A 10K run is 6.2 miles long. Your average 10K pace is highly individual and results from your level of fitness, your training history, and your genetic makeup and innate athletic ability. As a beginning runner, your first goal should always be to train without getting injured, and your first goal for a 10K race should be to finish, regardless of your pace.
Train at Your Own Level
You can figure out what pace you should be aiming for on your daily runs by doing a "magic mile" time trial. Find a track or a nice, flat road where you happen to know the distance between a couple of points. You can use your car's odometer to measure the road if you don't have a track nearby that you can use. Jog an easy five minute warm-up, then walk for three or four minutes. Once you're ready, run one mile -- that's four laps on the track. You shouldn't be all out sprinting, but do push yourself harder than your normal, easy jogging pace. This gives you a good indication of the upper limits of what you can sustain. Your daily training runs should be run two to three minutes per mile slower than your magic mile pace.
Make Your Own Training Plan
There are several free training plans available online that can help you train toward your 10K goal. Your work and life schedule are going to be the biggest dictators of how much time you have to dedicate to training, and not all of the training plans may work for you. Investigate a few beginner plans, such as those available from Jeff Galloway, Hal Higdon, Cool Running or Runner's World. As long as you are getting in your long run each week, which will range from 2 to as many as 8 miles, you can pick and choose the other workouts you want to do from any of all of the available training plans, based on the week of training that you are in. For example, if you are in the second week of your training, you shouldn't choose to do a workout from week five of any of the plans.
Calculate Your Pace
You can repeat your magic mile test every two weeks, and adjust the pace of your training runs as appropriate. According to professional runner and trainer Jeff Galloway, you can estimate your 10K time by multiplying your magic mile time by 1.15. A ten-minute mile pace is a realistic goal if you are a beginning runner and you've been training for a while. If you can run a mile in ten minutes, then you may be able to complete your 10K at an 11:30 mile pace. At this pace, you should be able to complete your 10K in about an hour and 11 minutes.
Alternating walking and jogging during your training runs will help you to recover faster without impacting your endurance gains. Even professional runners take walk-breaks during training runs and races, so you can feel confident that you're still getting the benefits of training while at the same reducing your risk of burning out. Take up cross training on non-run days in order to improve your strength and flexibility, which will help keep you from getting injured during training and on race day. Cross training gives your running muscles a break, while helping you achieve greater speed and overall fitness in the long run.
Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology (behavior) and a master's in wildlife ecology. When Reid is not training to run marathons, she is operating a non-profit animal rescue organization. Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since 2008.