World's Best 10K Workout

The Best 10K Workout


After running countless 10Ks and coaching runners who have run countless more, I’ve found one workout to be the absolute best to prepare you for the distance. It’s not an easy workout and you probably can’t do it right away, so you’ll need to build up to it with the sequence of workouts outlined here, which, when combined with supplementary workouts, creates an exceptional training plan for your next goal 10K.


If you can perform three 2-mile repeats (or 3k) at your goal 10K pace in the last one to two weeks before your race, you will achieve your goal time. Period. It’s a simple workout but oh-so-hard to accomplish. As such, you must build up to it, and this buildup of workouts turns out to be some of the best training you can do to run a fast 10K.


Eight weeks out from your 10K, run six 1-mile (or 1500m) repeats at your goal 10K pace, taking 3 to 4 minutes recovery jog between each. Don’t be surprised if you struggle in this workout. Many athletes become worried that their goal is out of reach, but trust me: You just need to complete the workout sequence and you’ll be ready. One thing I find helps is to just focus on goal 10K pace, not faster. Some runners try to “beat the workout” by running faster but that isn’t the goal. Start at goal pace and simply hang on.

BUILDUP WORKOUT #2: 2 MILE + 4 X 1 MILE (3K + 4 x 1500m)

Six weeks out from your 10K, advance to the following workout: Run a 2-mile (3K) repeat at your goal 10K pace then take a 5-minute recovery jog. Next, run four 1-mile (1500m) repeats at goal 10K pace, taking 3 to 4 minutes recovery jog between each. As with Workout No. 1, you will get in 6 miles/10K of running at your goal pace.

BUILDUP WORKOUT # 3: 2 X 2 MILE + 2 X 1 MILE (2 x 3K + 2 x 1500m)

Four weeks out from the race, the workout advances yet again. This time, run two 2-mile (3k) repeats at goal 10K pace. Again, take a 5-minute recovery jog after each repeat. Then, perform two 1-mile/1500m repeats at goal pace, taking 3 minutes recovery between each. By now, you should be feeling much more ready to attack your goal time. Your body is becoming calloused to the mental and physical stress of 10K pace. If, however, you’re struggling to hit your goal pace even on the first 2-mile (3K) repeat, then your proposed goal pace is too aggressive and you should re-evaluate.


After this buildup of workouts, you’re ready to attack the ultimate 10K workout. I suggest you perform this workout nine to 12 days before your race to allow enough time to recover before the event. Start with your usual warm-up (which you should perform for each workout described in this article), then run three 2-mile/3K repeats at your goal 10K pace. Take a 5-minute recovery jog between each repeat. Prepare for this intense workout like you will your race — be well-recovered, properly hydrated and fueled, use the equipment you’ll use in the race, run at the time of day that you’ll be racing.


While the 10K buildup workouts occur every other week, the in-between weeks provide a great opportunity to perform other important 5K and 10K workouts. I like 200m and 400m repeats performed at 5K effort. I find that running slightly faster repeats on the in-between weeks makes 10K race pace feel easier. You may even perform a 5K race in preparation for your 10K. I also recommend at least one tempo run during this buildup. The pace will be slightly slower than 10K pace but will build your stamina for the goal event.


Week #1: 6 x 1M/1500m

3-minute jog between repeats

Week #2: 10-12 x 400m

Run the 400m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between

Week #3: 2M/3K + 4 x 1M/1500m

5-minute jog between 2M repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M repeats

Week #4: 3M/5K Tempo Run or 5K Race

One simple prediction method is to double your 5K time and add 1 minute to get your 10K time. Are you on track for your goal 10K time?

Week #5: 2 x 2M/3k + 2 x 1M/1500m

5-minute jog between repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M/1500 repeats

Week #6: 20-24 x 200m

Run the 200m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between

Week #7: 3 x 2M/3K

Run the 2M/3K repeats at goal 10K race pace; 5 minutes jog between

Week #8: RACE: 10K


Want to see this workout in action for you? My 10K training plans are here.

For every distance between 800 meters and the marathon, these scientifically-based training plans include your McMillan Calculator training paces integrated, coach’s notes, and access to our prehab routines. Plus, the plans are delivered on a runner-friendly training log platform. Learn more.

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Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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