A 10K Training Plan That Will Have You Race Ready in 12 Weeks

people running a marathon


Sponsored By:
Hydrow logo

This article and training plan was written by expert running coach, Greg McMillan, from McMillan Running.

There are faster races and there are longer races, but to many people, a 10K race is the ultimate combination of speed and endurance. To prepare for a race that will challenge you both aerobically and muscularly, you will need a plan. Furthermore, you'll need a plan that will not only have you crushing your goals, but one that incorporates cross-training such as rowing, yoga, and mobility, as well as rest, so that you stay healthy and injury free.

How Long Does it Take to Train for a 10K?

Whether this is your first ever time tackling a 10K or you are a seasoned pro who wants to PR, a solid plan of action is beneficial and advisable. Depending on your goals, there are different time frames that can prepare you for running a great 10K. However, this program is designed for 12 weeks, and it is geared toward those in the beginner or intermediate stage of their journey to 6.2 miles.

Running can be hard on your body. In fact, a Yale Medicine report states that around 50 percent of regular runners are injured every year. This 10K training program is 12 weeks long, which allows you to properly build up. Also, each week has a mandatory day off, an optional day off, and two days of cross-training. By incorporating rowing and yoga workouts, runners will build their overall fitness while giving their bodies a break from the pounding of running.

Why You Should Follow a 10K Training Plan

The 10K is unique in the fact that your pace will be under your maximum aerobic capacity, but it will also be faster than your lactate threshold (the point where you start to build up a lot of lactic acid in your muscles). This is an interesting pace for most runners because they need to push the pace which causes a pretty high demand on their aerobic capacity, but they can't go too fast as they would for a 5k because that will cause fatigue due to lactic acid build-up.

Therefore, when running a 10K, the runner will need to not only build up to a comfortable goal pace but will also have to train their maximum aerobic capacity so that they can go faster before the lactic acid build-up starts to slow them down. It is a bit of a tightrope walk (or should I say, run) but with a proper training plan, the 10K race is also a running sweet spot.

The 10K Training Plan - Know the Lingo

It is important for runners of all levels to stick to training plans, and that includes getting familiar with some of the jargon and learning how to evaluate your progress.

  • Cross-training: Cross-training incorporates a variety of other exercises, such as yoga, rowing, resistance training, and mobility, into your weekly plan. Cross-training increases your overall fitness, trains other muscle groups, and helps reduce injury. It is important to not skip these days.
  • Steady-state run: When running at a steady state you will keep a continuous easy-medium pace.
  • Intervals: Although your ultimate goal with this plan is to crush a 10K course, intervals will play an integral part in getting you there. Intervals are short, intense runs that are repeated several times. There are small breaks between each interval.
  • Leg speed: When training leg speed you will do short, quick sprints that focus on a fast, light stride. You will pay special attention to the time your foot is on the ground and concentrate on proper running technique during these.
  • Tempo run: Tempo runs are also called "threshold runs" because you run at a pace slightly below your current 10K threshold pace—approximately 25-30 seconds per mile slower. They help your body learn to run at a harder pace for longer.
  • Rest days: Just as our bodies need exercise, they also need rest. Rest days allow our muscles to restore and rejuvenate. They also help us from burning out during our training.
  • Down week: Down weeks consist of running less mileage than the weeks leading up to them. They can help you stay healthy and energized for an upcoming race. Like rest days, it is critical to adhere to your schedule for down weeks.

woman setting up rowing machine

10K Training Schedule

The cross-training programs featured in this 10K training schedule are provided by Hydrow. To access these trainer-led videos, shop Hydrow.

Week 1

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-40-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Hip Pivot
  • Day 4: Leg speed sprints - 8-10 sets of 20 sec., 1-min. jog between sets
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Stress and Tension Release
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 45-60 min.

Week 2

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-40-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Resistance Row
  • Day 4: Steady-state run - 15-25 min.
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Hip Opening Restorative Yoga
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 50-60 min.

Week 3

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-40-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: 80s Runner's Prep
  • Day 4:Leg speed sprints - 10-12 sets of 20 sec., 1-min. jog between sets
  • Day 5:Featured Hydrow Workout: Mobility for Running
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 55-70 min.

Week 4 (Down Week)

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-40-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Cross-Training Row
  • Day 4: Steady-state run - 20-30 min.
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Steady Endurance Row
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 55-70 min.

Week 5

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45 min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Rowing for Runners
  • Day 4: Medium intervals - 4-6 sets of 800m, 200m jog between sets
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Stretching for Runners
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 55-70 min.

Week 6

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Setting Goals Row
  • Day 4: Tempo run - 10-15 min.
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Cardio Burn Row
  • Day 6: Active recovery (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 55-70 min. (increase to a fast pace for the last 10-15 min.)

Week 7

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Low Rhythm Power Warm-Up
  • Day 4: Goal pace intervals - 2 miles with 5-minute jog after, then 2 sets of 1 mile with 3-4-min. jog after each
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Post-Run Mobility
  • Day 6: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 60-80 min.

Week 8 (Down Week)

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Power Marathon Row
  • Day 4: Speed workout - 8-10 sets of 400m, 200m jog between sets
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Hip Opening Flow
  • Day 6: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 75 min.

Week 9

  • Day 1: Rest Day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Cross-Training Row
  • Day 4: Goal pace intervals - 2 sets of 2 miles with 5-minute jog between sets, then 2 sets of 1 mile with 3-4 min. jog between sets
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Bodyweight Hip Strength
  • Day 6: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 65-85 min. (increase to a fast pace for the last 10-15 min.)

Week 10

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Low Rhythm Power Warm-up
  • Day 4: Tempo run - 15-25 min.
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Full-Body Mobility
  • Day 6: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Time trial - 5km at 10km goal pace or race 5km

Week 11 (Peak)

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Power Marathon Row
  • Day 4: Goal pace - 3 sets of 2 miles with 3.5-min. jog between sets
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: Happy Hamstrings Align Yoga
  • Day 6: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 7: Long run - 40-55 min. (increase to a fast pace for the last 10-min.)

Week 12 (Peak)

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30-45-min. jog
  • Day 3: Featured Hydrow Workout: Lower Rhythm Power Warm-up
  • Day 4: Active rest (or cross-training or 30-min. jog)
  • Day 5: Featured Hydrow Workout: 80s Runners Prep
  • Day 6: 20-30-min. jog
  • Day 7: Race 10km

Hydrow offers several full-body rowing workouts that fall into three categories of intensity: Breathe, Sweat, and Drive. Tackle them individually or combine them for a dynamic cross-training program to help reach your running goals.

How to Prepare for a 10K Event

One of the best things about running is that it does not take a lot of gear to get started. However, you will want to make sure that you're outfitted with the proper gear and fuel. Additionally, although we can't change the weather, we can be prepared for it. Take a look at some of the best running accessories, ways to fuel and hydrate on the go, and the items to make you comfortable when the climate is less than ideal.

Accessories

Fuel and Hydration

Outdoor Conditions

Discuss This Article