Couch to 10K | Everything You Need to Succeed

Couch to 10K | Everything You Need to Succeed

Feeling like you need to set a goal for yourself? Perhaps Couch to 10K is just the right amount of motivation (or maybe you’re getting dragged in to this by a friend), but how to train for a 10k with no experience??

Let’s just say it’s more than getting a plan that tells you how many miles to run or walk each week.

Depending on your current fitness level, many of the plans out there could leave you quickly frustrated or injured.

Instead, I hope this will help guide you through the process to finish strong. And if there’s only 1 TIP you really take away from this, it’s be willing to embrace the run/walk method of training. It’s INCREDIBLE for building endurance.

Couch to 10K

Let’s first address how far is a 10K? 6.2  miles

The original company who created the namesake Couch to 5K, also has a basic Couch to 10K plan.

However, I found in looking through the details that it jumped time and mileage more than I would for any runner in our coaching program. You’ll see my recommendations below.


  • Increasing mileage too fast can lead to injury
  • Increasing intensity or mileage too much can quickly lead to feeling frustrated or overwhelmed
  • It also quickly drops all walk breaks and those are a great tool for increasing endurance
  • It skips over the necessity of strength training and pre-hab

Couch to 10K

Couch to 10K Training Plan

After looking at the plan, please read the additional training tips below. This is to help you avoid injury and understand exactly what to expect over the next 12 weeks.

  • This plan is 12 weeks starting with mostly run/walk
  • You MUST do a dynamic warm up prior to every run
  • You should do at least 2 days of strength training as noted, here are some at home strength training ideas
  • Rest days can also be used for active recovery, but I do not recommend running every day.
  • 3:2 – numbers like this indicate minutes run: minutes walk

first 10k training plan

If you’d like more detail on each workout and exact strength training, click here to purchase a full 10K training plan.

Couch to 10K Training Tips

Whether you’ve done some running previously or are truly starting at the beginning these are some of the foundational pieces of training that must not be skipped.

First, let’s address pace.

How long does it take a beginner to run a 10K?

It’s not unusual for a 10K to take a beginning runner over 70 minutes, which is around a 11:30 minute mile.

Remember that your first race just sets a benchmark! Don’t try to blow it out of the water and you’ll have a lot more fun setting a brand personal record on the next attempt.

  • Any distance is an automatic PR to be celebrated
  • Your first attempt is all about learning the ropes of training and pacing for that distance
  • You want to enjoy it enough to do it again! No one and done here!

Should you do speed for for a 10k?

Since this is your first 10k and you’re going from 0 to 6.2, there is not a lot of speed work built in to the plan.

This is because without a proper base, speed work is a super fast way to get injured. You need to have a good stride, good base and the mental know how to not go to hard.

Once you’ve been running for at least 3-4 months, then you can checkout some beginner speed workouts.

How 10K Training Effects the Body

As you begin increasing your mileage, the body is going to need some time to adapt.

Cranky knees?
That’s your muscles and joints adapting to the stimulus and means you need to do hip work.

Feeling sore?
That’s also your body adapting and you need to learn when to rest and when it’s ok to push.

  • Sore is an indication of growth
  • Sharp shooting pain is an indication of injury and time to stop
  • Sometimes light movement like a walk or yoga for runners can help to alleviate the soreness

Hungry all the time?
Your hunger hormones often go up with exercise because the body is trying to maintain a balance.

  • Increase your protein intake to help the body repair and lose fat.
  • Focus on nutrient dense meals, often hunger is a sign of a need for nutrition, not just calories.
  • Don’t start turning to all the sugary treats for quick energy.
  • Don’t overestimate how much you’re burning and really need to eat.

Looking for more tips to help your training:

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Couch to 10K Plan

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