How Long Does it Take to Train for a 10k?

Maybe you’ve already completed a 5K, or you haven’t done anything, and you said, couch to 5K, that’s for newbies. I’m doing a couch to 10K, going to be an overachiever. Whatever the reason, today, we’re going to go over how long it takes to train for a 10K.

Maybe you’ve already completed a 5K, or you haven’t done anything, and you said, couch to 5K, that’s for newbies. I’m doing a couch to 10K, going to be an overachiever. Whatever the reason, today, we’re going to go over how long it takes to train for a 10K.

If you haven’t been with me here on the channel before, I’m Jesse Funk. This is a show I called Runner’s High, where we talk about everything and running. If you like running, if you’re training for that 10K, you’re going to want to stick around, hit that subscribe button for more videos in the future.

Now, when we’re talking about how long does it take to train for a 10K, first, we have to define our parameters. We have to figure out where are you in your running journey, and then that will determine how long it’s going to take. So, since you’re searching for this, I’m going to assume most of you or you singular, in any case, whoever I’m making this video, for most likely, you’re just starting out, maybe you haven’t run for very long, and you’re trying to figure out, when can I do it, when have I done enough training, when am I ready to go and run a 10K.

So, in that case, we’re going to assume you’re just trying to complete the 10K. You’re not necessarily trying to run the very fastest possible time you could do. So, something like couch to 10K kind of approach where you haven’t run anything, and now you’re running a 10K. This is obviously still going to vary because some people, it’s going to be much more difficult, picking up endurance is going to be much more difficult. There are other people that can probably go run a 10K off the couch. Typically, those people are younger and have some kind of fitness background. But, in general, I see it’s often recommended, like eight to 10 weeks of training. This seems a little short to me personally. But again, it depends on where you start.

So, if you start running your very first week, you’re running three or four days a week, you can keep that up, and you’re able to run two, three miles from the very first week, eight to 10 weeks is reasonable. But if you’re starting out, and you can only run half a mile or a mile, and you’re not able to pick up fitness quickly, then you may want to push out that time horizon to even double that. So, 16 to 20 weeks or four to five months. Now that may seem like a long time, but it’s really not. When you think about distance running, if you’re new to distance running, things take time, and you just have to keep with it. So, don’t think about it so much in its four or five months as what do I need to do today, and then what do I need to do tomorrow.

But there’s another case and that is maybe you’ve already completed a 5K. So, how long does it take to do it, if you’ve done that. If you’ve already completed a 5K, then chances are, it’s probably not going to take a whole lot more training to get you through the 10K. Yes, it is twice as long. But you already know what that distance feels like with the 5K, double it. It isn’t twice as hard, but it will take a little bit of a different strategy in that you probably need to go a little bit slower. And then depending on how long you’re out there, you might need to take some nutrition or hydration into account. So, if your 5K took a half hour, you’re probably going to be out for an hour-long run.

If that’s the case, you’re going to want to make sure you’re practicing taking in hydration, which is some kind of sports drink. It doesn’t necessarily have to have calories in it, but to make sure that you’ve got plenty of water in your body when you’re out on your training runs to make sure that you can complete. Ideally, either you’re going to have something you bring with you on the run for that particular race, or you’re practicing with what they’re going to have at the race at the aid stations at each mile marker. That way you don’t try something new on race day. So, if you’ve already completed a 5K, I would say you could probably be ready for a 10K, assuming that 5K didn’t just completely wipe you out. You felt pretty good in four weeks, maybe, possibly eight.

Again, it’s a range because it depends on where you are in, you know your training world and how fast you adapt. There are no hard and fast rules, which I wish I could say it’s absolutely this. And if anybody tells you it is absolutely this, they’re wrong because we’re all a little bit different. We all adapt a little bit differently. So, if you’re a little bit faster, awesome. Good. Good for you. But know that you’ve got a little bit more adaptation than some other people might have. So, if you’re on the slower end of the spectrum, and you don’t adapt quite as fast, that’s fine. Run on your own time schedule.

The last situation is when we’re trying to set our very fastest times in a 10K. And I want to talk about that time horizon to finish this video off. When you’re thinking about running your fastest 10K, you’re dreaming about I’m getting across the line. Here I am, I got my giant trophy, or, in this case, a beaver. That’s actually from a triathlon, the Dam Tri, hence the beaver. In any case, you want that trophy, whether it’s an actual trophy, or it’s a trophy, internally of setting that new time, setting a new PR is going to take a longer time horizon, especially if you’ve been running for a while. And the longer you’ve been running, the longer, often, it’s going to take to reach that new peak. So, I’ll use me for an example. I’ve been running for 20 years, I’m currently training to run new fastest 10K times.

Now, that being said, my fastest 10K times have come at the end of triathlons, because I didn’t really compete in it in college. So, I have a little bit of buffer to get my fastest times. That being said, I’m 10 years removed from college and some of my very fastest lifetime running speed. So, I know that the plan for me right now is to hit new fastest 10K times, I’m basically within like a two year cycle. And if that sounds bananas to you, then that’s okay. But you just haven’t been around quite long enough to know, sometimes you got to look at a longer time horizon. And part of that has to do with base building, and that’s building your mileage up. That’s what you’re doing when you’re just looking to complete the race and not necessarily hit your fastest time.

But when you build that mileage up, that actually helps build your capacity to go faster. When you see these training schedules that say, eight to 10 weeks or eight to 12 weeks, or here’s a 10 to 12 week training plan, this is often going to be the final finishing stages of getting ready for that race and that fastest speed ever. That you know, getting ready for race day, race speed going fast, that block of time can only last about 12 weeks. We really can’t physically stand that kind of speed and endurance training for a long period of time, because injuries start to abound, we’re not able to recover fast enough. Obviously, there’s always exceptions to this rule in some of the elites of the world. But generally speaking, it’s a good range.

So, right now I’ve spent the last year basically building my mileage back, dealing with stupid little injuries, tweaking my training plan, and then continuing to build mileage. And we’re finally getting to the point where I’m starting to put in a little bit of speed. Not speed work yet, not at the track yet, but now I’m going to have probably three months of getting a little bit of speed under me and then another three months on top of that. So, we’ll be at least 18 months of training to try to hit those fastest 10K times for me because I’ve been at this for so long. And it takes a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of planning to get to that fastest PR.

So, I want to share that with you just to say, be patient with yourself. We all come from different places. We all need different things to get to our fastest time or even just completing the race. And you can only take it on your own schedule, not somebody else’s. So, do you have any questions for me about running, about training for the 10K? What’s going on with your training schedule? Leave them down in the comments below. I’d love to make a video just for you. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.


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