10k is the club runner's favourite distance, as it's a good yardstick of fitness. It's also the natural step on from running 5k, and a good target to aim for while you're building up stamina and improving your time over the shorter course.
As it's a test of endurance, it's better to build up your fitness over a long period of time rather than make the transition from 5k to 10k in one step. Follow our suggestions for ways to achieve this, and you'll be covering that extra distance in no time at all.
What kind of runner are you?
Don't try to start your running with a 10k event: as a beginner you should be aiming to cover 5k comfortably. You can find out more about training for 5k here. But if you are covering that distance comfortably, it's likely you'll have some of the basics covered in terms of good training habits - like, running at a varied pace, and extending your distance by 5 minutes each session.
To reach the right levels of fitness for 10k, you should be running at least three times each week. It's best to focus on increasing the distance covered in just one of those runs at a time, by running a little slower but covering more ground. If you need to include some walking breaks, do. 10k is all about endurance, not speed.
Even if you're covering 10k with ease, your efficiency as a runner can be improved by the way you run. The key to a better performance is having stamina reserves to draw on, and these can only be built up by improving your levels of fitness.
Gradually build up your long run by 5 minutes each week, to around 90 minutes. Don't be afraid to put shorter runs in occasionally, in which you can vary the amount of time spent tempo running, or running at speed. Remember, a comfortable athlete should be able to speak at least a sentence or two at a time - you may want to decrease your sessions by 5 minutes if you're finding this hard.
Whatever the distance you're working towards, varying your pace will help build stamina. You can do this by running in sessions - altering the speed at which you run - and improving on your performance over a long period of time. Don't forget to warm up and down after each run.
As you make progress, you shouldn't find these runs easier - you should be covering more ground and running faster as your fitness levels improve.
- Start with a 5 minute slow jog.
- 12 x 1 minute at a fast pace, breaking each with a 1 minute walk/jog rest.
- 6 x 2 minute at a fast pace, breaking each with a 2 minutes walk/jog rest.
- 6 x 1 minute sessions at full pace, breaking each with a 1 minute walk/jog rest.
- Run for another 5 minutes at a slow jog.
- 10 x 30 seconds at full pace, breaking each with a 30 second walk/jog rest.
- Run at a fast pace for sessions of 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, 2 minute, 3 minutes - all with a 2 minute rest interval in-between
- 6 x 3 minute at a fast pace with a 2 minute walk/jog rest interval in-between.
Remember, 'tempo' is faster than normal pace but it's still controlled. You should finish tired but not exhausted. Again, don't forget to warm up and down before each run.
- Start your sessions. Begin with a 5 minute slow jog.
- Run 4 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest, 6 minutes tempo (as the second piece of tempo running is longer, be sure to start at a sensible pace).
- Run 4 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest, 6 minutes tempo, 2 minutes rest, 4 minutes at tempo.
- Finish with 12 minutes at controlled tempo - jog for 5 minutes, and warm down.
- Move on to an intermediate session. Begin with a 5 minute slow jog.
- Run 3 x 7 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest.
- Run 4 x 5 minutes at tempo, 1 minute rest (don't run the 5 minute pieces hard).
- Run 10 minutes tempo, 2 minutes rest, 5 minutes tempo, 2 minutes rest, 5 minutes tempo. Keep it controlled!
- Finish with 18 minutes at a controlled speed - jog for 5 minutes, and warm down.
- Progress to advanced tempo sessions. Begin with a 5 minute slow jog.
- Run 3 x 8 minutes at tempo, 90 seconds rest.
- Run 5 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest, 8 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest, 5 minutes at tempo, 2 minutes rest, 8 minutes at tempo.
- Run 10 minutes steady running, straight into 12 minutes at tempo, then 3 minutes slow jog and 10 minutes at slightly faster than tempo pace.
- Finish with 25 minutes at a controlled speed - jog for 5 minutes, and warm down.
Read more about preparing for race day, and find out how stretching plays a vital part in your warm up and down.