Running a 10k

A 10k, or 6.2 miles, is a distance that needs to be trained for. Even if you´re just an occassional runner, you may be able to roll out of bed on a Sunday morning and decide to run in a local 5k. But to enjoy a 10k, run it in a good time, and run it with little risk of injury, you need to train for this distance.

As with all race distances, the long run is the most important. You should regularly be running over 6 miles if you´re looking for a good time in the race. If your goal is just to finish a 10k, a very respectable goal, you should be running beyond 6 miles for at least some of your long runs. If you´re running a 10k for a fast time, not only should your longs runs be further than 6 miles, but some of your faster runs during the week should be close to, or over, 6 miles.

As for the training program you should follow to prepare for a 10k run:

If you´ve never run in a race further then 5k and don´t feel confident you can easily finish 6 miles, then we recommend following our Beginner program. We´ll get you to the finish line.

If you´re running 4 or more times each week and most runs are 4 or more miles with an occassional run of over 6 miles, you may want to give our Intermediate program a try.

If you´re running 4 or more days a week, most runs are over 4 miles at a good pace, you´re long runs are well over 6 miles and are able and willing to run sprints and hills, go to our Advanced program.

You may notice that the routines are very similar to those for a 5k race. The main difference that the training runs for a 10k should be a little slower pace and a little longer distance.

Let me know how these routines work out for you. If you want some individualized suggestions, send me an email and I´ll be happy to make some recommendations.



10k Routines

Actual distances aren´t mentioned in the grids. Nor are times. Other responsibilities may make a structured training routine impossible. So do what you have time for. Just remember 2 things:

1 - Consistency - Make sure you make time to run at least 4 days a week.
2 - The harder you train, the faster and easier your race will be.


Go to the Definitions section for a description of what to do each day.



Beginner Runner

Beginner Training Routines
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Off Run Easy Off Run Cross Long
Go to the Definitions section for a description of what to do each day.

You´re primary goal is to finish a 10k race. When you finish the race, you´ll really have something you can brag about. Most of you´re friends are spectators. You´re a participant.

You´re training goals should be to increase you´re endurance and avoid injuries. To do this, plan on preparing for the race for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Start slow and easy, even if it means taking walking breaks during your run. Work up to a long run of 6 miles.

At the race, position yourself near the back of the pack. You don´t want to start off too fast and you don´t want to be pushed around by those looking for a fast time (or just don´t know what they´re doing). When the gun goes off, start slow. Six miles is a long way. You´ll have plenty of distance to make up time if you feel up to it. A don´t be afraid to take some walking breaks. Especially at the water stations.

If at any time during your training you feel any pain, stop. If the pain´s not too bad, take a day or two off then try to run again. If the pain is severe or is not getting any better after some rest, speak to your doctor. Running should be fun and a lifetime activity. Don´t push yourself too hard now.



Intermediate Runner

Intermediate Training Routine
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Off Run Hills/Sprint Easy Run Cross Long
Go to the Definitions section for a description of what to do each day.

If you´re placing yourself in this category, you run regularly and in good shape. You´ve probably already run in some 5k races or longer. You currently are injury free and are confident that you can push yourself a little harder without a problem.

This routine has you running 5 days a week. If 5 days a week is not possible, make 4 days. If 4 days isn´t possible, you should go up to the beginner run category, or skip the 10k distance and enjoy a 5k race. One of the days will have you doing either wind sprints or hills. If possible, do sprints one week and then hills the next week. Alternating weeks between the two.

Your long run should be in the 8+ mile range. Work up to this distance if you´re not currently there. You´re weekday runs to be in the 4 to 6 mile range.

As with all running routines, if at any time during your training you feel any pain, stop. If the pain´s not too bad, take a day or two off then try to run again. If the pain is severe or is not getting any better after some rest, speak to your doctor. Running should be fun and a lifetime activity. Don´t push yourself too hard now.



Advanced Runner

Advanced Training Routine
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Easy Hills/Sprint Off Run Sprint/Hills Cross Long
Go to the Definitions section for a description of what to do each day.

If you´re planning on following the advanced program, you run regularly and have run in other races of equal or greater distance. You´re goal is not to just finish strong, it´s to finish fast. With hard work and some luck (depending on the competition that shows up at your event), you´re time may earn you an age group award.

A 10k race is not a short run, but you should be able to easy cover the distance. Pacing yourself is the hard part. Run to fast the first half of the race and you´ll crash by the second half. Start off too slow and you won´t be able to make up the time at the end. There is no substitution for experience. So if you´re not satisfied with you´re result, learn from the experience and sign up for another.

You´re training routine includes 2 days of sprints or hills. Try to do one of each every week during your training. Your long run should be long should be between 10 and 15 miles. Your weekday runs should be in the 5 to 6 mile range.

At the race, place yourself near the front of the race at the starting line. Look around. You can usually tell who the strong runners are. Just like in a 5k, I like to set myself up behind those that look like the best runners and those that look like they´re going to sprint when the gun goes off. This way I´m not pressured to start off too fast, don´t slow down the fast runners, but don´t get stuck behind groups of slow runners.

I hate to sound like I´m preaching, but... If at any time during your training you feel any pain, stop. If the pain´s not too bad, take a day or two off then try to run again. If the pain is severe or is not getting any better after some rest, speak to your doctor. Running should be fun and a lifetime activity.



Definitions

Off Day
Off. Yes Off. No running. Being over 40 (not that we´re old), you´ll probably notice that those minor injuries (sore knee, twisted ankle, etc.) now take a while to heal. Growth, improvements and muscle repair donít occur when we run. It happens when we rest. So do it. (Or more accurately, don´t do it.)

Easy Day
Do whatever distance you have time for at a very easy jog. Shoot for at least 4 miles. You should be able to have a conversation while running, should never be out of breath and should feel refreshed, not tired, when done. Some call these junk miles. I disagree. You may not be building up your endurance or adding speed, but you are burning calories without putting too much strain on your body. So there is a definite plus to keeping this workout on your schedule.

Cross
Cross-train: Can be considered an off day from running. But this should not be an "off" day. I added this option because we´re not professional athletes so often need to fit our workouts with our other responsibilities. A few options include:

- Swimming (laps or play with your kids)
- Bicycle riding (on the road, on the trails, or ride with your kids)
- Take a long hike (with your spouse so he/she doesn´t feel too neglected by your running obsession)
- Go to a lake and rent a rowboat

You get the idea. Doesn´t matter what you do, just do enough to burn calories.

Run
Good distance. Good pace. If running with a friend, you should be able to do some talking but not have a conversation. Unless it´s real cold out, you should get a good sweat from this run. At least part of this run should be at a pace you expect to run in you´re 10k race. Part of the run should be at your 5k pace. