Beginners Running Tips

How to Run a 10k in 20 Weeks

Think it’s impossible to complete a 10k five months from now?  Think again!  With this detailed program you will be able to run a 10k in 20 weeks, no matter what your fitness is like currently.  How to Run a 5k in 15 Weeks 

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 15:00 of 2:00 run 3:00 walk 15:00 walk 15:00 of 2:00 run 3:00 walk 10:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 6:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
2 20:00 of 2:00 run 3:00 walk 15:00 walk 20:00 of 2:00 run 3:00 walk 10:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 8:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
3 20:00 of 2:30 run 2:30 walk 20:00 walk 20:00 of 2:30 run 2:30 walk 10:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 10:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
4 20:00 of 3:00 run 2:00 walk 20:00 walk 20:00 of 3:00 run 2:00 walk 15:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 12:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
5 25:00 of 3:00 run 2:00 walk 25:00 walk 25:00 of 3:00 run 2:00 walk 15:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 14:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
6 25:00 of 3:30 run 1:30 walk 25:00 walk 25:00 of 3:30 run 1:30 walk 15:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 16:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
7 30:00 of 3:30 run 1:30 walk 30:00 walk 30:00 of 3:30 run 1:30 walk 20:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 18:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
8 30:00 of 4:00 run 1:00 walk 30:00 walk 30:00 of 4:00 run 1:00 walk 20:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 20:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
9 35:00 of 4:00 run 1:00 walk 35:00 walk 35:00 of 4:00 run 1:00 walk 20:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 22:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
10 40:00 of 4:30 run :30 walk 11:00 run 40:00 of 4:30 run :30 walk 25:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 24:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
11 45:00 of 4:30 run :30 walk 12:00 run 45:00 of 4:30 run :30 walk 25:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 26:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
12 45:00 of 5:00 run :15 walk 13:00 run 45:00 of 5:00 run :15 walk 25:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 28:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
13 10:00 run 5:00 walk 10:00 run 14:00 run 10:00 run 5:00 walk 10:00 walk 30:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 30:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
14 12:00 run 5:00 walk 12:00 run 15:00 run 12:00 run 5:00 walk 12:00 run 30:00
Cross Train
Stretching 5:00 Walk 32:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
15 15:00 run 4:00 walk 15:00 run 16:00 run 15:00 run 4:00 walk 15:00 run 30:00 Cross Train Stretching 5:00 Walk 34:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
16 17:00 run 3:00 walk 17:00 run 17:00 run 17:00 run 3:00 walk 17:00 run 35:00 Cross Train Stretching 5:00 Walk 36:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
17 20:00 run 2:00 walk 20:00 run 18:00 run 20:00 run 2:00 walk 20:00 run 35:00 Cross Train Stretching 5:00 Walk 38:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
18 22:00 run 1:00 walk 22:00 run 19:00 run 22:00 run 1:00 walk 22:00 run 35:00 Cross Train Stretching 5:00 Walk 40:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
19 30:00 run 20:00 run 30:00 run 40:00 Cross Train Stretching 5:00 Walk 45:00 Run 5:00 Walk Off
20 20:00 run 10:00 run 15:00 run Off Stretching 10k Run Off

Training
With this gentle program you will slowly build the endurance required to complete 10k without walking.  Mondays and Wednesdays will be run-walk-run days throughout the 20 week program which will slowly increase the amount of time spent running and decrease the amount of time spent walking.  In the beginning you will walk more than you run, but over time you will handle the longer running portions with ease. 

Tuesday will start as a walking day and will eventually turn into short runs to reflect the additional endurance that is required for a 10k.  This day is intended to be easy, so make sure to keep it light. 

Saturday will serve as your long run.  Over the course of the twenty weeks you will gradually increase the amount of time you are able to spend running.  Do not worry if you do not complete a long run that covers the amount of time you will spend running in your 10k.  For each run it is important to run at a pace that is comfortable.  Sundays should be taken completely off, and Thursdays and Fridays will be discussed below. 

Cross Training
Cross training on Thursday is a way to increase your fitness and aerobic endurance without placing additional strain on your legs.  Appropriate cross training activities for runners include cycling, walking, using an elliptical machine, and swimming.  Your cross training effort should be equivalent to an easy running day.

Stretching
Running leads to muscle constrictions, so it is important to stretch.  When starting a new running program it can be difficult to find the time to engage in this important activity, so Fridays should be devoted to stretching.  A great stretching routine for runners can be found here.   

Nutrition
When you begin a new workout routine, you will experience an increase in hunger cues because your metabolism is burning more calories.  This will especially be true when training to complete a 10k run.  It is important to refuel your body with wholesome foods as opposed to quick carbohydrates, such as energy bars and processed foods.  Aim to eat three wholesome meals per day that include a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a healthy fat.  In addition to three meals, you should aim to consume 3 – 4 snacks per day to keep your metabolism high.  Suggested food swaps include brown rice instead of white rice, steak instead of ground beef, and olive oil instead of canola oil.  After your workout you should refuel with a 100 – 200 calorie snack that contains both protein and carbohydrates.

Hydration
The human body is comprised mostly of water, and the loss of hydration via sweat and other bodily processes during exercise can lead to dehydration, muscle soreness, and injury.  As a guide, you should drink enough water, tea, or other hydrating fluids throughout the day such that your urine is light yellow in color.  After exercise, be sure to replenish lost electrolytes with a low-calorie sports drink. 

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