Couch to 10K Training Plan – Week 1


With New Year’s resolutions firmly in place after festive indulgence, Sporting Futures, the Central Health Derby 10K organisers, are helping people to get back on their feet. With race day on 9th April, they are releasing a Couch to Derby 10K plan which will guide and advise runners through 13 weeks of training.

The Couch to Derby 10K has been co-written by Andy Brooks, of Shelton Striders running club, and Central Health, the race’s headline sponsors. It will outline a training plan building up distance until 10K is reached, offer advice on injury prevention and wellbeing tips and suggest alternative exercise for days off running.


Couch to 10K – Week 1

With exactly a quarter of a year to go until Central Health Derby 10K race day on 9th April, now is a good time to get your training underway, particularly if you are new to running or this is your first 10k. Over the next 13 weeks we will guide you through the training first timers should typically be doing to enable them to reach the start line fit, healthy and ready to run.

We’ve designed the plan to be as flexible as possible so that anyone can follow it. However, everyone is different and won’t respond to training in exactly the same way. So it’s important that you adapt things to suit your own level of fitness and other aspects of your life, such as work and family commitments. Listen to your body and do not over-stretch yourself, particularly in the early stages. Do not train if you are injured or feeling ill and, if you’re not used to regular exercise, it is sensible to consult with your doctor before starting.

The plan is split into 3 phases. The first 6 weeks is the ‘base training’ phase, which is mostly focused on building general fitness and endurance. This will be followed by a 6-week ‘peak training’ phase, where the amount and intensity of training is increased to get you into good shape to reach your goal for the race. And the final week is ‘tapering’, where we’ll reduce the training load and allow all your hard work to ‘soak in’ in preparation for the race itself.

So…. what should you be doing during this first week? 

Ideally, this week you should aim to do three training sessions. These should be spread throughout the week, rather than on consecutive days, to allow sufficient recovery time in between.

Each session should last around 30-35 minutes in total, made up as follows:

  • Begin with a 5-minute walk to warm up your muscles and increase your heart rate slightly.
  • Once warmed up, run for 1 minute and then slow back to a walk for 1 minute, or until you have your breath back and your heart rate has settled back down.
  • Repeat this, alternating running and walking, up to 8 times.
  • Walk gently for 5-minutes at the end to cool down.

If you feel able to run for longer periods, that’s fine. And, if you need longer walk breaks between running, that’s also fine. However, we recommend that you do not make your total workouts any longer than 30-40 minutes during this first week.

Also, we advise that you do not try and run too fast. During this phase you get the most benefit from the time you spend exercising at an easy/moderate intensity. Going too fast, will actually have a negative affect on your overall training plan. We’ll explain more about this in the coming weeks.

Look out for training plan 2 which will be published week commencing 16th January. Good Luck!

Article written by Andy Brooks (pictured), a member of Shelton Striders Running Club and UK Athletics licensed Coach in Running Fitness. You can read more about Andy’s experiences here or visit Shelton Striders website


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