Runners are a very diverse group. Some are competitive athletes who pay meticulous attention to every detail of their training and follow specific training plans geared towards improving performance in specific events.
Others take a more recreational approach and run primarily to improve fitness, lose weight, and reduce the risk of serious adverse health conditions.
These runners may or may not engage in structured training, but they usually just head out the door and go for a run, maybe running a handful of races every year and running faster some days than others but without a ton of rhyme or reason to their workout plan.
Then there are beginners who are not sure what they want their relationship to the sport of running to be, but for the time being, they are content heading out the door and trying to run longer and faster every day.
However, there may come a point in your running journey where you decide you want to run the 10k distance. Therefore, your next questions may then be, what is a 10k in miles? And, how long is a 10k?
In this guide, we will cover the basics about how far a 10k race is, what a 10k in miles is, and give you some expert tips on how to train for a 10k successfully.
More specifically, we will look at:
- How Many Miles Is a 10k? A 10k In Miles
- How Long Does It Take to Run a 10k?
- 5 Expert 10k Running Tips
- 10k Training Plans for Beginners and Advanced Runners
Ready? Let’s jump in!
How Many Miles Is a 10k? A 10k In Miles
If you are not familiar with the 10k distance and you are accustomed to miles, you might be wondering, “What is a 10k in miles?“ and “How far is a 10k, exactly?”
The “k” component of the 10k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 10k is 10,000 meters. For runners and walkers in the United States who are more accustomed to miles, this converts to 6.214 miles.
For simplicity, most people shorten the 6.214 miles to 6.2 miles when they discuss 10k, but the distance of any official 10k event will be the full 10 kilometers or 6.214 miles.
So, how far is a 10k? What do 6.2 miles translate to?
If you choose to walk or run 10k on a standard 400-meter running track, you will need to run exactly 25 full laps to run a 10k.
Although the exact length of a city walk will vary from city to city and even within a certain city, a typical city block is about 1/20 of a mile, meaning that there are about 20 city blocks per mile.
Therefore, if you want to walk or run 10k in a city, you must run about 124 blocks.
What if we compare how many miles are in a 10k to the number of miles in a half marathon or marathon? In other words, how long is a 10k relative to a half marathon or a marathon?
A half marathon is 13.1 miles, so it is about 2.1 times longer than a 10k.
A marathon is 26.2 miles, so it is 4.2 times longer than a 10k.
How Long Does It Take to Run a 10k?
How long it takes to run a 10k depends on the speed or pace that you are running at, which is influenced by numerous factors such as your sex, age, fitness level, experience level, body size, and effort level.
But how long does it take to run 10k for regular, everyday runners?
Running Level reports that the average 10k finish time for men across all age groups is 46:43.
This means that the average male runner runs a 10k at a pace of 7 minutes and 31 seconds per mile pace or 4 minutes and 40 seconds per kilometer.
For women, the average 10k finish time is 54:13, which works out to 8:43 per mile and 5:25 per kilometer.
Although these are average 10k times for intermediate runners, how long does it take beginners to run 10k on average?
According to Running Level, the average 10k time for beginners is 1:05:30 (10:32 min/mile pace) for men and 1:13:58 for women (11:54 min/mile pace).
For advanced runners, average 10k finish times drop to 40:54 (6:35 min/mile pace) for men and 47:51 for women (7:42 min/mile pace).
What is the fastest 10k time ever?
Ugandan runner Joshua Cheptegei holds the World Record for the 10,000 meters (10k) on the track. This record stands at 26:11.00 and was set on October 7, 2020, in Valencia, Spain.
The 10k world record for road running is not far behind; at 26:24, works out to a blistering pace of 4:15 min/mile. This fastest 10k time was run by Kenyan runner Rhonex Kipruto on January 12, 2020, in Valencia, Spain.
On the women’s side, the 10,000-meter world record is 29:01.03. This record was set in Hengelo, Netherlands, on June 8, 2021, by Letesenbet Gidey, a runner from Ethiopia.
The women’s 10k world record for road running was broken in February 2022 in Castellón, Spain, by Ethiopian Yalemzerk Yehualaw, in a time of 29:14.
5 Expert 10k Running Tips
Here are some helpful tips for training for your first 10k race:
#1: Slow Down
Although participating in running in any type of way is completely valid and should be lauded, many runners who do genuinely want to get faster, even if they take a more casual approach, make a common training mistake: they run too fast.
If you slow down, you will be able to run longer without stopping, helping you build your endurance.
For longer runs, when you are trying to increase your stamina, try to stay in the “moderate-intensity” aerobic exercise zone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your target heart rate should be between 64-76% of your maximum heart rate for moderate-intensity physical activity.
Wearing a heart rate monitor is helpful because it gives you a more accurate way to quantify the intensity of your workout. However, if you do not have access to this technology, let your effort guide you, and for a rate of perceived exertion of 6 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.
#2: Run By Effort, Not Pace
To this end, you should let your body guide you in terms of how you feel.
If you are really sore and tired from a run the day before or from the accumulation of your training, consider taking the day off or cross-training, or take your workout at a very easy effort and solely focus on moving your body gently without stopping.
#3: Cross Train and Take Rest Days
If you do too much running too quickly and progress your distance too aggressively, you run the risk of injuries because running is a high-impact activity.
The primary purpose of cross-training workouts is to improve your aerobic fitness while reducing the impact stresses on your bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues relative to running.
Cross-training refers to any type of exercise other than running, such as indoor or outdoor cycling, swimming or deep water running, or using the elliptical machine.
#4: Find a Running Buddy
Running with a friend or running club can be a great way to have more support and increase motivation and accountability as you train for your first 10k.
#5: Treat Your Body Like the Athlete You Are
Aside from your running workouts, ensure you are fueling your body with nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and trying to stretch and care for your body.
You are a runner. You are an athlete. Treat your body with care and give it the resources it needs to succeed.
10k Training Plans for Beginners and Advanced Runners
Marathon Handbook offers quite a number of free online 10k training plans and 10k training resources for runners and walkers of all levels.
You can check out some of our 10k training plans below for your next, or first 10k journey:
Are you excited to get started training for your first 10k? Let us know how it goes!