6 Week 10K Beginner Training Schedule

Taking up running is a great way to keep you fit and healthy. Regular running can reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, will boost your mood, and will help keep your weight under control as running burns more calories than any other widely practiced exercise.

But starting your running journey and taking the plunge into your first 10K is a daunting task.

6 Week 10K Beginner Training Schedule

To help you through, we have put together this training program that will get you from couch potato to pounding the pavement in no time.

To begin this program you should already be fairly active and be able to run around two miles (just over 3K). If you need to do a bit more to improve your fitness and activity level, why not start with a 5K training guide?

How To Use This Training Program

This program will gradually increase your fitness level until you are able to run a 10K race, or 6.21 miles.

The program increases the miles covered in the runs – peaking at 80% of a 10K’s distance in Week 5 – before tapering back down for recovery in Week 6. This means that when you run your 10K on Day 7 of Week 6, your muscles are fresh and you have built up enough fitness to smash the race.

In order to get the most out of this program, there are some things you need to be aware of.

Firstly, you must be aware of your pacing. Starting off your run at a speed that you cannot maintain will mean you will not be able to finish your run. Similarly, starting off too slowly will not give your body the same chance to build up fitness.

Pace

Pacing for everyone will be a little different, but you can gauge your pace from how you feel during easy runs.

An easy run (as seen in Days 2 & 4 of Week 1) is done at a low effort. This means that you need to find a speed that allows you to hold a conversation with someone. You will be breathing a little heavily, but slow down if you find yourself really huffing or if you can’t speak.

Don’t underestimate the importance of an easy run as they will improve the efficacy of the aerobic system and will eventually help you run longer and quicker. Keep in mind that there is no shame in taking a quick walk to get your breath back during an easy run.

In fact, this is probably better than struggling through as you are more likely to stay motivated if each run feels manageable, even if you had to walk for two minutes in the middle.

Long runs (usually the last run of the week in this training program) improve your endurance which is important for increasing the distance that you cover during a run. These runs should be done at an easy pace – whatever that means for you.

Cross Training and Rest Days

Cross-training is a great way to prevent injury as it prevents your newly-found running muscles from being overused, letting your body fully recover between runs and helping to correct muscular imbalances.

Cross-training essentially gives your muscles a break to improve endurance without downtime. Introducing some gentle cross-training into your training, such as yoga, swimming, or cycling, will not necessarily get you to 10K any faster but you will probably feel a whole lot better when you do.

Rest days are very important for new runners as they will dramatically lower their risk of injury, which would set back 10K training by quite a bit while you recover.

Your body needs time to recover and it is during these rest days that your body will become stronger as it adapts to the new physical demands you are making.

Be aware that a rest day means no exercising at all, whereas a recovery day could be a rest day or a day that you partake in some cross-training.

6 Week 10K Beginner Training

Week 1

Day 1: 30 minutes of cross-training OR recovery day
Day 2: 2 miles – easy run
Day 3: 30 minutes cross training OR recovery day
Day 4: 2 miles – easy run
Day 5: Rest day
Day 6: 2 miles – long run
Day 7: 2 miles – quick walking pace OR recovery day

Week 2

Day 1: 30 minutes of cross-training OR recovery day
Day 2: 2.5 miles – easy run
Day 3: 30 minutes of cross-training OR recovery day
Day 4: 2.5 miles – easy run
Day 5: Rest day
Day 6: 3 miles – long run
Day 7: 2 miles – quick walking pace OR recovery day

Week 3

Day 1: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 2: 3 miles – easy run
Day 3: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 4: 3 miles – easy run
Day 5: Rest day
Day 6: 4 miles – long run
Day 7: 2 miles – quick walking pace OR recovery day

Week 4

Day 1: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 2: 3 miles – easy run
Day 3: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 4: 4 miles – easy run
Day 5: Rest day
Day 6: 5 miles – long run
Day 7: 2 miles – quick walking pace OR recovery day

Week 5

Day 1: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 2: 3 miles – easy run
Day 3: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 4: 4 miles – easy run
Day 5: Rest day 
Day 6: 4 miles – long run
Day 7: 2 miles – quick walking pace OR recovery day

Week 6

Day 1: 3 miles – easy run
Day 2: 30 minutes cross-training OR recovery day
Day 3: 3 miles – easy run
Day 4: Rest day
Day 5: 2 miles – easy run
Day 6: Rest day
Day 7: Race day!

Matt Williams