the race.

Beginner runners who have never done a 10K before should plan to train anywhere from eight to 10 weeks, depending on their starting point. You should be committed to running or working out at least three to four days per week. Taking a gradual approach will help you safely and comfortably progress with your training and avoid running injuries. If you like the idea of racing but feel like 6.2 miles is too far to race, you could always start with training for a 5K (3.1 miles) race. It's fairly easy to find local 5Ks.

Most experienced runners who have already run a 5K or other race may be ready to run a 10K with little to no preparation. But if they're hoping to beat a personal record, they should plan on dedicating six to eight weeks to 10K-specific training.

Here's an estimate of the time commitment to expect with 10K training, based on your starting point, and training schedules so you can see what the training looks like.

Training Plans for Beginner 10K Runners

If you've never run a 10K and you're currently running less than 5 miles a week, expect to spend eight to 10 weeks preparing for your 10K. If you have more of a mileage base, you may be able to skip the first one to two weeks of training and move right on to week two or three. You should plan on running at least three times a week. You'll also want to incorporate one to two days of cross-training to help build your fitness and boost your injury resistance.

Keep in mind that if you choose to sign up for a race, you absolutely do not have to run the entire distance. Many 10K participants run/walk the race, taking walking breaks throughout their run. Just keep in mind that some races do have time limits, so you might not be able to walk the entire race. If you're concerned, check the race's website to see if there's a cutoff time.

You can use these 10K training schedules for beginner runners:

  • 10K Training Schedule for Run/Walkers: This 10-week training schedule is for those who want to use the run/walk method for their 10K training and racing. This method alternates intervals of running and walking. The program assumes that you can already run/walk (at 1 min/1 min run/walk intervals) for 20 minutes.
  • 10K Training Schedule for Beginners: This 8-week training schedule is designed for beginner runners who want to get you to the finish line of a 10K race. It assumes that you can already run at least two miles.
  • 10K Training Schedule for Advanced Beginners: This 8-week schedule is geared toward runners who can run three miles and can run four to five days per week.

Training Plans for Intermediate and Advanced 10K Runners

If you have a little more running experience and feel like you're past the beginner stage, you could be ready for a 10K in anywhere from six to 10 weeks. Plan to run at least four to five days a week, with one to two days of cross-training, such as cycling or swimming. You can start after Week 1 of these programs if you already have the base mileage established.

A Word From Verywell

The more lead time you have to train for a 10K, the better your performance is likely to be. If you just want to have fun at a charity run and make it to the finish line, you will need less lead time. But if you want to set a personal record or even take home a prize, you'll need to spend more time training.

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