Desk to 10K

Just for grown ups!

Welcome to Desk to 10k, by Totally Runable – an 8 week plan which will help you get from your desk to running a 10k. If you are new to running or haven’t run for a while, complete Desk to 5k first. If you are able to comfortably run a 5k already or have just competed Desk to 5k, then this plan picks up where Desk to 5k left off and could be just the thing to get you to the 10k marker.

Download The Plan Here

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FAQs (or the Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions…)

How far is 10k?

10k is 10,000 metres, or 6.2 miles. It takes most people between 50 and 90 minutes to run. A car or bus travelling at 30mph would travel 10k in around 12 minutes 30 seconds (yes - both would be cheating). 

We could just double all our fun ways to think about 5k to make 10k but we thought you might appreciate some new fun ways to visualise your 10k! So, by the end of Desk to 10k you’ll be running the equivalent of the length (or height!) of (about)…

  • 137 International Space Stations
  • 3,333 Tim Peakes (slightly less when he returns from space!)
  • 1/19 of the M25
  • 50,000 aardvarks
  • 2820 fiat 500s
  • 1.13 Everests
  • 2.5 Heathrow Northern runways
  • 3.3 unsupported spans of Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Whistler
  • 1 x Douglas promenade to Laxey, Isle of Man (just for Nat)
  • 10 circumferences of the millennium dome
  • 1/4 of a Marathon 

Can anyone do Desk to 10k?

Unfortunately not - but the good news is that most people can! Everybody (and every body!) is different. As Desk to 10k is generic advice, you would always be better off getting bespoke advice and training plans from a suitably qualified exercise professional. If we can help, just let us know!

Before starting Desk to 10k make sure you have had a health check with your GP and that they are happy for you to start the plan. If you are new to running or haven’t run for a while, we suggest completing Desk to 5k first. 

Some specific categories of people do need specialist advice and training programmes - Desk to 10k is not for them. Do not start or continue the plan if you are or might be pregnant, are under 16, over 50, or suffer from a disability, or if you suffer from any of the following; a heart condition; pain in your chest either when you do physical activity or otherwise, loss of balance because of dizziness or loss of consciousness, or bone or joint problems (for example, back, knee or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity. Likewise, if you have been prescribed drugs (for example, water pills) for your blood pressure or a heart condition, or if you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity, the Desk to 10k is not for you.

Just like Desk to 5k, Desk to 10k is intended as a challenge but within sensible parameters, and as generic advice the Desk to 10k is limited in the situations and people it can cover. Bespoke personal training from a suitably qualified exercise professional, including an assessment of your own personal needs, health and circumstances, is always our recommended option. Contact us if you'd like us to discuss the options available for this through Totally Runable - we'd love to help if we can!

Where Desk to 10k includes a time and a distance to run, which should I do?

Longer runs are set out in distance or time and it is up to you which you choose to aim for. Keep it consistent though – although it is no good getting half way through your run and opting for the shorter of the two just to avoid running further!

If you have some jazzy technology (such as a specialist running watch or app) or you like to measure your runs when you are planning your routes, then you may prefer to use the distance as your aim. 
The time goal for each run is included as a guide if you don’t have a way to measure distance. 

In theory the run should be about the same length whether you go by the distance or time, but don’t worry if you are running aiming for the distance and the time is way off.  If you have a choice, go with the distance, as this relates directly to your end goal. 

Do I need to warm up and cool down?

Yes – warming up and cooling down are important to get your body ready to exercise and to help you recover properly. Before each run, spend at least 3 minutes warming up and at the end of each run spend at least 3 minutes cooling down. If you do not feel warm at the end of 3 minutes, repeat the warm up until you do. In the first few weeks of Desk to 10k your warm up can be a brisk walk or gentle run. Do the same for a cool down to bring your heart rate down gently and help your body begin recovering. As your warm up might vary depending on how you are feeling the timings in Desk to 10k do not include warm up or cool down time, but both should be factored in to all your runs. 

What do I do on my non-running days?

Desk to 10k, like Desk to 5k, includes non-running elements which work together to improve your running. On non-running days you will either be stretching or doing your weekly ‘strength for running’. Guidance for both is included in the Desk to 10k plan. Working on strength and stretching will support your running and minimise risk of injury, as well as helping you feel fitter in everyday life, climbing stairs or walking the dog. 

