Ultimate 10K Training Plan for Every Level of Runner: Week 1

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Week 1: Getting up to speed

Each week you should try to get in 5 runs, 1 or 2 strength workouts, and at least 1 rest day. Below you’ll find a handful of options to choose from to build your perfect week.

5 quick steps to start you off

To start this plan, you’ll need to brush up on some basic running lingo, along with essential strength-training movements and stretches. Don’t worry — we’ve gathered everything you need to know!

  • Step 1: Our all-in-one guide explains how to start running at any level, from form and pacing, to tracking your progress.
  • Step 2: Brush up on running lingo — and check out the short list of terms below that we’ll be using in our 10k training program.
  • Step 3: Bookmark this visual reference guide for all the strength training exercises and stretches we’ll be doing.
  • Step 4: Gear up! The only essential equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes (and no, they don’t have to cost a fortune!). If your 10k includes trail running, you’ll want a few extras for hydration and protection against the elements. Training for a winter 10k? You’ll want to invest in some cold-weather running gear.
  • Step 5: Load up on magnesium-rich foods on your next grocery store run. Think almonds, black beans, and brown rice. Read on for more info.

Running workouts

Run 1
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An easy run plus strides is a great way to work through any stiffness and prep your body for a solid week of training. Run 30–40 minutes comfortably, with 4–6 x 20-second strides (one notch below a sprint) immediately after.

Modification: If you feel beat after the run, nix the strides. If you want a little extra, do up to 10 strides.

Run 2

First hard session on deck! For this short interval workout, run an easy mile to warm up, followed by 10 x 1-minute pushes, taking 1 minute after each rep to recover with a slow jog, walk, or combo. Cool down 1 mile.

Modification: To make this a little more doable, walk all of the recovery minutes. To up the challenge, make the recovery jogs more of a float (somewhere between a jog and a stride).

Run 3
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Since this run is sandwiched by two hard days, make it a true recovery day by leaving your GPS watch at home and running nice and easy according to feel. Like you did on Monday, run 30–40 minutes easy, with no added strides.

Modification: If you’re not ready for 5 days a week of running, swap this workout for a cross-training day (bike, pool, elliptical, or even yoga). If you can handle more, run for up to 60 minutes, but keep it easy.

Run 4

Tempo runs are a great way to simulate races since they’re all about sustained hard efforts. Warm up 1 mile, then run 3 miles at goal 10K pace or faster. End with a 1-mile cooldown.

Modification: If needed, take a 30-second breather halfway through the tempo. If you feel strong in the later stages, try to negative split the workout (ending faster than you started).

Run 5
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Whether you’re training for a mile or a marathon, a weekly long run is hugely beneficial. Depending on where you’re at and what feels reasonable, run 45–75 minutes at a comfortable clip, taking short water and/or walk breaks as needed.

Modification: If a continuous run of that duration sounds daunting, alternate running 8 minutes and walking 1 minute. If you’ve run longer than 75 minutes in recent months, bump up to 90 minutes.

Nutrition advice

Simplify planning out your meals for the week by using this simple formula:

  1. Pick a base. Aim for carbohydrates that also provide micronutrients and fiber, such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, or Japanese sweet potatoes.
  2. Choose a protein. Choose lean protein options such as eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat, tofu, tempeh, beans, or lentils.
  3. Fill up your plate with vegetables. Include a wide variety of colors to maximize the benefits of the different micronutrients each veggie contains. Don’t forget to add some monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats to your dish, such as avocado, avocado oil, or olive oil for healthy fats. Find more guidance on meal-prepping here.

Did you know that about half of people in the United States don’t get enough magnesium? This mineral is essential for energy metabolism, muscle contraction, protein synthesis, and more. It’s also been shown to reduce muscle soreness.

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The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 400–420 milligrams per day for men and 310– 320 milligrams per day for women.

Add these magnesium-rich foods to your grocery list this week:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • almonds
  • black beans
  • chia seeds
  • brown rice

Runners often find it difficult to tolerate solid foods after training, due to a lack of appetite. If sitting down to a meal doesn’t sound good to you, smoothies are an excellent solution.

Asche recommends blending up a protein source (Greek yogurt, protein powder), fresh or frozen fruit, and leafy greens (such as spinach or kale) along with your liquid of choice (milk, coconut water, etc.). If you’re not sure where to start with smoothie-making, here are some recipes to try.

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