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10km Training

As all athletes have different needs, a single program suitable for all athletes is not possible. A training program has to be developed to meet the athlete's individual needs and consider many factors: gender, age, strengths, weaknesses, objectives, training facilities etc. The program supplied here is just an example and will require updates to meet your specific aims and objectives.

Before starting any training, you must have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for you to do so.

What's involved in a 10km race?

In 1976, Fox and Matthews stated that the 10km distance used the following energy pathways:

  • 70% O2 (aerobic)
  • 20% LA-O2 work
  • 10% ATP-PC-LA work

Specimen sessions for the energy pathways are as follows:

Pathway Speed Example session
O2 Target 10km pace 6 × 1200 metres with half the running time as the rest
LA-O2 Target 3km pace 4 × 2 × 800 metres with the running time as the rest
ATP-PC-LA Target 1.5km pace 4 × 4 × 400 metres with twice the running time as the rest

In practical terms, this is seven sessions out of ten allocated to O2 running, two to LA-O2 and one to ATP-PC-LA

Example 10km Training Plan & Programs

The objective of each phase, with links to examples of a season's training plan and four-week training programs for phases 1, 2 and 3, are as follows:

  • Training Plan - General overview of the season by phases
  • Phase 1 - General development of strength, mobility, endurance and basic technique
  • Phase 2 - Development of specific fitness and advanced technical skills
  • Phase 3 - Competition experience - the achievement of qualification times for the main competition
  • Phase 4 - Adjustment of the technical model, preparation for the main competition
  • Phase 5 - Competition experience and achievement of outdoor objectives
  • Phase 6 - Active recovery - planning preparation for next season

The content of the four-week programs in phases four and five depends very much on the athlete's progress and competitive races. Your aim in these phases is to address any limitations the athlete may have to bring them to peak performance for the major competition in phase five.

Overview of the Training Program

The season's training plan is based on six phases, each comprising a repeated four-week program. The workload in the first three weeks of the four-week program increases each week (easy, medium, hard), and the fourth week comprises active recovery and tests to monitor training progress. The four-week cycles aim to:

  • Build you up to a level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to a higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to an even higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • and so on

Remember, a training program is athlete specific, and the results of the tests in the fourth week can be used to adjust the training in the next four-week cycle to address any limitations.

The content and quantity of training each week and phase will depend on many factors. The Planning page provides an insight into data gathering and preparing training programs.

Specific Training Phases

In the specific training phases, you will see that you run at three different paces - race pace, 5% faster than race pace and 5% slower than race pace. You must decide on a realistic target time for your 10km in phase five. The use of appropriate tests in week four of the training plan can determine if your target time needs adjustment and the session times on your training plan.

What are the objectives of running at these three different paces?

  • 5% faster than 10km pace - to improve leg speed and the ability to pick 'it up' in a race - specific endurance sessions would involve maximum distances of 3 km in a single repetition
  • 10km race pace - to improve VO2 max and resistance to fatigue and train the body to operate at the required 10km pace - specific endurance sessions would involve maximum distances of 8 km in a single repetition
  • 5% slower than 10km race pace - to improve lactic threshold and teach you to function for longer periods - helps when there is a heat before the final - specific endurance sessions would involve maximum distances of 16 km in a single repetition.

Training Activities

The following are links to the appropriate page for the activities identified in the training programs.

Training Pace

The pace indicated for the sessions is in terms of the percentage of a distance pb. e.g. 3 × 1 km in tpb+5%. If the athlete has a target personal best (tpb) of 30 minutes for the 10km then running at tpb+5% pace would require the athlete to complete the 10km in 31 minutes 34 seconds (30 x 100 ÷ 95), so the 1 km should be completed in 3 minutes 9 seconds.

Training Pace Calculator

Enter the Event Distance, the Target Personal Best Time for the event distance, the Training Session Distance, and the Training Session Effort and then select the "Calculate Training Session Time" button.

Event Distance metres   Target Personal Best Time mins secs
Training Session Distance metres   Training Session Effort
  Training Session Time mins secs

Evaluation Tests

The following evaluation tests can be used to monitor the athlete's development:

Predictions and 10km Pace

For the 10km specialist, it is possible to predict potential times for other distances. Enter their current 10km time and select the Calculate button:

10km time is: mins secs  
Marathon: hrs mins secs   5km: mins secs
3km: minutes seconds   1500m: mins secs

Their 10km race pace equates to:


miles/hr mins secs/km mins secs/mile

It is possible to predict your 400 metres, 800 metres, 1500 metres, 3 km, 5 km, ½ Marathon and Marathon times from your current 10km time using Frank Horwill's four-second rule for males and Frank Horwill's five-second rule for female athletes.

Rules of Competition

The competition rules for this event are available from:

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) 10km Training Program [WWW] Available from: [Accessed