Advanced 10K Training Program

If you’re an experienced runner, this 8-week, 10k training program is designed to improve your times by incorporating more advanced forms of conditioning.

The program makes use of intense tempo and interval training and some strength training should also be incorporated into the plan. The program assumes you know your own target race pace. Below you can see an 8-week overview. Each session is outlined in more detail below.

10K Training Schedule

10k training program

Warm Up & Cool Down

As a more experienced runner you will know the importance and benefits of warming up and cooling down. It is particularly important before and following high intensity sessions such as interval training and tempo runs (see below). Warm up with 10 minutes (or a mile) of light jogging followed by stretches to all the major muscle groups. You may then want to perform a few 100m bursts of speed work before you begin interval training.

Cool down with 10 minutes of light jogging and more stretching to all major muscle groups. You will find plenty of static and dynamic stretching exercises in the flexibility training section.

Interval Runs
You are probably already aware of interval training. If not this session simple involves splitting up a set distance into smaller chunks, or intervals and running them at a higher intensity than you would the full distance.

Interval training takes place on Mondays and Thursdays in this 10k training plan. It’s important that you try to allow at least a full day in between sessions and preferably two full days.

Each interval (i.e. 0.5km or 1km) should be run at race pace. You may want to run the shorter o.5km intervals at slightly higher than race pace but don’t get carried away! Work to rest ratio should be 1:1 and measured in time not distance. For example, if a 1km bout takes 4 minutes, follow that with a 4-minute walk/slow jog.

Distance Runs
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays of this 10k training plan incorporate steady-state runs of varying distances. Wednesday is a longer run, which peaks at a distance greater than the race over the 8-week period. These are easy runs and should be performed at less than race pace – roughly 70% VO2max or 80% maximum heart rate.

Tempo Runs
The tempo run on Saturdays is performed at slightly higher than race pace. Unlike interval training (which is also high intensity) this run is continuous. The aim is to build up gradually over the first 10 minutes reaching race pace or slightly higher and maintaining if for 10-15 minutes. The final 5-10 minutes should be a gradual easing off. The 30 minute tempo run does not include the warm up or cool down, which should be performed before and after.

Strength Training
You may or may not want to perform some strength training sessions as part of this plan. Two sessions per week is ample and they should be separated by at least 48 hours. Contrary to some misguided beliefs strength training is not detrimental to the endurance athlete. In fact, performed correctly it is highly beneficial. Lighter weights and higher repetitions are more suitable than heavy loads. Circuit training in particular lends itself well to distance events.

For more information on strength training click here.

Rest Day
Essential for an advanced 10k training program such as this. Don’t be tempted to extra miles – give your body a complete break.

You will notice that week 5 sees a reduction in training volume. This is deliberate and an important part of the program. You should also purposefully reduce the intensity of interval and tempo runs during this week.

The final week sees a tapering off towards competition day. One of the most common mistakes more advanced athletes make is to over train in the time immediately leading up to a race. As with studying for an exam cramming is not the best policy!! Week 8 is the most you should do. Listen to your body however. Your aim to feel completely rested going into race day.