Races come in many different distances. Some distances are in kilometers and others are in miles.
But the most popular race distances are the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about 10k races.
So how many miles is a 10k?
10 kilometers is equal to 6.2 miles.
To run 6.2 miles, you would need to run 25 laps around a 400-meter—quarter-mile—track.
How long would it take to run this distance on a flat course?
The world record for a 10k is 26.11 minutes for men, and 29.17 minutes for women. These were accomplished by professional athletes, but casual runners who are experienced and train well can run a 10k in less than 40 minutes.
An intermediate runner should be able to finish in 40 minutes to an hour. If you are a beginner, you may take more than an hour.
But your final time may also depend on the weather, how well you trained, the course profile, and how well you feel on race day.
How long would it take to run it on a hilly or trail course?
It can be harder to maintain a good pace on a hilly course. Therefore, you can expect to add a few minutes to your final time because of the extra time taken to climb and descend hills.
Jack Daniels—a well-known running coach—creator of the Daniels Running Formula, derived a rule to help calculate how much time is lost on inclines. For every one percent incline, an individual will lose between 12 and 15 seconds of time per mile. On declines of one percent, an individual will gain eight seconds per mile.
For example, if there’s an incline of one percent on 2 miles of the course, you can expect to be 24 to 30 seconds slower than you would on a flat course if you kept the same pace.
This can be hard to calculate in advance unless you know the exact gradients of the course you are running. But if you are on a course that has hills, you can expect to run a slightly slower time than you would on a flat course.
This can add up a significant amount of time over a race of 50k. But in a 10k race, the difference is usually small.
If you are a serious runner who is working towards a PR, then this information is important to know and could give you a better understanding of how to run your race most effectively.
To set a 10k PR, how often should I run?
When you first start running, the PRs are easier to attain. This is because you make faster progress as your body becomes accustomed to running, and you see bigger differences in your performance.
Beginners also need more rest than advanced runners. This will give the muscles time to heal and grow, which will enhance your performance.
For a beginner to get a new PR in a 10k race, they should be training at least twice a week. Intermediate runners should train three to four times a week, and experienced runners five or more.
How many miles per week?
When you’re a beginner who is looking to do a 10k race, you should be running at least 15k—9.3 miles—a week. Intermediate runners should be running between 20 and 70k—12.4 to 43.4 miles—depending on their experience. Advanced runners should be doing more than 70k a week.
How long is the preparation?
The length of preparation depends on the individual. An intermediate to an advanced runner can train comprehensively for a 10k race in one to three months.
A new runner will need between three and six months to train properly for a 10k race. Keep in mind that training consists of regular runs as well as following a nutrition plan, and possibly cross-training.
The different runs
When training, you should gear it towards the specific race you are training for. You won’t train the same way for a 10k as you would for a 50k.
Not only does the distance change your way of training, but the terrain you will be running on also makes a difference. If your last race was a flat race but your upcoming race is hilly, you will need to adjust your training for that.
For most runners, an 85/15 split between threshold pace and speed work is a good training split. Threshold pace is two to five percent slower than your target race pace. Speedwork is at your target race or faster.
So for 85 percent of your mileage, you should be focusing on running slower but longer distances. This helps to build endurance by keeping your heart rate at 75 to 80 percent of its maximum. The other 15 percent should be shorter, faster runs.
If you are training three times a week, it’s easy to split your runs into one speedwork session, one threshold pace session, and one long, easy run.
Recommendation for runners training 3 times a week
1 run speed work (intervals)
This will be a shorter run, but it will get your heart rate up. Do a one to two kilometers —.6 to 1.2 miles—warmup, including running drills. When you feel like you’re ready, it’s time to intervals.
A good option is doing 10 x 400-meter—quarter-mile—intervals with 200 meters of recovery jogging in between. This is easy to do around a 400-meter track. One interval will be once around the track.
For the recovery run, you can run halfway around the track and then begin your next interval from there, or you can measure 100 meters from the starting point to the center of the track and run there and back so you can begin your next interval from the same point.
After your 10 intervals, do a one to two-kilometer cool-down run. If you don’t have access to a track, you will have to measure these distances using a fitness tracker or smartwatch and mark them so you can run them.
1 run threshold pace
For your threshold pace run, the aim is to keep a pace that’s about two to five percent lower than your target race pace. Start with a 1.6 to 3.2-mile warmup run with some running drills and dynamic stretching.
Then, do 3 sessions of 2 miles each, with a 3-minute recovery walk or jog in between each one. When you have finished, do a 1.6 to 3.2-mile cooldown.
1 easy longer run
This run will consist of 12 to 15 kilometers—7.4 to 9.3 miles—of solid running at a pace of no faster than 5 minutes per kilometer.
Strength and cross-training
If you are serious about running an excellent time at your 10k race, you should look at incorporating some strength training into your training program. You only need to add one cross-training session per week of 30 to 60 minutes to get the benefits of it.
You should pick a type of cross-training that focuses mainly on the legs and core. Cycling and elliptical are two options or rowing. But you may be able to get a more targeted leg and core workout if you do weight lifting or bodyweight training.
You should do this workout at a moderate intensity. If you go too hard, it will affect your running.
Recovery is an underrated part of performance. It’s more than just wearing a compression sleeve to speed up muscle recovery! Recovery and training are equally as important in order to have a successful 10k run.
If you are cross-training, you need to remember to keep the intensity of your cross-training moderate. You should also look at incorporating yoga or stretching once or twice a week, as well as using a foam roller after each run.
To stimulate blood flow and help to regulate body temperature, you can also have a cold shower after a training session. Sauna or steam room sessions may also be beneficial for muscle relaxation and recovery.
You will also need to pay attention to your diet and make sure you are eating foods that provide sustained energy and build muscle. Stay hydrated throughout the day even when you aren’t exercising, and try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
Whether you are training for a 10k or a 50k, you should have fun and enjoy both the training and the race.
If you don’t enjoy your training, you may have taken on more than you can handle. It could be a good idea to go back to running 5k races and work your way up to a 10k more slowly.
You should be running because you love to run! If you don’t find joy in your sport, then perhaps another sport is best for you. But if you do find joy and happiness in running, then remember that no matter what your results are, the biggest goal is to enjoy yourself.