‘Strength for running’ includes 3 exercises to strengthen the muscles you will use for running. Stretching days include 3 stretches to do each rest day, to keep those muscles flexible. The stretches in Desk to 5k will be just as useful to you as those in Desk to 10k, so if you want to include those in your stretching sessions too then you can do. 

With a combination of both strength and stretching you will recover from your runs more quickly and improve at a faster pace. Just like Desk to 5k, each week there is a mental and physical focus to think about, mixing your physical training with a positive mindset, so by the end of the plan you’ll be fit enough and confident enough to keep on running. 

Make sure your muscles are warmed up before you stretch or start your strength for running session. Just like before your runs, make sure you do at least 3 minutes of warm up activity - this could include a brisk walk or marching on the spot. If you do not feel warm after 3 minutes, repeat for a further 3 minutes until you do. This is important to ensure that your body is ready for exercise. 

What should I wear?

For running, ‘strength for running’ and stretching you should wear comfortable clothing that you can move in. Remember you will get warmer during runs – layers are great for making sure you don’t get too hot or cold. Although shopping for running clothing and accessories can be fun, you really don’t need anything technical to get started, other than a pair of running trainers, and perhaps a sports bra, which offers more support than a normal bra. Trainers and sports bras can be bought from specialist running or sports shops.  

How do I know if I am running correctly?

Good running technique will mean you avoid injury and your body adapts more easily to running and Desk to 10k. Stay relaxed, look straight ahead of you and relax your shoulders and hands. Breathe deeply through your mouth or nose. Breathing in time with your steps can help with this – aim for 1 breath to every 2 steps you take. Swing your arms forward and backwards, not across your body, and lean slightly forward when you are running. There is lots of debate about which part of your foot you should land on. Aim to land on the mid point of the bottom of your foot with short light steps - avoid landing heavily, which could cause injuries over time. 

Where should I run?

Desk to 10k is designed to get you outside and enjoying the fresh air. Stick to well lit and populated areas where you can be seen clearly. Watch out for any traffic or trip hazards and always take your mobile with you. A lot of people listen to music whilst running, but make sure you stay aware of your surroundings to stay safe.

What if I miss a session?

Try not to miss any runs, ‘strength for running’ or stretching days. All elements of the Desk to 10k work together for your body and mind to adapt to the training. If you do need to miss a session, do your best to avoid missing 2 in a row. If you do miss 2 in a row, repeat that week of the plan. This will add a week to the total length of the Desk to 10k but will make sure you stay on track. Desk to 10k is carefully planned to include a sensible amount of activity and rest, so days shouldn't be swapped around. If you miss a session don't be tempted to try and catch up with yourself - just repeat a week.

What if I get injured or if I am ill?

With any exercise, injuries can and will happen. Don’t run through pain or illness – respect how your body feels. You should see a GP for a health check before you start Desk to 10k and if you have any concerns at all during the plan, see your GP to get the all clear before continuing Desk to 10k, for example if you feel pain or are ill. Your body can handle a lot, and will get stronger throughout the Desk to 10k, but there may be times when you need to think about what else is going on in your life that your body is managing. Repeating a week of Desk to 10k is much better than getting injured and will help you stay motivated to reach your goal. 

Should I eat or drink before a run or ‘strength for running’?

Your body will need energy to run but a large meal or drinking a lot of liquid before you run, or before ‘strength for running’ might not be helpful. Digesting food draws blood away from your muscles to your digestive system, and a lot of liquid can make running uncomfortable. Make sure you drink enough during the day (1-2 litres – water is best) and avoid eating a big meal less than 2 hours before a run or ‘strength for running’.  If you are thirsty while running, take a bottle of water with you. Drink small amounts to stay hydrated. As long as you have taken in a sensible amount of water throughout the day you should not need to drink whilst running, although some people prefer to have water with them. 

Can I do other types of exercise on rest days?

Rest is an important part of Desk to 10k. The rest days are the days when your body repairs itself and adapts to the training. If you enjoy going to other exercise classes such as zumba or like to go swimming, there is no reason you should stop these types of exercise. Bear the total amount of training in mind though, to make sure you are not overdoing it and giving your body too much to deal with. Speak to your GP or a suitably qualified exercise professional if you are unsure. 

How can I share Desk to 10k?

Desk to 10k can be shared easily with colleagues and friends to help them get started, or even challenge them to a race. Just send them this link…Share your story on Facebook and Twitter for more top tips with #Deskto10k.