RW's 4-Week 10K Schedule, 5 Days Per Week

Only a month to train for your 10K? Here's the solution

Posted: 6 May 2000
by Sean Fishpool and Bud Baldaro

Four weeks is long enough to improve your fitness and put a little edge of speed in your legs. There are three schedule options here: one for runners who can spare three days a week to train; one for five days a week; and one for six or seven days a week. Each option loosely relates to a range of target 10K times, and these are shown at the top of each schedule. The most basic option does assume you’re already running a minimum of three times and 16-20 miles a week, so if you’ve never run before but you’re committed to running a 10K in four weeks’ time you’d be best to simply focus on building up the length of your runs rather than following the more speed-orientated structure of these schedules.

Two key things to remember:

  1. The sessions aren’t set in stone. Be flexible with speeds and distances where you need to, especially if you start to feel tired all the time.
  2. Feel free to change the order of the sessions to fit in with your daily schedule. Just be sure to follow the basic principle of not scheduling hard sessions back-to-back.

(Approx 40- to 50-minute 10K)
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Rest 2.5M warm-up, then 6 x 600m or 2 mins, with 400m or 2-3 min jog recoveries, then 2.5M cool-down 6M easy, inc 8 - 10 x 100m strides 3-4M fast but controlled Rest 6-8M easy, inc hills 6-7M easy
Week 2 Rest 2-2.5M warm-up, then 5 x 800m or 3 mins, with 400m or 2.5-min recoveries, then 2-2.5M cool-down 5-7M easy, inc 8-12 strides 2M easy, 2M fast, 2M easy Rest 6-8M fartlek, emphasis on pyramid efforts 7-8M easy
Week 3 Rest 2-2.5M warm-up, then 5 x 1000m or 3.5-4 mins, with 400m or 4-min recoveries, then 2-2.5M cool-down Rest 6-8M steady, inc hills Rest 2M easy, 1M fast, 1M easy, 1.5M fast, 2M easy 8-9M easy
Week 4 Rest 2-2.5M warm-up, then 4 x 800m or 3 mins, with 400m or 4-min recoveries, then 2.5M cool-down 5-7M easy 6M steady Rest 3-5M easy, inc a few strides RACE

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10k schedule

Discuss this article

Would someone be kind enough to explain terms such as "easy", "steady" "tempo" etc when and 800m strides when used in the context of a training schedule - I'm
running my first race - a 10k next month so wouldbe grateful for some info.

Posted: 25/04/2003 at 16:49

Easy - you can have a conversation
Steady - you can get out short sentences
Tempo - you can gasp a word here and there
Strides are sort of relaxed sprints added in as "fun".

Oh and hill sprints are eye-bulgers.
Posted: 25/04/2003 at 17:43


Which of the categories does "Plodding" fall into? Sorry for asking such a daft question!
Posted: 25/04/2003 at 21:50

plodding = only just not being overtaken by geriatrics on their electric wheelchairs
Posted: 25/04/2003 at 22:51

Thanks Leaping Frog,

I can say I go at quarter plod speed then.

Posted: 26/04/2003 at 01:22

Thanks Nessie
Posted: 28/04/2003 at 10:30

That's helped me too. And here's another daft question - why in the schedule does it say eg. 2miles, 8 x 400m fast with 2-3min jog, then 2miles?
I know the m is metres but it's daft to mix the two!
Sorry. Pedantic old fashioned bod here. I work in yards and miles and even though I know a metre is less than a yard, I get easily confused!
Posted: 28/04/2003 at 10:47

silly, isn't it. also, doesn't it depress you where it says 400m or 70s. there's *no way* i can cover 400m in anything less than 90-100s. should i go for the distance or the time (so far i've been sticking with the time, being the easier of the two to run and also to monitor)?
Posted: 28/04/2003 at 10:58

A Twist,
1 metre = 3foot 3 inches, so is > 1 yard.
Respect to all schedule followers, you've more discipline than me.

Posted: 28/04/2003 at 14:15

Thanks Cardboardbox, obviously maths was never my strong point, like many things I've found. I'm with Clarence and stick to times. Much simpler and less embarrassing when it comes to talking about running in public!

