10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners

10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners


Need a 10 mile training plan for beginners that will get you across the finish line?

Read on, my friend.

Get everything you need to run a 10 Miler, including tips and tricks to make training easier!


Why Run a 10 Miler?

A 10 mile race is a great gateway into longer distance races.

Maybe you’ve been running 5K’s, an occasional 10K, and have your heart set on a half marathon but aren’t quite ready to make the leap?

Then you should run a 10 Miler!

On New Year’s Eve of 2015, I signed up for my first 10 Mile race.

My ultimate goal was to run a half marathon (it was on my bucket list) but up to that point I’d never run more than maybe 5 miles.

The 10 Miler was my gateway to the half marathon later that year.

I figured, hey, if I can complete a 10 mile race, I can TOTALLY do a half marathon.

And guess what? I did. And so can you.

But first….you need a fantastic 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners!

A lot of runners LOVE the 10 miler. It’s my absolute favorite distance for a race.

It’s challenging yet do-able.

Why do you want to run a 10 miler? What are your goals?


What’s Your Goal?

10 Mile Training for Beginners - Pick a Goal

Welcome to the first question you should ask yourself – what is your goal for this race?

Is it to simply cross the finish line? That’s a fantastic goal for beginners, or runners getting back into things after a break.

Is your goal to get a PR (personal record)? This is a great goal for people who have run a 10 miler before and have the fitness level and experience to add more advanced training techniques into their schedule (like speed work and cross training).

Whatever your goal is, make sure to select the right training plan to accomplish your goal.

For example, if you are new to 10 Mile races, and haven’t run that distance before, then don’t choose an advanced training plan. It will only frustrate you and may lead to injuries.

Instead, choose a 10 mile training plan for beginners that eases your body into the distance and teaches you cross training to support the miles.


Select a 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners

There are many variations of 10 mile training plans.

Some people use a 15K plan instead (which is 9.3 miles) because it’s so darn close to 10 miles.

Here is my favorite 12-Week 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners:

10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners



Other 10-week training plan options (or shorten the one above):

Training Plan Basics:

  • The Long Run – you never want to miss a long run. Your body needs to gradually work up to the 10 mile distance by increasing mileage by 10-15% week over week. A lot of people complete the long run on a weekend but do whatever day of the week works best for you (but have a rest day the day before a long run so you’re fresh and ready to go).
  • The Maintenance Run – This is your basic 2-3 mile shakeout run to keep up the weekly miles and focus on form.
  • Cross Training Day – Don’t ignore cross training days. They help strengthen muscles needed for running and help you prevent injuries and improve your form. Here are some great cross training options for runners that include yoga, cycling, and more.
  • Rest Day(s) – Some new runners think they have to run every day or they’re failing. This is so wrong! Rest days are just as important as running days! Muscles repair and strengthen during rest days. You put a lot of strain on your body during training days so rest days give your body a much-needed break to rest up for your next run and prevent injury.
  • “Down” Weeks – Notice weeks 4,7 and 11 have less miles? That’s intentional. Your body needs rest weeks to gear up for increased mileage.

If you’re not new to 10 mile races then you’ll also want to add in speedwork and more technical runs like hill work, tempo runs, and fartlek runs. See How to Run Faster in 30 Days or Less for some workout ideas. But don’t worry about these if you’re a beginner. 


Start Training – It’s Run Time!


This is partly simple: Go run. 🙂

And partly complicated because you need to prepare a bit.

What kind of preparation do you need to start a 10 mile training plan for beginners? These things:

Get the right gear

10 Mile Training for Beginners - The Right Gear

Read Running Gear for Beginners, What You Absolutely Need to Start Running and make sure you have the basics.

In addition to basics, long distance runners need some extras (especially for runs over 60 minutes):

  • Long run fuel – whether it’s GU packets or whole snacks, your body will need fuel for runs over 60 minutes, so experiment early in your training and don’t wait until race day to pick your mid-run snack! Read more about long run snacks here if you want some ideas.
  • Portable water bottle – to hydrate while on your long run. Some runners use a hydration belt and others use a water bottle with a handle. Do what works best for you.
  • Foam Roller – Foam rollers work wonders to ease muscle soreness after hard workouts or long runs. Your legs recover quicker after foam rolling too, so add this to your schedule.

Know what to expect when training

10 Mile Training for Beginners - What to Expect
Yup that’s snow.

Some runners start training for their first long distance run and don’t mentally prepare for it.

By that, I mean they think training will be a cakewalk the whole 10-12 weeks. It won’t (sorry).

Expect things to happen. Training will never be perfect. Here’s some things to expect so you don’t get derailed by the unexpected:

  • Bad weather – it will either rain, snow, be too hot, too cold, too humid, too dry or something else. Get the right gear for the weather or plan to run at the right time of day for temperatures. Or, plan to run on the treadmill. Don’t let bad weather get in your way.
  • Low motivation days – it’s normal to lack motivation on some days. Expect it. But don’t let it deter you. Get it done, and you’ll thak yourself later. Having that bad of a day? Skip your run and rest. Tomorrow will be a better day. Don’t give up because of a bad day!
  • Blisters – Long distance runners get blisters sometimes. It happens. It sucks. Learn how to prevent blisters from running. And how to treat them.
  • Possible Injury – You might pull a muscle. Or overuse one, and need rest. Don’t keep running if you truly get injured, it could make things worse. Consider taking an extended rest and/or seeing a sports medicine professional or doctor to diagnose the injury and provide a treatment plan.


Nutrition & Hydration

Training for a 10 miler takes a lot of energy!

Make sure you fuel (fuel=eating)  the right way so you feel good and perform well.

Check out the Runners Food 101: The Ultimate Guide to Nutrition for Runners to get a sense of what runners should eat.



Pre-Race Day Preparation

10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners - Race Day Checklist

Race day is near! Hooray!

Getting the race day jitters yet?

You won’t if you plan properly – get a Race Day Checklist to make sure you have all the gear you need.

Typical Race Day Checklist:

  • Race day shirt, under garments, pants, socks
  • Running shoes (and your backup if you have one)
  • Race packet (usually pick this up the day before the race or the morning of)
  • Energy/fuel supplies (aka long run snacks)
  • Jacket or layers if needed
  • Anything weather-related (if needed): rain jacket, hat, gloves, sunglasses, etc
  • Sunscreen (if needed)
  • Phone/Phone charger
  • Headphones

Make sure you know the route, and how to get there (and what the parking situation is like).


Race Day is Here! What do I do?

Hopefully you practiced which race morning food works for your body?

Assuming you did, do exactly what worked before.

Did your stomach enjoy eating oatmeal with honey, a bagel, or toast and jam 2 hours before your last long run? Do it on race day. Or whatever worked last time.

Literally do whatever worked before. Do NOT try new things on race day.

Arrive at least 30 minutes before start time (more if you can) – porta potty lines can be long, and you need time to warm up and get to the starting line in time too.

Once at the starting line, don’t fly out of the gate. Don’t bob and weave around the crowd. This wastes energy.

Assume the first 1/4 or 1/2 mile will be slightly slower due to crowds and don’t try to fight it.

Do make sure to hydrate and fuel along the way (as you did during training).

10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners - Race Day Tips
Image Credit: Active.com

Once you finish (hooray!): don’t sit down right away. Grab a banana (or carb/protein), some water and cool down properly or your muscles will hate you later. Make sure to eat something within 30 minutes of finishing the run.

Smile! Congratulate yourself on a job well done! You ran a 10 mile race, that is SO AMAZING!

Now bask in the glory of achieving your goal and make sure to drink tons of water and foam roll later on (I promise you won’t regret this decision).


Running a 10 Miler? Your Might Also Like:

12 Long Distance Running Tips (to Keep Your Sanity During Training)

How to Build a Solid Running Base

How to Run Faster in 30 Days or Less


10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners

10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners 10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners10 Mile Training Plan for Beginners

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