Before you even consider building up to an advanced 10K program, it's recommended that you've been running for some time. That time can range depending on the athlete, but running regularly for a year prior will certainly give you a better baseline for success. Some experts recommend as much as three years of running experience before delving into an advanced 10K training schedule [source: Palmer].
We'll assume you're not a newbie to distance running. Once you've decided you want to seriously compete in a 10K and have committed to an advanced routine, you should set aside 12 weeks to dedicate to the program. In other words, start your routine 12 weeks leading up to the race date. Now, let's look at how to put together an advanced 10K training plan.
Alternate your workouts. If you set out for a long run on Tuesday, follow it up with a shorter run the next day. Also, find days to rest. Your muscles will respond better to alternating periods of rest. Always take a day off from running once a week.
Work up to longer distances. Your goal is to work up to longer runs the further along your program progresses with the final week leading up to the race being the shortest. As you put together your training plan, increase the distances of each workout whether it's a short, long or fartlek run.
Here's a sample week:
Monday -- Long run (8K)
Tuesday -- Interval run (8 x .5K, 4K daily total)
Wednesday -- Short run (5K)
Thursday -- Short run (4K)
Friday -- Interval (or fartlek run), (6K daily total)
Saturday -- Long run (10 to 12 K)
Sunday -- Rest
Total for the week -- 37 to 39 kilometers
Remember, each day of training you'll also need a warm-up and cool-down session. Those distances don't go toward your training runs. As you get through each week, the goal is to add distance to each run until you get to your target or race week. The week of the race will be shorter because you'll want to be fresh for race day.
These types of training programs are tough, no question. Try running with a partner. Running with a partner has a tendency to motivate you. When there are two of you, it's easier to push each other to grind through the toughest parts of the run.
Advanced 10K training isn't just pounding the pavement or cross country trail until you can't go any farther. In the next section, we'll get into some of the other areas you should consider just as important to advanced 10K training.