Posted: 28/04/2003 at 15:19

clarence kid, i might be wrong here but could they also mean cover what distance you can in 70 secs and should the 400metres come first then great ?
Posted: 30/04/2003 at 19:33

I'd also like to know exactly what "fartlek, emphasis on pyramid efforts" actually means.

This is a good site, but a jargon buster section would go make it better - are you reading this web site editor?!
Posted: 17/02/2004 at 13:23

Fartlek is swedish for Speedplay, and means mixing in efforts of random length and frequency in a run, determined by how you feel eg effort to next corner, 3 lamposts, until next car passes etc.

Pyramid sessions are a sequence of efforts of escalating then reducing length ie on a square course -1 side effort, 1 side rest, 2E 1R, 3e 1R, 4E 1R, 3E 1R, 2E 1R, 1E 1R. Is a good tool for working you hard because once you've reached peak effort you are already winding down
Posted: 17/02/2004 at 13:37

Thanks Bod!

I'm really looking foward to trying this out - 1st race in 5 weeks time. Here we go!
Posted: 17/02/2004 at 15:13


Apologies in advance but can I assume m = metres and M = Miles?


Posted: 09/09/2005 at 09:31

Yes, you can assume that. A 2.5 metre warm up probably wouldn't do you much good and no-one expects you to run 6 x 600 miles!! (Well not yet anyway)
Posted: 18/08/2006 at 09:04

I've been following all these instructions and now seem to have knitted myself a lovely pullover - great pattern of Thomas the tank engine - thanks!!
Posted: 18/08/2006 at 10:02

Any idea how hard the repetitions should be?
Posted: 30/08/2006 at 21:56

Hi there,

Am looking to use this schedule to boost my 10k times - at present can do a 10k in 55 mins.

Have got a couple of questions...and wondered if someone can answer them for me please....

1, I am quite busy with my job and sometimes cannot train say on a Thursday if my schedule tells me too...Does it matter if I say do my training on a Mon, Tues, Wed, Sat and Sun instead of a Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat and Sun as in the schedule? Providing I do same number of sessions a week, does it matter what days of the week I train on?

2, In some sessions, it says there is a say 2 mile warmdown. What is the benefit of this? Is it solely to try and prevent injury or stiffness in muscles or is it also to help build up my weekly mileage?

Many thanks to whoever can help me with these questions.

Kind Regards,


Posted: 16/10/2006 at 10:16

Hi Nick, am sure you can adjust the plan to the days you have available without any detrimental effect. To be honest I am not sure about the two mile warm down, but I imagine it's sensible to put those miles after a session requiring more effort, for the injury reason, rather than running them all in the warm up, say, and then stopping suddenly after the 'effort' part.

Posted: 19/10/2006 at 11:34

HI guys, got my 1st 10k coming up in 4 weeks, managed to reach a reasonable level of fitness, so now  wanna follow these plans to pollish up my time.

Prob a silly question, but could somone explain to me what is meant by 2.5M warm-up, then 6 x 600m or 2 mins, with 400m or 2-3 min jog recoveries, then 2.5M cool-down.

I understand "2.5miles warm up", but then "6x600metres" no probs, "or 2 mins".... of what?

This would help as it's easier for me to judge time rather than distance.

Posted: 18/08/2008 at 13:43

can I jump in and ask if anyone knows what "undulating" means?! Please dont tell me it means big scary hills!!! *cowers in fear*
Posted: 18/08/2008 at 13:52

Undulating is usually code for massive great big hills. Is this a course description ? Take climbing gear and ropes. Just in case.
Posted: 18/08/2008 at 14:01

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(think that covers all the emotions im going through just now hahaha!)

Posted: 18/08/2008 at 14:23

craig - i am also fairly new to all this but i assume that 6 x 600m or 2 mins means 2 mins of fairly hard running  - as hard as you can run for 2 mins at a time with rest or jog warm down in between if you would rather go by time rather than the 600m distance quoted.

Posted: 24/08/2010 at 22:43

Hi, has anyone followed this schedule? If so, what sort of results did you see? 
Posted: 26/04/2011 at 16:22

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