5k To 10k Training Plan: Complete Guide For A Successful Journey

Congratulations on making the decision to graduate from running a 5k to a 10k! If you’ve just completed your Couch to 5k program and crossed the finish line of your first 5k race, or have run many 5ks and have now mastered the distance, we have all the information you need to jump to the 10k, or 6.2-mile distance.

From tips and tricks to our very own 5k to 10k training plan we have everything you need to get you pumped up and ready to take on this new challenge! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make this journey as smooth as possible and, of course, enjoyable! 

In this guide, we will discuss: 

  • How Do I Know I’m Ready To Jump To A 10k? 
  • 5k to 10k Training Plan: What Does It Entail? 
  • Tips On Going From 5k To 10k Successfully

Ready?

Let’s run!

A silhouette of a person running and the number 10k.

How Do I Know I’m Ready To Jump To A 10k?

Taking this next step to train for a 10k is a big one.

To make the move safely, you should be able to jog the entire 5k distance from beginning to end, feeling comfortable and without needing to take a walk break.

If you cannot complete 5k comfortably, I would suggest dominating that distance first to begin the 5k to 10k training plan strong ad confident.

5k to 10k Training Plan

Now that you have mastered the 5k distance and have decided you want to take the next big step, let’s take a look at what this 5k to 10k training plan entails to organize it into your schedule.

A close-up of runners running a road race.

Training Time

For this 5k to 10k training plan, you will need to set aside 4 days a week for running, 1 day a week for cross-training, 2 rest days, and ideally add in 2 strength training sessions.

I know this sounds like you need 9 days in a week, but don’t fret! We’ll work in those strength training sessions on your running days, so you will have two full days off to rest and recuperate.

Running Days

This 5k to 10k training plan is organized so you will run 4 days per week:

  • 3 training runs during the week, and
  • 1 long run on the weekend

All of these runs should be done at an easy, conversational pace. Remember, we are just focusing on finishing the 10k happy and healthy, not trying to win it, so your training will reflect the same idea. 

So, as long as you can talk while you are running, you are in the correct easy effort zone. If you feel your breathing and/or heart rate rise and begin to get out of control, slow your pace. 

You will have one long run per week, sandwiched by two rest days. This is so you can get to your long run well-rested and then be able to rest afterward.

Now that you can already run 5k straight no problem, your first long run will push you to 6k, then gradually increase by 1k per week.

A close-up of the handlebars of a stationary bike.

Crosstraining

There is one day of crosstraining worked into our 5k to 10k training plan. This is done for two reasons:

  1. It splits up your running days to switch up the type of exercise you’re doing to help avoid overuse injuries.
  2. It takes the impact off your body for a session. 

Different types of low-impact cardio that would be a great addition to your 5k to 10k training plan on crosstraining days include:

  • Elliptical 
  • Rowing 
  • Sparc 
  • Ski Erg

With these alternative cardio sessions, you are still working your cardiovascular system by improving your endurance, but without the impact and strain that running puts on your joints and muscles. 

For more information on great low-impact cardio workouts for runners, check out the following article: 5 Low Impact Cardio Workouts To Try

Now that you know what your training plan will entail, here are some tips to make the experience more successful and enjoyable.

Runners crossing the finish line at a race.

Tips On Going From 5k To 10k Successfully

#1: Choose A Goal Race

One of the first things you should do when taking this big step is to choose a goal 10k race! 

This will not only motivate you incredibly, but it will make you genuinely commit to the process and training. Find a race in your area or one in a place you’ve always wanted to take a trip to (an extra bonus for sure), and sign up! Once you receive that confirmation email, it’s on!

Several websites have up-to-date lists of races to make it easy to choose a convenient one for you. Search around these sites depending on where you live or where you want to go. You can check out Running in the USA for races in the States and if you are looking for trail races, you can look at Ultra Sign Up.

When choosing a race, choose a relatively flat terrain similar to the one you will train in. That also goes for the weather and altitude. You want to control as much as possible and not deal with any extra obstacles. You just want to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and making it to the finish line.

A group of people running on a fall day, training with a 5k to 10k training plan.

#2: Build Your Volume Gradually

Continue to build up your volume gradually. If you can remember back from when you did your very first 5k, the plan was most likely walk/run. In this type of plan, the number of minutes of walking decreases, and the number of minutes jogging increases as you progress through each week. 

Even though you have now mastered the 5k distance and are no longer walking, it’s essential to apply the same method of building your running mileage gradually to ensure you make it to your 10k injury-free.

In our 5k to 10k training plan, your volume will increase little by little to make sure you don’t overdo it and feel good about each run.

A person doing a squat.

#3: Strength Train

You’ve heard it a million times, but strength training is crucial to being a strong runner. The longer the mileage you are training for, the stronger and more resistance you need to be. Building up your muscles will help protect your joints, keep you strong and reduce your risk of injury. 

Working your entire body with running-specific functional training is imperative to a successful running career. The following are types of exercises that should be part of your strength training program

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Glute bridges
  • Calf raises 
  • Deadlifts 
  • Planks
  • Push-Ups
  • Rows or pull-ups 
  • Supermans 
A close-up of a runner's legs.

These are just some exercises that can help build the strength you need for a positive-going from 5k to 10k running experience. Two sessions a week of 30- minute sessions are a good addition to your running. 

To respect your rest days, you can perform these sessions in the afternoons or evenings of two of your running days. Just be sure there are at least four hours in between sessions so you can let your body recuperate after each run.

I suggest adding these sessions on Wednesdays and Friday afternoons with this training plan. That way, you have Thursday crosstraining and Saturday rest day following two tougher training days with these double sessions. 

#4: Respect Your Rest Days

Even though we may be very motivated and excited to reach our goal, more is not always better. Rest days need to be respected, so you give your body time to rest, recharge, and prepare itself for the next training session. 

As you can see in the training plan, there are rest days on either end of the long run. These assure you run your long runs at your very best energy level and can adequately recover afterward.

Two people looking at each other after a run, smiling.

#5: Don’t Worry About Pace

When training for any distance for the first time, it’s important not to worry about how fast you are running but that you are running. If you can’t help but look at the pace, change your watch face to time or distance only, so you can’t even see how fast you are going. 

The goal for this first 10k is to cross the finish line happy and healthy, not fast. Save that as a goal for next time! Once you have your first 10k time, the next feat is to shave it down little by little. 

#6 Be Consistent

Everyone needs to miss a training session here and there, whether you come down with a cold, have an emergency meeting at work, or just need a day off. 

However, it is important to get in as many of your 5k to 10k training plan sessions as possible to feel confident that you will be able to reach your goal of running 10k without stopping. 

If you have some obstacles during training, it’s better that you push your 10k goal a week or two to complete the training plan. There’s nothing worse than showing up for a race unprepared. That will only discourage you, and that’s the last thing we want. 

A woman very happily running through a race finish line.

We really want you to become just as obsessed as we are, and after mastering the 10k distance, decide to move on to, let’s say, to a half marathon, and then a marathon, and then….well, I’ll leave it at that. But the possibilities are endless! 

Are you ready to take on this incredible challenge of a 5k to 10k training plan and run your very first 10k? Let us help you! 

If you have already run a 10k and are looking to improve your PR, or run a longer distance, check out our other training resources

Three people running down a road.
Katelyn Tocci
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community she is known for her ear to ear smile even under the toughest race conditions. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with everyone and has a great desire to motivate others to hit the trails alongside her. Run for fun!

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