Beginners 10K Running Program
One of the perks of living somewhere as beautiful as Vancouver Island is it also has a mild enough climate that we can participate in our favourite activities all year long. This includes running. Each year the Vancouver Island running association puts out the island race series. This is a series of runs for all levels. You can sign up for all the races in the series or pick the specific races you wish to attend. Here in the Cowichan Valley the annual Cobble Hill 10km will be the 2nd in the series coming at the end of January 2022.
If you have been running for fun or as a stress reliever during the pandemic with no specific plan or distance in mind and are interested in taking your running to the next level or have your sights set on a particular 10km race using a periodized approach to training can help you take your training to the next level.
If you are not familiar with the concept of periodization it is the systematic planning of your exercise training. Weather it is cardiovascular conditioning or strength training the concept is still the same. The aim is to reach the best possible performance for your competition. For some this is a single large race or competition and for others it can be a series of smaller races or competitions throughout the year. Either way it involves the progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. Periodization is not only effective in improving performance if used properly can decrease chance of injury and help you reach your goals.
Below is a beginner 10KM program. If you are currently injured, brand new to running or have questions about form please consult your physiotherapist or kinesiologist prior to beginning this program. This program will prepare you to compete in your first 10KM race. Prior to starting this program, you should be capable of running 3 miles (roughly 5km) without stopping. As well be currently running 3 times per week.
Always remember to perform a dynamic warm up prior to starting any run. As well any workout below that starts with a pace other than easy should be preceded by 10 min easy run. Also make sure you are giving yourself adequate rest. This means that there should be at least one day in between each workout. Although not covered in this article incorporating strength training on your rest days can help reduce your chance of injury.
For weeks 1-4 when it says run you should run at an easy pace. You should feel like you can maintain this pace and not be so out of breath that you could not speak while running however you should not be able to hold a full conversation. If you use the rate of perceived exertion or RPE scale you would want to aim for 3-4/10. See below for RPE scale. For work out 3 for weeks 1-4 and all other workouts that have a distance attached to them you should run at an easy pace unless otherwise specified.
Strides should be performed at a RPE of 6-7/10.
If you have a fitness tracker, make use of the GPS feature to track your distance and time over distance.
|WEEK NUMBER||WORKOUT 1||WORKOUT 2||WORKOUT 3|
|ONE||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 6 + 5 min run||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 6 + 5 min run||3 miles/ 4.83km run|
|TWO||20 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 8 + 5 min run||20 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 8 + 5 min run||4 miles/ 6.44km run|
|THREE||25 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 10 + 5 min run||25 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 10 + 5 min run||4.5 miles/ 7.24km run|
|FOUR||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 4 + 5 min run||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 4 + 5 min run||3 miles/ 4.83km run|
For weeks 5-8 we will add pace change runs (list below as pace). During this type of running, you will alternate between a slower and faster pace during a continuous run. You can do this over any distance or duration. Your pace variations can be structured or spontaneous. You may choose to run alternating faster and slower when you feel like it or you may use time or distance as a variable. If you have a race pace you are aiming for this can be helpful. Running at race pace for a given amount of time and then slower for a given amount of time. For this program we are using RPE.
For the program running for a fast pace should be a RPE of 4-5 the slower pace will be a RPE 2-3 (Listed as fast and slow below). Repeat for the total time listed then perform the walking portion after the pace training.
In weeks 5-8 we also add hill training. You will need a hill to run up, preferably a hill that will roughly match the incline and distance you are looking for. For example, if you have signed up for a race and are aware of the incline of the hills you can use this as a guide if you do not have a race specific incline aim for 5-10% incline when working at anaerobic capacity (RPE of 8-9). Also hill runs can be done on a treadmill if you do not have access to a hill for running. As hill training is different from training on flat land it can be helpful to use heart rate to monitor how hard you are working. You also want to aim to keep the same speed throughout all your repetitions. You do not want to feel like you are losing steam as your workout goes on. Work hard but don’t go all out you should feel as though you still could do about 10 percent more work if you had to.
