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Creating A 10K Training Program

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

So you want to run a 10K? You want to lace up a pair of running shoes, throw on a headband, blast some rock music from your iPod, and hit the streets for 6.2 miles?

Okay, whatever you say…

In all seriousness, good for you. A 10K is a great run, because it is hard enough to pose a challenge – and give you a great feeling of satisfaction when you finish it.  Preparing for a 10K really isn’t that difficult, either.  People run 10K races all the time – even beginners who have never seriously run before. If you need a solid 10K training program, you came to the right place. The program below will help you get in shape over a two-month time span for your first (or second, or fiftieth) 10K run.

Phase I: Getting Into Shape

If you are a seasoned runner, you can still benefit from this first phase by raising the mileage.  Otherwise, beginner runners can use this program to start getting fit.  For the first two weeks of your program (two months before your 10K race), you will focus on getting initially conditioned.

For the first week, run a half-hour three times a week, every other day. Focus on going the entire time without stopping.

For the second week, start putting on miles.  Run 1.5 miles a day, three times a week, every other day. Go the entire distance without stopping.

Phase II: Getting Into Shape…Again

This phase takes your mileage and increases it even further, while still developing that base.

For the third week, run 1.5 miles four times a week.  On the fifth day, run 2 miles. If you can run 1.5 miles once, you can run it again another day, and can run 2 miles as well.  Trust me, it is definitely possible.

For the fourth week, you should run 2 miles three times a week, with a long run of 3.1 miles (a 5K) on the weekend.

Phase III: Almost There…

For the fifth week, try running 2.5 miles three times a week, with a long run of 4 miles on the weekend.

For the sixth week, run 3 miles three times a week, with a long run of 4.5 miles (5 miles if you feel good) on the weekend.
Phase IV: The Home Stretch

For the seventh week, run 3.5 miles three times a week. Run 4 miles on a fourth day. Then, run a long run of 5 miles on the weekend.

For the eighth and final week, you will want to run 3 miles a day for the first three days.  On the fourth day, run 4.5 miles. On the fifth day, run 5.5 miles. Rest on the sixth day, and run a long run of 6.1 miles on the last day.

Phase V: The Race!

Phases I-IV should give you a good base of mileage for the 10K (which is all about endurance at the lower levels), and should end ideally one week before your Big Day. During that last week, taper down: On three non-consecutive days, run 3 miles, 2.5 miles, and 2 miles, respectively.  You do not want to run the day before the race.  On the day of the race, run a 1-mile warm up before the race itself.  Trust me, it will help.

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