8 Week 10k Training Plan + Complete Training Guide

Running a 10k is an amazing accomplishment.

It takes a significant amount of physical and mental endurance, so training for a 10k typically takes several months, especially for beginners. 

Most new runners first take on a 5k, but with proper training, it’s certainly possible to skip over the 5k entirely and make your racing debut with the 10k. 

In this article, we have created an 8 week 10k training plan and guide for beginners to help you get on the fast track to running a 10k in just two months.

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is 10k?
  • Can You Train for a 10k in 8 Weeks?
  • 8 Week 10k Training Plan for Beginners
  • Tips for Following an 8 Week 10k Training Plan

Ready to get training? Let’s go!

People running on the road.

How Far Is 10k?

Hopefully, if you’re planning to run a 10k, you have an idea of what’s in store, but just in case you’re unfamiliar with the distance, the “k” component of the 10k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 10k is 10,000 meters. 

Because there are about 1,609 meters per mile, a 10k race converts to 6.214 miles, or what most runners consider 6.2 miles.

Most 10k races are road races, but If you were to run 10k on a standard 400m outdoor track, you would need to run about 25 laps to run 10k.

Can You Train for a 10k in 8 Weeks?

We have created this beginner’s 8 week 10k training plan for new runners who are just getting started on their running journey or who are coming back to the sport after some time off.

People running in a 10k.

To take on this plan, you don’t have to currently be doing any running, so it can be considered a Couch to 10k training plan. With that said, it usually takes most new runners at least 3-4 months to build up the cardiovascular endurance and strength to run at 10k without stopping.

Therefore, an 8 week 10k training plan has to use a rate of progression that is quite aggressive in order to get you ready to complete the full 6.2-mile distance in just 8 weeks. 

This means that there can be an increased risk of injury, especially if you are not listening to your body and taking extra days off if need be.

Going into the training plan, it’s important to understand that you may not be able to run the entire race without needing to stop.

8 Week 10k Training Plan for Beginners

During this 8 week 10k training plan, you will run 3 days per week, with an option of adding a fourth day halfway through the program or keeping it a cross-training workout.

That means that there are one or two days per week of cross-training workouts. These sessions can involve any type of low-impact exercise, such as cycling, swimming, rowing, or an elliptical machine.

People on the elliptical machines at the gym.

The purpose of the cross-training workouts is to continue to build your aerobic fitness and strengthen different muscles while reducing the impact on your bones and joints.

It’s also crucial to take the two prescribed rest days per week.

Rest days are just as necessary as your running workouts. 

Although you might be eager and antsy to train every day if you only have two months to train for a 10k, rest days allow your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints ample time to repair and recover before getting re-stressed with another run.

Let’s get training!

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

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Head over to our 10k training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 10 x 30 seconds run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk;
Cross-training: 20 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 10 x 1 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Cross-training: 20 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 10 x 90 seconds run/1 min walk; Cool down: 5 min walkRest
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 8 x 2 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Cross-training: 20-30 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 8 x 3 minute run/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Cross-training: 20 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 6 x 4 minutes/1 min walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Rest
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: 2 x 10 minute run/30 seconds walk;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Cross-training: 35 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 16 minutes without stopping;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Cross-training: 30 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 2 miles (3k) without stopping;
Cool down: 5 min walk
Rest
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 2.5 miles (4 km) at an easy pace, trying not to stopCross-training: 45 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 3 miles (5 km) at an easy paceEasy run 15 minutes or cross training 30 minutesRun 3.5 miles at an easy paceRest
Run 4 miles at an easy paceCross-training: 45 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 3 miles with 10 x 1 min hard running interspersed during the workoutEasy run 20 minutes or cross training 30 minutesRun 4 milesRest
Run 4.5 miles at an easy paceCross-training: 50 minutesRestWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 4 miles with 6 x 2 min hard running interspersed during the workoutEasy run 20 minutes or cross training 30 minutesRun 5 milesRest
Run 5.5 miles at an easy paceCross-training: 60 minutesRestRun 6 miles at an easy paceEasy run 20 minutes or cross training 30 minutesWarm up: Brisk walk for 5 min; Workout: Run 4 miles with 4 x 3 min hard running interspersed during the workoutRest
Run 4 milesCross training: 40-45 minutesEasy run: 3-4 miles (5-7 km)RestEasy jog: 15-20 minutes and 4 x 75m strides10k Race!Rest
A person taking a step.

Tips for Following an 8 Week 10k Training Plan

It’s important to keep in mind that an 8 week 10k training plan for beginners is extremely ambitious, so this is a very aggressive progression from couch to 10k training.

A run/walk approach helps give your body time to recover a bit between running intervals by allowing your heart rate to come down a little as you walk and giving your muscles a relative break.

Although there is a natural tendency to want to stop completely, fold over, and grab your knees as you heave and pant after each running interval, try to keep moving through the walking breaks, even if you have to walk really slowly.

Even though you do want your heart rate to come down a little, stopping completely will allow your heart rate to drop too much, and the whole goal is to keep your heart rate up in the moderate-intensity aerobic zone to promote an improvement in your cardiovascular endurance.

If you give yourself too much of a break, you’ll be limiting your potential fitness gains.

Similarly, during the running intervals, do your best to try to “run” the whole time as dictated on the 8 week 10k training plan. 

People running on treadmills.

Even if you are jogging so slowly that you might actually be moving faster if you switched over to walking, maintaining even the slowest of jogging paces will help strengthen your muscles and connective tissues and get your body more acclimated to running. 

Speed is not important here; it’s all about building endurance.

On the other hand, during the actual race, if your goal is less about running the 10k without stopping and more about getting your fastest time, you may find that taking periodic brisk walking breaks is helpful and lead you to a better finish time.

Even if you don’t plan on taking walking breaks, you may end up needing to walk some during the race. The good news is that walking is totally fine! 

Many runners walk some or all of a 10k, even if it’s not their first race! You will not be alone—nor should you feel at all self-conscious—should you find yourself needing to or wanting to take planned or impromptu walking breaks on race day.

Following this 8 week 10k training plan for beginners may be one of the most challenging things you’ve done to date from an athletic standpoint, but the journey of becoming a runner is also one of the most gratifying ones as well.

For more of our resources on 10k running, check out our complete database here.

People racing a 5k race.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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