“The advice I have for beginners is the same philosophy that I have for runners of all levels of experience and ability – consistency, a sane approach, moderation and making your running an enjoyable, rather than dreaded, part of your life.” – Bill Rodgers
The Beginner 10K training plan is designed for new runners who want to successfully run a 10K race. The focus of this plan is on a combination of easy runs, long distance runs, rest days, and optional cross-training.
This plan is 10-weeks in length and features four days per week of running. Each running session is based on time instead of distance, leading to a reduced risk of injury and a more enjoyable experience. As the plan progresses, the total running time of each session will increase.
The Beginner 10K training plan includes two optional cross-training workouts per week. These cross-training sessions allow you to incorporate other activities you enjoy with this training plan. Cross-training activities may include cycling, yoga, elliptical, swimming, or weight-lifting.
Individuals will choose this plan if they have been running regularly 3 to 4 times for at least 40-minutes each time. If you are currently running less, that is okay! You may want to consider starting with the Run-Walk 10K plan or the Beginner 5K plan. Starting with either of these plans will allow you to properly build your fitness up to be able to complete this level of running plan.
At a glance
Length: 10 weeks
Typical Week: 4 Day Run, 2 Day Cross Train, 1 Day Rest
The terms in the Beginner 10K training plan are defined inside the downloaded plan, but let me define them for you here as well.
Warm-Up: Walk for 5 minutes at an easy effort before every workout (run-walk days and cross-training days). A proper warm-up will help to gradually increase heart rate, improve circulation, loosen up muscles, and prepare you for the days workout.
Cool-Down: Walk for 5 minutes at an easy effort after every workout (run-walk days and cross-training days). A proper cool-down will help to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing rate back down to normal levels after the days workout.
Perceived Effort: A way to rate your effort level based on your feelings about the level of intensity on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 is considered ‘At Rest’ and 10 is considered ‘An All Out Level.’ Use this scale to stay in the correct range listed in the training schedule for a given day (i.e. 6-7).
Heart Rate: If you have access to a heart rate monitor then use this device to stay in the correct range listed in the training schedule for a given day (i.e. 60-75% of maximum heart rate).
Cross-Training: Include activities other than running and walking in your training plan. If you are completely new to exercise, then you may want to wait until weeks 4 or 5 to add in a cross-training workouts. If you are already active 3 to 4 days per week, then start the cross-training as scheduled in the plan. Activities for cross-training may include cycling, elliptical, rowing, strength training, swimming, and more. Cross-training allows you to rest your running muscles and work opposing muscle groups. These activities will help to reduce the impact on your body and the risk of injury. Cross-training can also speed up recovery time between run-walk workouts. Cross-training workouts should be done at a moderate level, Perceived Effort of at least 7, or a Heart Rate of 75-80%.
Strength Training: A form of cross-training, strength training can be a great way to increase lean muscle and boost metabolism while at rest. Strength training can be completed using free-weights, resistance bands, weight machines, or classes such as pilates, yoga or cross-fit. Include exercises for upper body, core, and lower body. Warm-up with a walk or another form of cardio. If you are new to strength training, then start with 1 set of each exercise for 12-15 repetitions. The goal is to work your muscles to fatigue or until you can no longer maintain proper form during the exercise. Continue with 1 set of each exercise for weeks 1 through 4, then progress to 2 to 3 sets of each exercise for 8-12 repetitions.
Flexibility: Stretch lightly after every warm-up period. Stretch again after every workout to improve flexibility, increase circulation, and reduce the risk of injury.
Easy Effort: Easy pace/effort is considered slightly above what you can maintain a conversation, 70-75% of maximum heart rate, and 6 to 7 on the Perceived Effort scale.
Moderate Effort: Moderate pace/effort is where you can hear your breathing, but you are not breathing hard, 75-80% of maximum heart rate, and 7 to 8 on the Perceived Effort scale.
Training Plan Structure
The following Beginner 10K schedule is only a guide. Feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule. You will find more information on 10K training in the the FREE downloadable file.