10 Weeks to 10K: Improver's Plan

This schedule is for you if you've got a little regular running experience behind you and are seeking to improve your 10k running.

It includes four runs a week designed to help you improve progressively and the right running at the right time in your build up. To be ready for this plan you should be able to run for 45 minutes continuously and have some experience of (or be ready to tackle!) interval training, including running at faster paces! The days are not fixed, be flexible. If it's easier for your own situation you can change the days of the schedule around to best fit with your specific needs. So, instead of running Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you might run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The type of running and the suggested workouts should stay the same, just on different days of the week.

Easy or recovery runs

During an easy run you should feel relaxed. You should be breathing comfortably and be capable of holding a conversation throughout the run. An easy run will feel five or less out of 10 in terms of effort.

Steady runs

Steady runs build the aerobic base that acts as the foundation for the rest of your training. Conversations are still possible at this pace but in sentences rather than long gossip. A steady run will feel about six to seven out of 10 in terms of effort.

Threshold runs

The key to improving your 10k lies with mastering discomfort and running at 'threshold' pace. Threshold running is the type of running training you know you should do but often don't! Threshold running is a pace best described as 'controlled discomfort'. You need to push the boundaries of comfort and run on the edge of your comfort zone as effectively and efficiently as you can. This takes to learn. You'll still be in control, but you'll need to focus and concentrate on maintaining this pace for any sustained amount of time. In terms of effort threshold running equates to about 80 per cent to 85% of your maximum or about eight out of 10.  

Target 10k race pace will feel like, or a little faster than your threshold pace. As the plan continues you should start to translate your threshold effort into 10k target pace. This will help you understand what to aim for on race day and how to pace yourself to run your best race.

How to race a 10k

Through your training you'll have developed a tolerance for your 10k race pace and racing is the time to put that to the test.

  • Know your race pace per km or mile to the second. You should be able to run 1km repeats in training at bang on target time with a little recovery if you're going to put yourself in with a chance of stringing them together with no rest on Race Day.
  • Don't spend the first half of the race gently getting into it.  You've got to be hitting your target race pace quickly and focusing on holding it for each mile.  Mess around for the first two miles and it's too late to play catch up, go too hard for the first two and the final two are going to hurt!
  • Push when it hurts – no letting off. It's going to hurt. That's the nature of 10k racing. Your strength comes from knowing that you can mentally master the hurt and keep churning out the pace with no let up.

The Plan

The Improver's Plan is available to download and print as a PDF, or you can view the full training schedule below.

10 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 30 mins easy
TUESDAY Jog 5 mins easy, run 30 mins steady, jog 5 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY Run 45 mins steady
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 60 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

9 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 30 mins easy
TUESDAY Jog 5 mins, run 5 mins threshold, jog 5 mins easy, run 5 mins threshold, jog 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY Run 45 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 65 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

8 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 35 mins easy
TUESDAY 10 mins easy, (3x5 mins threshold with 2 mins jog rec) 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY 15 mins easy, (5x2 mins threshold, 1 min easy jog rec) 15 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 70 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

7 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 40 mins easy
TUESDAY Jog 5 mins, run 15 mins threshold, jog 10 mins
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY 15 mins easy, (4x5 mins threshold, with 2 mins jog rec) 15 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 70 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

6 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 40 mins easy
TUESDAY Run 10 mins easy, run 10 mins steady, run 10 mins threshold, run 10 mins easy, run 10 mins threshold, run 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY Run 45 mins steady run
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 80 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

5 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 30 mins easy
TUESDAY 10 mins easy, (5x1k at target 10k race pace with 2 mins walk/jog recovery) 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY Run 50 mins steady
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 80 mins easy or run a 5k time trial
SUNDAY Rest

4 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 40 mins easy
TUESDAY 10 mins easy, (6x1k at target 10k race pace with 2 mins recovery jog/walk) 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY 10 mins easy, 30 mins threshold, 10 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 10 mins easy, 50 mins steady, 10 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

3 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 35 mins easy
TUESDAY 10 mins easy, (3x2k at target 10k race pace with 3 mins walk/jog recovery) 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY 10 mins easy (8x2 mins threshold with 2 mins jog/walk recovery) 10 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 70 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

2 Weeks To Go

MONDAY 30 mins easy
TUESDAY 10 mins easy, (5x1k at target 10k race pace with 1 min walk/jog recovery) x 2, 10 mins easy
WEDNESDAY Rest
THURSDAY Run 30 mins easy
FRIDAY Rest
SATURDAY Run 50 mins easy
SUNDAY Rest

1 Week To Go

MONDAY 20 mins easy
TUESDAY Run 30 mins easy (Total: 30 mins)
WEDNESDAY 10 mins easy (3 x 3 mins threshold, 2 mins walk/jog rec) 10 mins easy
THURSDAY Rest
FRIDAY 20 mins easy run
SATURDAY Rest
SUNDAY Rest

Race Day

MONDAY Race Day. Good luck in the Vitality London 10,000!