Training

13 Week Couch To 10K Training Program

by On Aug 24, 2020

Learning never exhausts the mind.

13 Week Couch To 10K Training Program

The 10K is a great race for runners of all skill levels, especially beginners looking to step into their first mass-participant event. That’s why it’s no surprise that 10K is one of the most popular race distances.

However, training for one can be tricky, especially when you have zero running experience. This popular distance event requires both a decent amount of speed and stamina

As a beginner, you might feel like it’s too much to handle. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, making the transition from couch potato to the 10K can be done once you have the right tools for the job. 

In today’s article, we’ll go through some of these training essentials as well as a detailed 13-week training program that will guide to 10K running success without overtaxing your body.

As we’re going to see in today’s article, if you follow the progression right, you’ll make it down the line. 

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

Walk First

Nothing can destroy your 10K vision like an injury. That’s why it’s important to train within your limits.

Before you take on this 10K training plan, I’d recommend that you be honest with yourself. If you’re really out of shape and/or can’t walk for more than an hour without panting for air, you’re not ready yet for the training.

Instead, work on being able to walk at a brisk pace for one hour with ease. At a minimum, walk three to four times, gradually increasing distance and pace to longer than 60 minutes. 

Once you can pull that off, you’re ready for more intense training—as in, the walk-run method.

The Walk/Run 

13 Week Couch To 10K Training Program
Photo Credit: 123RF

As a beginner, start with a run/walk training plan, alternating jogging, and walking intervals.  If this seems too easy for you, then the couch to 10K plan is not for you. Find something else. Something advanced.

This simple training method lowers your risk of discomfort, injury, and burnout while enhancing your training experience. That’s a bunch of good things if you ask me.

Complete the running intervals slow enough at the onset of each session so that you’ll feel tired, but not completely drained at the end. Leave something in the tank for the upcoming session.

Keep it Conversational 

So how hard should you push yourself?

The rule of thumb is to stick to a conversational pace, especially if you want to stay injury- and burnout-free. This means being able to keep a conversation going while training without much trouble. 

If you’re huffing and puffing, you might be pushing it too much—and need a break. Slow down and recover. As a rule, train within 70 to 80 percent of your maximum effort.

Plan Downtime

Make sure to remember to schedule in recovery days each week and prioritise downtime as much as you prioritise training.

Recovery is just as important as training, and pushing yourself through pain can cause more damage. Remember to get any aches or pains checked out with your doctor before you ramp up training.

Even with perfect form, $150 shoes, and sensible plan, pounding the pavement is still a high impact sport, and when you’re just starting, you’ll want to provide your body enough time to adapt and get used to the new training load. 

Ideal recovery, boosting tactics includes eating a healthy diet (especially following hard workouts), getting plenty of sleep (7 to 9 hours per night), stretching regularly (but never before a run), and spending plenty of time chillaxing and watching Netflix.

The 10K Training Progression For Beginners

13 Week Couch To 10K Training Program
Photo Credit: 123RF

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Having a plan—the right plan—not only makes your training more focused, but it also provides structure and accountability to your workouts.

To get to your 10K goal without injury or pain, follow this 10K plan for the beginner. The 13-week schedule strikes the perfect balance between increasing aerobic capacity without running the risk of injury or burnout—this thanks, of course, to the gradual run-walk progression.

Keep in mind that it assumes that you can already walk briskly for more than an hour with ease. If that’s not the case, then you need first to build a walking routine before you start jogging-walking.

If the program advances too fast for you, then feel free to repeat a week as much as you see fit. This is so much better than giving up on training altogether. Give your body time.

Week 1

  • Session I—Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat ten times.
  • Session II— Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 12 times.
  • Session III— Run 1 minute. Walk 1 minute. Repeat eight times.

Week 2

  • Session I— Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat six times.
  • Session II— Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat eight times.
  • Session III— Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat six times.

Week 3

  • Session I— Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat four times.
  • Session II— Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat four times.
  • Session III— Run 5 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.

Week 4

  • Session I— Run 4 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat four times.
  • Session II— Run 4 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat four times.
  • Session III— Run 5 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.

Week 5

  • Session I— Run 5 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Session II— Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat three times.
  • Session III— Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat three times.

Week 6

  • Session I— Run 5 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat four times.
  • Session II— Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat four times.
  • Session III— Run 7 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.

Week 7

  • Session I— Run 7 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Session II— Run 7 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Session III— Run 10 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat two times.

Week 8

  • Session I— Run 10 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session II— Run 10 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat two times.

Week 9

  • Session I— Run 12 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session II— Run 12 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run 10 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.

Week 10

  • Session I— Run 10 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Session II— Run 15 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run 15 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat two times.

Week 11

  • Session I— Run 20 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session II— Run 20 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run 30 minutes non-stop.

Week 12

  • Session I— Run 30 minutes.
  • Session II— Run 25 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run 40 minutes.

Week 13

  • Session I— Run 25 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session II— Run 30 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Session III— Run A 10K—or roughly 50 to 60 minutes nonstop.

Conclusion

There you have it! The above guidelines are all you need to get you started on the 10K training path. You just need to show up and do the work. The rest is just details, as the saying goes. Keep training strong.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

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David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

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