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Weekly Mileage for a 10k

Amanda Wendorff

Signing up to train for and race a 10k run is a big commitment, and for a beginner runner, it’s natural to wonder how many miles a week you’ll need to run to be well-prepared. However, there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to weekly mileage for a 10k. Your best mileage will depend on several factors, including your experience and goals. 

In this article, we’ll touch on several considerations that you should take into account when determining your weekly mileage, including: 

  • How often beginner runners need to run to train for a 10k
  • The factors you should consider when deciding how much to run
  • How to find your training and racing paces
  • How to determine how many hours per week to run
  • How to calculate the number of miles per week to run
MOTTIV app user Stacie Cannon is thrilled to be crossing the finish line of a race!


How Much Do I Need to Run to Train for a 10k?

The run training plans on the MOTTIV app have been written by Olympians and world-class coaches at Run Free Training. For a 10k race, the plans top out at a maximum of just four runs per week, along with one mobility workout and one strength workout. 

You may have heard about professional or elite runners who run up to or more than 100 miles a week as they prepare for races, including 5k and 10k, half marathons, marathons, and beyond. However, these marathoners and other runners have years of experience and have designed their lives to maximize their training and speed. 

As a rule, we do not suggest that amateur runners follow similar high mileage programs because age group runners need time to increase their endurance and durability. Most also have very busy lives with major priorities like jobs and families.

As a rule of thumb, you can perform very well in a 10k race with just two to four runs per week of just 30 to 75 minutes. 

The 10k training plans in our app are designed to fit around busy schedules and will prepare you to run your fastest without having to sacrifice the other important things in your life.

What Factors Affect How Many Miles I Should Run?

Because every runner is different, there is no definitive answer for how many weekly miles you should run to prepare for a 10k. There are a few factors that should be taken into account in determining how much you should run. 

Running Experience

One of the most important rules for a new runner is to start with low mileage and gradually build volume. 

Building mileage gradually is essential to avoid injury. Because running is a weight-bearing activity, it is tough on your body’s bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Studies have estimated that 20 to 80 percent of runners will experience lower-limb injuries in a year. There are a few things that increase your injury risk: 

In light of these factors, your goal mileage for a 10k will depend largely on how much running you have done recently. 

If you’re starting from scratch, start at a low running volume that you know your body can handle, such as two runs per week of just 30 minutes. Then, build up the amount you run each week by no more than 8-10%.

A Note for Athletes From Other Sports

Even elite-level athletes coming to running from other non-weight-bearing sports, like swimming, still need to start with low mileage and build very slowly. 

While a top-level athlete will quickly adapt to the cardiovascular demands of running, their musculoskeletal system (or their joints, tendons, and ligaments) will take months and even years of training to build up durability to withstand the pounding of running. In other words, the body needs time to catch up to the strong engine.

So, even if you are very fit and accustomed to large training volumes, be careful adding running miles to your routine.

10k Race Goals

Your goals for the 10k race will also affect your target running miles. For example, below are some sample training weeks for athletes who use our app and just want to finish a 10k, athletes who want to finish the 10k feeling strong, and for athletes who want to compete:

This is a snapshot of a week of training in the MOTTIV app for an athlete who just wants to finish a 10K race.
This is a look at a week of training in the MOTTIV training app for an athlete who wants to finish a 10K race feeling strong.
This is a look at a week of training in the MOTTIV training app for an athlete who wants to attempt to hit the podium in a 10k race.




Because a 10k is a relatively short distance, most people can complete the distance safely with a minimal amount of training. If your goal is merely to cross the finish line, you could get away with just one short run/ walk a week for training. 

If you want to push your limits and run hard for the entire 10k, three to five runs a week will set you up well for success. 

Those wishing to race the 10k and aim for top finishes should build to five to six runs per week, plus strength training and mobility workouts. 

Injury History

One of the best predictors of running injury is previous injury. In other words, if you’ve experienced knee pain in the past, you’re more likely to experience knee pain again if you’re not careful with your running mileage.

If you have had leg injuries related to sports in the past, it’s wise to start with very low mileage and build your weekly running time very carefully. 

How Many Miles Should I Run When Training for a 10k?

Many running coaches, including those who have designed our training plans at MOTTIV, prescribe training plans based on time rather than mileage, so it’s difficult to set a specific mileage goal for 10k runners. 

However, if you want to get a sense of how many miles per week you should expect to run when completing one of the 10k training plans available on our app, you can refer to a couple of our calculators to get a ballpark figure. 

