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Spring is the perfect time to nail your running goals, so if you’ve always wanted to be able to run 10K, here’s your chance. 

If you’ve mastered running 5K, then you’ve got two logical next steps: get faster or go longer. Running a faster 5K is a totally valid goal but you might find that real enjoyment comes from running further and pushing towards 10K. 

It’s at 10K that you can start seriously exploring your local area, buy pills tadacip us taking part in lots more community races and get a feel for endurance running. But if you’ve never got anywhere close to that kind of distance before, where do you start? And can total beginners train to run 10K?

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Laura Fountain from Lazy Girl Running explains that training for a 10K may not be for everyone; your ability to run that far is going to depend on your fitness levels. 

“If you’ve done Couch to 5K and you still run for around half an hour a few times a week, you could realistically get up to 10K,” she explains. And that’s why we’ve put together a beginners’ training plan – to get your cardio fitness up to a level that can withstand running for an hour or more.

It’s worth flagging that it might take you longer to get to 10K, but spending four weeks working on running will still help you progress. Fountain says that, in her experience, running newbies tend to come to jogging “with a certain level of fitness from something else. But if you’re an absolute true beginner, I would encourage you to build consistency.” She suggests starting by setting yourself a goal of running and/or walking three times a week. “By week four, you should be able to get to five or 10 minutes running non-stop.”

Angela MacAusland, an UK Athletics qualified running coach, also recommends thinking ahead. “Set a date you are going to complete the 10K on and work back from there. You want to be looking at where you want to be by then, and compare that to the stage you are at now. ”

Set a date that you’re planning to run an entire 10K, and then plan your training back from there.

How to train for a 10k in four weeks, according to a run coach

Week One

MacAusland recommends committing to three runs a week. You should be taking at least one (but ideally two) rest days in between your runs in order for your muscles to fully recover. 

Run 1: 5K at an easy pace, where you could comfortably have a conversation with a jogging partner.

Run 2: 3 to 4K, once again at a steady, conversational tempo.

Run 3: 6 to 7K, at a steady pace.

Alongside these runs, MacAusland suggests a strength training session alongside low intensity exercise such as yoga or Pilates. Use your home workouts to do specific strength training for runners, says Fountain. “Find something that’s going to strengthen your glutes and your core. This won’t only help to power your running better, but it will also hopefully help you avoid injury as well,” she says.

However, the key is not to tire yourself out too much in the first week that you’re unable to continue with the rest of the programme. 

Week Two

The second week of your training can be slightly more intense than the first. MacAusland recommends running with a speedier partner, or using WeRun’s free Guided Audio Runs to help you manage your pace. If you don’t fancy that, simply go out with the aim of feeling more confident.

Run 1: 5K at a comfortable, easy pace. Remember, you are aiming for a distance goal, not time. 

Run 2: 3 to 4K uphill or on some elevated terrain (a treadmill on an incline is great). This will help build endurance, increase strength, improve form and boost speed and power.

Run 3: 7 to 8K at an easy pace, upping the previous week’s distance.

Week Three

This is the week where you can begin to increase the distance more significantly and edge closer to the goal. MacAuslandusually recommends no more than a 10% increase in distance each week, depending on the level the runner is already at.

Run 1: 5K at a steady pace, focusing on things like breathing. 

Run 2: 3 to 4K at a steady tempo.

Run 3: 8 to 9K at a comfortable speed.

Week Four

As this is the week of the 10K, you want to make sure you don’t burn out before you reach it. “Slower running takes less recovery time than faster running, and you’re less likely to get injured when running slower,” MacAusland says.

Run 1: 5K, easy speed.

Run 2: 3K, steady tempo. It’s important to conserve energy before you try and hit the big 10K goal. 

Run 3: the 10K. Today’s the day – go steady, enjoy the run and think of it as your victory lap. The hard work has been done!

When you’ve got a set goal in mind, it can be really hard not to pile on the pressure but it’s really important to acknowledge that you’re not a professional elite athlete, so you don’t need to train or run like they do. If you need walk at some points, that’s fine. 

MacAusland adds: “The focus of this four week training programme was to not stress the body too much (that’s why most of the runs are done at an easy pace) but to get to the goal distance of 10K. If you get there and want to run it faster next time, then you can progress to that goal next and work on your speed over distance.”

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Things to remember when training for a 10K

“I see a lot of running challenges pop up which get you to run every day. I really don’t like that,” says Fountain. “While it sounds really motivating, our bodies are just not adjusted to that load, so we risk injuring ourselves. But also, if you miss one day, then that’s all your motivation gone because you’ve ‘ruined’ the challenge. Not to mention, recovery is so important when we are running.”

“You won’t get faster every week,” Fountain is keen to stress. “Some days, you might have more energy than others, and your body won’t adapt that quickly.” 

“We shouldn’t overlook the fact that, just as our physical health can benefit our mental health, the opposite is true as well. So if you’re going through a period of lots of stress and anxiety, don’t expect your body to perform as well as it would do in normal circumstances. Just acknowledge that some days are gonna be harder than others, and that isn’t necessarily a reflection of your fitness.” 

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Getty

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