The Perfect 10K

Your best-possible 10K - from a four-day emergency plan to an eight-week-plus schedule, with all your questions answered

by Sean Fishpool and Bud Baldaro

Runner 10K training

No surprise that the 10K is by far the country’s most popular type of race. To say it’s a versatile distance is an under- statement. Take a cross-section of any 10K field and you’ll find some people tackling it as their first run beyond five miles, others using it just to stretch out their legs in company, and still others making it the focus of their whole season. It’s not just the race that’s versatile either: 10K training fits in with more other running goals than any other distance.

Linked to this page we have schedules, solutions to get the best out of your training, and answers to the questions you ask the most. The variety of schedules we’ve created reflects the many ways in which people approach the race. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a beginner, a one-off runner taking up a bet, or a seasoned club runner out for a new PB, this is your route to your best-possible – and most enjoyable – result.

Two-Week Schedules

Two weeks put you in a sort of no man’s land – you can’t improve a great deal in such a short time, but you can do some useful sessions to prepare for the race. If you’re a relative newcomer, it should allow you to learn to run with a degree of efficiency and economy. Regular runners can use the fortnight to fine-tune their existing fitness and practice running at 10K pace.

We have two two-week schedules:

Four-Week Schedules

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.

We have three four-week schedules:

Eight-Week Schedules

You can really see your 10K fitness rocket over a preparation period of eight weeks. As with the four-week schedules, it’s important that you’re flexible in your approach. If the 10K is your single focus for the season and you’re willing to do everything you can for a best-possible time, you can add a two- to four-month build-up period to the schedules, in which you focus on establishing a steady, solid mileage background. Three-times-a-week runners should build up to a regular 20-25 weekly miles; five-times-a-week runners to 35-40 miles; and those training 6-7 times a week to 45-50 miles. You can vary your pace slightly to maintain interest during these build-up weeks, but save the real speedwork for the final eight-week focus.

We have three eight-week schedules:

Problem – Solution

10K is one of the most accessible race distances to train for, but it can still leave you scratching your head. Click on a problem to find the solution:

10K Q+As

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Discuss this article

Jeremy (or someone else),

I know how to turn email notification on or off to a thread I've posted to. But what if I see a thread and think "hmmm, like to see what happens here" - do I have to post to it to turn the notification on?
Posted: 24/07/2002 at 17:58

Hi Neil,

I suspect the only way at the moment is to add a message of your own; but it's definitely one for our 'neat ideas for the future' file

many thanks

Posted: 25/07/2002 at 08:19

Yes I'm afraid the only way to get the notifications, at the moment, is to post in a thread. You could just post in and say you were just switching on your email notifications.

As Sean says - we'll add it to the list of testers feedback and ideas which we are building.

Posted: 25/07/2002 at 09:33

Does anyone have a training schedule in km?

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Posted: 02/04/2011 at 10:50

Posted: 02/04/2011 at 12:04

Hi All,

My girlfriend is training for a 10k but has issues with her knees,

What is the best approach to take in terms of training to:

a) build up endurance 

b) minimise impact and damage to the knees

hour long fsrtlek session are probably out of the question...

Posted: 26/04/2011 at 23:25

Hi All, as newby I was reading a training program in one of RW mag , can some tell what RPE means ? 

Many thanks 


Posted: 09/01/2013 at 23:51

Hi Darren   Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE).   normally this is based on a 10 point scale.  For example:   0 - Nothing at all
1 - Very light
2 - Fairly light
3 - Moderate
4 - Some what hard
5 - Hard
7 - Very hard
10 - Very, very hard
  Hope this helps.
Posted: 19/02/2013 at 11:54

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