VO2 max training can help you improve your aerobic capacity and improve your race speed. This is done by working at a greater level of exertion. For VO2 max training you will want to aim for a RPE of 6-7. You should be working hard but not at max effort. For week six work at 3km race pace.
|WEEK NUMBER||WORKOUT 1||WORKOUT 2||WORKOUT 3|
|FIVE||15 min pace (1 min fast + 4 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||2 mile/ 3.22km run + (up hill run 30 secs + down hill walk 90 secs) x 6||4.5 miles/ 7.24km run ***|
|SIX||18 min pace (2 min fast + 4 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||(VO2 max 1 min @ 3km + 1 min walk) x 10||5 miles/ 8.05km run ***|
|SEVEN||24 min pace (4 min fast + 4 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||2.5 mile/ 4.02km run + (up hill run 30 secs + down hill walk 90 secs) x 8||5 miles/ 8.05km run ***|
|EIGHT||15 min pace (1 min fast + 4 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 6 + 5 min run||4 miles/ 6.44km run|
*** for workout 3 in weeks 5,6 and 7 if you are feeling strong increase your pace to a RPE of 4.5 for the last half a mile.
Weeks 9-12 are the final 4 weeks of training! You are almost there. For your pace runs in weeks 9-12 the fast portion should be done at a RPE of 4.5 and the slow portion should be done at a RPE of 2-3.
In week 11 we introduce a tempo run. For this run you want to make sure you maintain a consistent pace. If you know your race pace and are able to comfortably run at your chosen race pace, then use your race pace and make sure you maintain it through the entire tempo run. If using race pace or RPE aim for a RPE of 4.5 throughout the entire run.
For VO2 max training in weeks 9-12 all the directions are the same as week 6 except you will be using both your 3km race pace as well as your 5km race pace depending on the workout.
|WEEK NUMBER||WORKOUT 1||WORKOUT 2||WORKOUT 3|
|NINE||24 min pace (6 min fast + 2 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||(VO2 max 1 min @ 5km + 1 min walk) x 10||5.5 miles/ 8.85km run ***|
|TEN||20 min pace (8 min fast + 2 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||2.5 mile/ 4.02km run + (up hill run 30 secs + down hill walk 90 secs) x 10||5.5 miles/ 8.85km run ***|
|ELEVEN||20 min tempo + 5 min walk + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||(VO2 max 4 min @ 5km + 2 min walk) x 3 + (VO2 max 2 min @ 3km + 2 min walk) x 3||4 miles/ 6.44km run|
|TWELVE||15 min pace (1 min fast + 4 min slow) walk for 5 mins + (30 sec strides + 1 min walk) x 4||15 min run + (30-second strides + 1 minute walk) x 6 + 5 min run **||RACE DAY|
** Workout should be performed 2-3 days before race day to allow for proper rest prior to race day.
*** for workout 3 in week 9 if you are feeling strong increase your pace to a RPE of 4.5 for the last 1.5 miles and for week 10 increasing pace for last 2 miles again only if you are feeling strong and up for the challenge.
For best performance and injury prevention you should also be incorporating strength training into your workout schedule. Always make sure you have adequately warmed up prior to activity and that you cool down upon completion. Never do the above workouts on consecutive days. Always give yourself at least 24 hours between these workouts (strength training on your rest days is appropriate). Even if you are feeling good and feel like you can do more adding extra running will increase your overall training load and can negatively affect your performance. Therefore, adding additional running is not recommended.
If you have any wearable technology such as a Fitbit or a heart rate monitor it can be helpful to record your heart rate during training, as well as the total distance covered for timed runs and the type of terrain you were training on that day. Feel free to add anything else that could be useful such as average pace, heart rate when running up hill, or your RPE.
If you are injured, unsure about your form or have any questions regarding running please make an appointment with your physiotherapist or kinesiologist.
Rate of Perceived Exertion ( RPE ):
|# on RPE scale||What it feels like|
|10||Max Effort: feels like you can not keep going. Unable to talk, completely out of breath can not maintain for more than a very short time.|
|9||Very Hard Activity: difficult to maintain exercise intensity. Can only speak a few words. Out of breath.|
|7-8||Vigorous Activity: borderline uncomfortable. Short of breath. Can only speak in short sentences.|
|4-6||Moderate Activity: breathing heavy, can speak a few sentences but not hold a conversation. Still somewhat comfortable but becoming noticeably more challenging.|
|2-3||Light Activity: feels like you could maintain activity for hours. Easy to breath and can have a full conversation.|
|1||Very Light Activity: hardly any effort needed but more than sleeping. Watching TV, looking at the computer etc.|
Clinical Exercise Physiologist