From Couch to 10K
In 12 Weeks

The Couch to 10K training program uses the walk/run method which is very popular among beginner runners.

couch to 10K on the horizon!

A method designed to train you from zero fitness to 10K within 12 weeks.

As the name would suggest, this program is a little more ambitious than the conventional Couch to 5K, but that doesn’t mean to say you won’t complete it – even if you have done little or no running since school, you will still reach the 10K finish line if you follow the program week by week

So whether you are planning to run a 10K event or just want to start running and give yourself a challenge... this page is for you ;-)

 10K Training Preparation

The walk/run method lets your body learn how to adapt to running gradually, allowing your muscles to recover which will help avoid injury. This method uses intervals of walking as well as running, building your confidence and steadily building stamina and fitness

10K may seem like a lofty target if you are a beginner or out of shape, but take it week by week and follow the running tips below and you'll give yourself a good chance of completing your target

how good will that feel...

 Couch To 10K – Running Tips

  • Only start the Couch to 10K if you can walk comfortably for 60 minutes – if not, build up your walking and then start the program
  • Do you want a time-target instead of running a 10K? Then make your target to run 60 minutes (non-stop) instead of 10K
  • If the Couch to 10K training program advances too quickly for your liking then repeat a week – this is much better than missing a week! Or, if you are training toward a 10K event and can’t afford to miss a week, do 50% or 75% of the running intervals and increase the walking times. Then catch up the week after ;-)
Julie & her eldest, Nick
  • Push yourself and don’t give up without a fight! Running is  hard at first (it’s normal!), expect some huffing and puffing, but keep pushing - not so hard that you feel dizzy or ready to pass out, just go beyond your “normal limits”
  • Improve your diet – even as a beginner runner what you eat can be the difference between completing your daily goal and failing it. So, if you think your runners diet might need a tweak here and there, now is a good time
  • Promise yourself a treat – many runners find it helps their motivation if they treat themselves after a target is reached. After you reach your 10K goal why not treat yourself to a new piece of new running gear? Or treat yourself to a day out with the family - you choose, but make it something special

 Couch To 10K - Training Program

The Couch to 10K (below) is a 3 day a week training program and, like the Couch to 5K program, I have designed it so that the third run of each week is the longest and the second run is (usually) the shortest; I have also included 2 "easy" weeks

You might want to set your long run for the weekend while doing the first two workouts during the week?

But feel free to swap them around as you wish, just avoid running on consecutive days, this will allow your muscles to recover properly after each run ;-)

Running Tips HQ:

On non-running days consider cycling or swimming as part of your cross training - but remember to have one day of complete rest every week

Start and finish each workout with a 5 minute walk. This warms up your muscles before a run and allows those tired muscles to recover after a run - good for injury prevention ;-)

Note: On Day 1 repeat the Run and Walk intervals 8 times (x8) and on Day 2 repeat 6 times (x6) and so on… just checking :-)

Here goes...

Week 1
Day 1 – Run 1 min, Walk 2 min, x8
Day 2 – Run 1 min, Walk 2 min, x6
Day 3 – Run 1 min, Walk 2 min, x10

Week 2
Day 1 – Run 2 min, Walk 2 min, x7
Day 2 – Run 2 min, Walk 2 min, x6
Day 3 – Run 2 min, Walk 2 min, x8

Week 3
Day 1 – Run 3 min, Walk 2 min, x6
Day 2 - Run 3 min, Walk 2 min, x5
Day 3 - Run 3 min, Walk 2 min, x7

Week 4
Day 1 - Run 5 min, Walk 3 min, x4
Day 2 - Run 5 min, Walk 2 min, x3
Day 3 - Run 5 min, Walk 3 min, x5

Week 5 - Easy
Day 1 – Run 3 min, Walk 2 min, x6
Day 2 - Run 3 min, Walk 2 min, x5
Day 3 - Run 5 min, Walk 3 min, x4

Week 6
Day 1 - Run 8 min, Walk 3 min, x3
Day 2 - Run 7 min, Walk 2 min, x3
Day 3 - Run 8 min, Walk 3 min, x3

Week 7
Day 1 - Run 9 min, Walk 3 min, x3
Day 2 - Run 8 min, Walk 2 min, x3
Day 3 - Run 10 min, Walk 3 min, x3

Week 8
Day 1 - Run 15 min, Walk 5 min, x2
Day 2 - R 15min, Wk 5min, R 10 min
Day 3 - R 20min, Wk 5 min, R 15 min

Week 9 - Easy
Day 1 - R 10min, Wk 3min, Run 16min
Day 2 - R 15 min, Wk 5 min, R 10 min
Day 3 - Run 15 min, Walk 5 min, x2

Week 10
Day 1 - R 20min, Wk 2min, R 20min
Day 2 - Run 25min
Day 3 - Run 40min

Week 11
Day 1 - Run 45min
Day 2 - Run 25min
Day 3 - Run 50min

Week 12
Day 1 - Run 40min
Day 2 - Run 30min
Event Day - Run 10K

Looking for a printable version?

Once you get through the first 3 or 4 weeks of the training program you’ll start to see significant improvements in your fitness, especially if you are starting from scratch and unused to exercise. Whatever happens though, don’t flop over after only a week or two – give it a chance, and stay positive

"Hang on... what do I do after I've done the Couch to 10K?"

Good question! 

You have a couple of options here...

  • If you want to maintain your "10K fitness" -rather than go out there and run 10K every time you go for a run, stick with 2 or 3 runs around the 3 or 4 mile mark and have one long run per week (this could be your 10K)
  • Another way to look at this is to think, "well I'll do a few 10Ks and then try to run further on my long run," this is great! Try 1/2 a mile a week increase and see how it goes - this will make your running more progressive and challenging...great for motivation!

Remember (especially as a beginner) only run 4 or 5 times a week while you get used to running and ALWAYS have one complete rest day, including cross training or weights etc. Your body likes to rest ;-)

Any problems, visit our Running For Beginners page - you will find helpful tips and advice to give you further encouragement, advice and hints ;-)

Failing that, drop us a line :-)

Ready to start your Couch to 10K?


Top 10 beginner running tips – this is a really helpful list to have handy when you are learning how to start running, have a quick look here

For extra motivation find out about the health benefits of running. An in depth look at why your running helps you live longer!

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