By Katie White, winner of the 2018 Babcock Helensburgh 10K

THE 10K is a great race distance as it is something that with a little bit of training anyone should be capable of completing and with a bit more experience it is possible to make big improvements in your time.

I am not a coach, but based on my own experience I have put together three training programmes as a guide for preparing to take part in a 10K race. The aim of all three training programmes is to gradually increase your fitness so that you are able to run further (beginners’ programme) or faster.

The beginners’ programme is designed for people who don’t currently run regularly or have never completed a 10K race before. The intermediate plan is suitable for people who can already run 10K and the advanced programme is for people who run regularly and want to improve their personal best.

READ MORE: Helensburgh 10K is back - and Babcock returns as sponsor

Although the schedules are structured to help you achieve the optimum training, they are just a guideline – don’t worry if you have to miss a run or need to adjust them a little to fit in with your other commitments.

Also, as these are generic plans, you might also need to adjust them to suit your current level of fitness and experience.

The first week of the beginners’ programme has three runs a week, each separated by rest days.

Rest days don’t need to be completely inactive, though: if you feel able to then you can do some activity on these days, such as brisk walking, yoga or pilates, as these can help you recover and prepare for your next run.

You could also include some other exercise like swimming or cycling, but try to keep the effort easy so that it doesn’t affect the amount of effort you can put in to the runs – these are the main focus of your training.

The runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays are shorter than at the weekend and aim to reduce the need to take walking breaks.

On Saturdays the aim is to gradually increase the total time you spend active to build up endurance so that you are able to complete 10K. All the runs are based on time rather than distance, so all you need is a watch.

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In week one, all the sessions have short periods of running with walking breaks. Try to keep moving continuously and maintain a brisk walking pace in between the running – you should still be able to recover enough to be able to run again.

The intermediate and advanced programmes have a similar structure in week one, and are both suitable for people who can already run 10K.

For both plans, the key training sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with shorter intervals on Tuesdays and longer 10K specific intervals or a tempo run on Thursdays.

Both plans also have a longer run on Sunday to help increase endurance. For the advanced training plan, these runs are all longer than the intermediate plan.

In addition, the advanced plan has a tempo run on Saturdays and an extra run on Wednesdays. In both plans, on rest days you could add some strength and conditioning training or a short recovery run.

For the short intervals on Tuesdays try and aim to run at a pace quicker than your target 10K pace, with recovery jogs in between. For all interval sessions include a 10-15 minute warm up before you start the intervals and have a similar length cool down after the session.

The tempo runs require a section of the run to be completed at a faster pace, which should be slower than your interval pace but fast enough that you could still manage to say a few words but not have a conversation. The tempo section of the run should be done once you have run 10-15 minutes to warm up and to allow a similar amount of time afterwards to cool down.

READ MORE: Full results from 2018 Babcock 10K Series race in Helensburgh

Choose the plan most suitable for you based on the amount of running you are currently doing.

If you are already running at least four times a week, then the advanced programme may be suitable for you. If you are currently running less than this, or have not previously completed a running plan with interval training, the intermediate plan may be more suitable.

Don’t suddenly start running a lot more or a lot harder than you are used to as this will put you at risk of injury. Any increase in the amount or difficulty of your running needs to be gradual.

Week 1 (beginners): Monday – rest day; Tuesday – 1min walk, 2min run x10; Wednesday – rest day; Thursday – 1min walk, 2min run x10; Friday – rest day; Saturday – 5min run, 2min walk x5; Sunday – rest day.

Week 1 (intermediate): Monday – rest; Tuesday – 10x1min with 1min recovery; Wednesday – rest; Thursday – 1hr steady; Friday – rest; Saturday – 3 miles easy; Sunday – 6 miles.

Week 1 (advanced): Monday – rest; Tuesday – 15x1min 1 with 1min recovery; Wednesday – 1hr steady; Thursday – 1hr steady; Friday – rest; Saturday – 1hr with 15min tempo; Sunday – 8 miles.

Don’t miss week 2 of the programme next week!