When you first take up running, everything is geared towards that first 5K. At first, you struggle to make it through five minutes, let alone ten, but soon enough the day comes around that you can run for a full 30 minutes without stopping. It’s liberating and you can’t help but tell everyone you meet that you’ve run for a whole 30 minutes – “WITHOUT STOPPING!”
But then what happens? Once you’ve mastered the art of the 5K and your local Saturday morning parkrun, the next challenge looms – the 10K and the prospect of doubling the distance you’ve worked so hard to conquer can be daunting.
However, a 10K race is a fun and rewarding distance to train for. It won’t take over your life and you’ll very quickly see huge improvements in your fitness during the process. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready for your first 10K in no time!
Building up to a 10K takes time so don’t expect to achieve too much too soon. Set out a training plan for a period of eight weeks and gradually increase the mileage each week (as per the training plan below). If you set out to run 10K in week one, you’ll not only put yourself at risk of injury but also risk shattering your confidence.
Training for a 10K can be achieved with three to four training sessions a week. Ensure that you factor in rest time in between these days to allow your muscles time to repair and recover. In the last 3 weeks of training before a race, your runs will begin to taper. In this time, don’t be tempted to over-train by running long distances to prepare for your race. If you’ve stuck to the plan, you’ll be ready for your race – trust us.
Integrating a different form of cardio workout into your training plan is not only a great way to keep your training plan interesting and fun but will also give your leg muscles time to recover. A 30 – 40 minute swim once a week is great way to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. A zero-impact workout, it also aids recovery and will help prevent injury. A 30 minute Pilates and yoga class once a week is also a good form of cross-training in preparing for your first 10K, giving your body a good stretch and increasing strength in your core.
It’s so easy to ‘forget’ to stretch at the end of run – particularly when all you want to do is collapse on the couch. Stretching your quads, glutes, hip flexors, calves and hamstrings, before and after your run, will help to keep you injury-free and will increase your flexibility in the process.
Ensure you fit in one to two long runs a week, running for a period of 75 minutes as your longest run around week five of your eight week plan. This will build up your endurance ready for a race day.
Integrating threshold sessions into your training is another fantastic way of building up your endurance, while preparing the body to run faster for longer. Do one threshold run per week, working at the edge of discomfort at an eight out of ten intensity level (a level where you would struggle to talk during a run).
Setting yourself a goal is a great way to ensure you commit to your training plan. Sign up to a race eight to ten weeks before to ensure you give yourself enough time to train so that you’re feeling confident come race day. Looking for a race? Why not sign up to our WR10K Race Series? Its fun, friendly and suitable for runner’s of all ability. For details, visit: bit.ly/13bmjZe
Print it, pin it to your fridge and stick to it – good luck!