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How Long Does It Take to Run a 10k? | Running for Beginners

If you’re relatively new to running, perhaps you’ve just completed your first few miles or even a 5k, then naturally, your next challenge is running your first 10km training run or race. The 10km distance is very popular with beginners, although not quite as popular as your regular Saturday morning parkrun.

How long does it take to run a 10k?

Like the 5k, the 10k is an achievable distance for all runners, beginners, or those a little more advanced. It’s not so long that you require additional fueling, like a marathon, but short enough to push yourself at a faster pace in pursuit of a personal best.

This article will discuss how long it takes on average for a beginner run the 10km distance. However, first, I will signpost the benefits of running in general.

Author bio: This article is by Matthew from Running101, a running blog providing you with the best training tips, running news, and the very best running gear.

What are the benefits of running a 10k?

Chances are, you already know several of the benefits of regular running. However, if you’re a little unsure or need a quick refresh, we’ve provided these for you to see below.

Benefits of running include:

  1. Improved mental health
  2. Reduce risk of certain diseases, including cancer
  3. Stronger bones & a healthier heart
  4. Increased happiness
  5. Weight-loss and/or management

These are just a handful of the benefits of regular physical activity and running. Although you may find running difficult initially, it’s incredibly worthwhile and one of the best forms of physical activity readily available.

The more you run, so long as you don’t run yourself into the ground, the better your overall physical and mental health. It’s great if you can run for a couple of weeks, but do your best to remain consistent for better results, both in your health and improvement toward your training times.

How long does it take the average person to run 10k?

So, back to the main question: How long does it take for a beginner to run 10k? According to Healthline, the average pace per mile for men during a 10k is nine minutes per mile, and ten minutes for women. This roughly equals anywhere between fifty-five minutes for men and sixty-two minutes for women to complete the 10 km distance, give or take.

If you’re currently outside of these estimated times, do not worry. If you’re just starting out, this is a good thing – it means you have plenty of room for improvement and a goal to set your sights on. However, if you find yourself running better in training, perhaps it’s your 10k strategy that needs a few tweaks?

Creating and Implementing a 10k Strategy

As a beginner, you may think there is little to no strategy involved when it comes to running. However, this is not true – it’s important to pace yourself correctly to run a faster 10km. For example, many runners sprint off once the whistle is blown, but this is not the best way to go when aiming for a personal best.

Sprinting at the beginning is only effective if the course is narrow, allowing you to get ahead early. Even so, if you do sprint, it should only be for a very short period. To run a 10km distance though, you should set off at a comfortably hard but sustainable pace. Ideally, you want to maintain the same pace for the entire distance, speeding up towards the middle and the last few kilometers.

>>Download the 10k Pace Chart for running a 10km race here!

If you’re currently shooting off at the start like an energizer bunny or a Forrest Gump wannabe, then you’re not going to get faster – you’re going to hinder your performance and burnout early.

Tips to Improve Your 10k Time

Okay, now that I’ve discussed both the average time it takes a beginner to run a 10k and general strategy, the next section will provide you with a few tips to become faster across the popular distance.

Firstly, if you haven’t yet run a 5k, I highly recommend running one of these before attempting the 10km distance. Similarly, you should train in advance and not attempt to run the 10km distance without prior training.

Aside from this, tips to improve your 10 km time include:

  1. Allow yourself plenty of time to train for the distance
  2. Ensure to implement plenty of rest into your training
  3. Don’t just run- add structure to your training
  4. Avoid overtraining!

Each of these tips will now be discussed individually to provide you greater insight, helping you crush that next road race of extended training run.

Allow yourself plenty of time to train for 10km

Jumping straight into your first 10k with little to no training is a recipe for disaster. Rather, you should allow yourself a minimum of six weeks to train, ideally longer.

Over these six or so weeks, you should gradually increase your weekly mileage, however, be sure not to overtrain. Rest days are just as important as training days, and you should include two to three of these per week as a beginner.

The safest way to increase your mileage is to add no more than ten percent total distance per week. For example, if last week you ran fifteen miles, this week you should run sixteen and a half, adding this to your existing runs or adding an extra one to accommodate to the distance.

>> Download the Couch to 10k Training Schedule here!

Implement plenty of rest into your training

As previously mentioned, rest is an essential part of your training. Too little rest and you increase your risk of injury and overtraining. As a general rule of thumb, you should include at least two rest days a week as a beginner.

When your resting, your body is recovering and adapting to your training – this is an essential component to becoming a better runner!

Furthermore, there are plenty of running accessories you can use to speed up and enhance your recovery, including foam rollers, massage sticks, and compression calf sleeves. Be sure to shop around and see what works best for you.

Don’t just run – add structure to your training

It’s all good just running; however, to see the greatest improvement in your training, you should add structure and specific workouts for better results. For example, look to include a tempo run once every one to two weeks (once you are comfortable running regularly) into your training. This will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner – it’s one of the best workouts you can do, both as a beginner and an experienced runner.

To find out more information surrounding the different types of running workouts, you can read up on these by clicking here.

Avoid overtraining

Finally, it’s essential to avoid overtraining. As a new runner, you may find yourself sucked into a vortex of constant running and consistent motivation. However, fight the urge to train everyday as this will only deter your progress, as strange as this sounds.

If you’re really itching for a workout, consider strength training or performing low intensity cardio such as cycling or walking instead – this too will improve your recovery between runs.

So how long does it take to run a 10k?

As a beginner, it will take you anywhere from fifty-five minutes for males and sixty-two minutes for females to run a 10 km distance, give or take. If you’re not quite there, implement some of the tips and strategies included in this article and try again in a few weeks – you’re guaranteed to improve!

More 10k training tips:


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

I had about a 6wk break due to surgery & recovery. This caused me to loose my momentum. I was doing about 3-4mi x 3-4d per week. Now it’s taking me about 35 min for 2mi. How can I get back to that level? Any tips? Thanks.

Runnin' for Sweets

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Hi Allyssa, thanks for reading! I experienced something very similar coming back after a break at the end of my pregnancy and understand the frustration very well. When I first started running after my break it was taking me nearly 20 minutes to run/walk a mile! My two biggest pieces of advice are to be consistent and not worry about speed or time in the beginning. The first month or so will probably feel very tough and slow, but I am always surprised how quickly my body remembers the activity and adapts. Try fitting in short runs frequently during the week, and wait to increase the distance until they start to feel easier. Don’t worry about pace for the first few months and just listen to your body. Trust that it will remember what to do and you will probably be surprised when all of a sudden you start feeling like your old self with running again. Good luck!!