Finding Your Training and Race Paces

First, use our pace calculator to get a sense of your training and race paces based on a recent race or your goal 10k time: 

      

For example, a 60-minute 10k runner would have the following training paces:

  • Easy running pace: 12:00-13:28 minutes per mile (7:28-8:22 minutes per kilometer)
  • Moderate Tempo running pace: 10:04-10:34 minutes per mile (6:15-6:35 minutes per kilometer)
  • Fast Running Pace: faster than 10:04 minutes per mile (6:15 minutes per kilometer)

Finding the Number of Hours To Train Per Week

Next, you can use this calculator to determine how many hours per week to train, based on your 10k goals and your athletic background: 

      

 

Based on this calculator, here are the hourly training goals, per week, for a few example types of runners: 

  • A runner with no running background, whose goal is to finish: 2 to 3 hours of running per week
  • A runner with a moderate running background, whose goal is to finish strong: 4 to 5 hours of running per week
  • A runner with an elite sports background, whose goal is to compete for a top finish: 5 to 6 hours of running per week

Calculating Weekly Mileage

After determining your general training paces, as well as the hours per week of running that you should aim to achieve, we can make some calculations as to weekly mileage to expect while training a 10k.  This takes a few steps.

Most importantly, remember that about 80% of your training time should be spent on easy running, while about 20% of the time you spend running should be fast running. 

With that in mind, follow these steps:  

  1. Using the calculators above, determine how many hours per week will be devoted to easy running and how many to fast running.

    For example, assume you are a moderately experienced runner whose goal is to finish strong with a time of 60 minutes for the 10k.  The calculator told you to aim for 4 hours per week of running. That’s 240 minutes (4 hours x  60 minutes). 

    80% of the 240 weekly minutes (or 192 minutes, which we can round to 3 hours and 15 minutes) should be devoted to easy running. 20% of your weekly running time (about 45 minutes) should be devoted to fast running. 
  1. Using your training paces, calculate how many easy and fast miles or kilometers you’ll cover in that allotted weekly time.

    Using our training paces calculator, for our 60-minute 10k runner, easy runs should be done at around 12:00 per mile or about 7:00 per kilometer. At a 12-minute mile, our runner will cover about 20 miles of easy running per week (240 minutes total divided by 12 minutes per mile). That equals about 32 kilometers (240 minutes total divided by 7.5 minutes per kilometer). 

    Similarly, if our 60-minute 10k runner runs about 9:00/ mile, or 5:30/ kilometer for her fast pace, she’ll cover about 5 miles of fast running per week (45 minutes divided by 9 minutes per mile). That equals about 8 kilometers (45 minutes divided by 5.5 minutes per kilometer). 
  1. Add the easy and fast running miles for your anticipated weekly mileage.

    In this case, our runner can expect to run 25 miles per week (20 miles easy plus 5 miles fast) or 40 kilometers per week (32 kilometers easy plus 8 kilometers fast).

Examples of Weekly Mileage for Different Runners

Using the steps outlined above,  here are a couple charts that show anticipated weekly mileage for various runners of different speeds, with different goals for weekly miles:

 MILES

Goal Weekly Hours Goal Weekly Minutes Easy Training Pace Fast Training Pace Weekly Easy Time Weekly Fast Time Weekly Easy Miles Weekly Fast Miles TOTAL MILES
6 360 10:00/mile 8:00/mile 288 minutes 72 minutes 29 9 36
5 300 12:00/mile 10:00/mile 240 minutes 60 minutes 20 6 26
4 240 14:00/mile 12:00/mile 192 minutes 48 minutes 14 4 18

 
KILOMETERS

Goal Weekly Hours Goal Weekly Minutes Easy Training Pace Fast Training Pace Weekly Easy Time Weekly Fast Time Weekly Easy KMs Weekly Fast KMs TOTAL KMs
6 360 6:30/km 5:00/km 288 minutes 72 minutes 44 14 58
5 300 7:30/km 6:00/km 240 minutes 60 minutes 32 10 42
4 240 8:30/km 7:00/km 192 minutes 48 minutes 23 7 30

Remember, these calculations represent the most weekly mileage that you’ll likely run in your build up to a 10k, and are mere suggestions that should be altered based on your personal circumstances. And as always, start slow, and build your mileage gradually. 

All you have to do to get a 10k training plan from our app is sign up, and we'll take care of all of the planning for you.

Wrap-Up

When it comes to weekly mileage, every runner is different. While we can provide general guidelines for how many hours per week to run to prepare for a 10k, the actual mileage may depend on several factors, including your background, goals, injury history, and speed. 

In this article, we’ve addressed:

  • How frequently to expect to run when training for a 10k
  • The importance of starting with low mileage and building your running volume gradually
  • The factors that influence how many miles you should run per week
  • Tips for calculating expected weekly mileage

While many runners track their weekly mileage, the best approach is to listen to your body and only do as much as you know your body can handle. Building your mileage gradually and cautiously makes you much more likely to avoid injury and enjoy training for your 10k.

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Amanda Wendorff

| Author

Amanda Wendorff is a professional triathlete, focusing on the 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman distances. In the last several years she’s competed in multiple gravel bike races. Top Achievements: Top 3 Ironman Ireland and Ironman 70.3 Coquimbo, Multiple time top-5 finisher, 3rd Overall at Moran 166 Gravel Race in Michigan, Age group podium at Gravel Worlds, Big Sugar, and Ned Gravel in first year of gravel racing.

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