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A Complete Guide to the 10K Race
Training for a 10K Run with Iwan Thomas
Training for the 10K
The 10k race is not quite as popular as the 5k race or half-marathon but it deserves attention because it’s the point in a runner’s career that distance running begins to be defined. What I mean by that is 6.2 miles is not an easy get out of bed and do type of run unless you have spent some time training and preparing. This race will demolish beginning runners if they are not equipped to deal with the challenges it presents. With that being said, don’t panic because this guide will give you a detailed plan to not only completing the entire race, but it will also give you specific guidelines to follow in order to be competitive. I have been running most of my adult life but did not take it seriously until the past year. It has been an life enriching experience full of challenges and obstacles both literally and figuratively.
The Right Shoes
Many people down play the importance of having a good running shoe. I will tell you from my experience that having a decent pair has prevented me from injuries and has even helped improve my times. I’m not suggesting going out and buying the latest brand of Nike’s or Reebok’s but I am recommending that you take some time and find a shoe that fits and will provide cushion for this run. Also remember that every 150 miles or so, your shoes need to be replaced. Most of you that are reading this probably already know how important good shoes are but I want to stress it again. The right shoes help tremendously!
If you’re preparing for10k runs you have probably and hopefully mastered the 5K run. Running several 5ks are important because it gives you a feel for how races are setup, how to compete against others, how to train for the race with minimal time, and learning to run in different types of weather. Please don’t just jump into a 10K unless you are running at least 30 miles per week. I say this because if you’ve never run a race but don’t want to try the 5K, jumping into the 10K could be detrimental to your running career and completely kill your motivation to continue with this sport.
First off, I would suggest running at least 4 days per week. This will help build your muscles and your lungs. I would recommend running at least 1 long run per week, at least 6 miles, preferably 10. The other days I typically work on speed work to lower my time and work on intervals. Generally one day per week I will run a timed 5k or 10k just to see what my time might be if I were racing that day. For the interval routine I run 800 meters, jog 800 meters and go back and forth twice and then jog lightly for 2 minutes and start over. I only do two cycles of this routine. The more often and longer you run, the faster you will become. If you’re running 30 miles or more per week, you’ll have no problem competing in this race and you may even be more competitive than your peers. One thing I learned recently is that professional athletes are professional necessarily only because of their talent. They just work longer and harder than amateurs. It’s true in running as well. If you work hard and often, you will be a great runner!
Second, I take care of my body. I do my best to eat right and rest my body. As I am writing this I have a pulled groin muscle and as a result I have cut down my routine a little so that I can heal. Trying to run through injuries will make them worse and will keep you from running even longer than if you had just rested in the first place. Get rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat right. These are the things you can do off the track to prepare for this race. This routine will become the most important about a week prior to the race. You want to build up your glycogen storage in your muscles starting about 3 days from the race. To do that, you need to eat lots of complex carbohydrates like pasta, bread, fruits, and vegetables.
Third, be sure to sign up for races throughout the season to stay motivated. I look for races at specific events like fairs and community events because then my whole family can come, watch me race and then we can have fun afterwards hanging out. It becomes good quality family time. My wife does not race, yet. But I do enjoy her cheering me on at the starting and finish line. Signing up for races ahead of time will also keep you focused and motivated. I find that if I allow too much time elapse between the time I race and my routines, I lose focus and start getting lazy. You may be better at that than I am, but either way, signup for races! Plus it will give you experience and who knows you may end up winning a medal.
Preparing for the 10K race is a fun experience. It will provide you with discipline as well as health benefits and who knows, maybe your family members will catch on as well and start running. Make sure before you run long distances to have a good pair of running shoes. They will protect you from injury and will help your times. Be sure to prepare by running at least 30 miles per week for this race and more if you really want to be competitive. If you eat right, rest and take care of injuries right away you have more of a chance of finishing this race strong. If not, then prepare for an extremely long and difficult journey to the finish line. To keep your motivation high, sign up for multiple races throughout the season. Find races that are sponsored by events or even your favorite community oriented non profit organization. Signing up for multiple races will also keep you focused on staying on track with your routine. Keeping these tips in mind while preparing for this race will keep your mind sharp, your body toned, your health in tip top shape, and your spirits high. Now, what are you waiting for? Go out and start running!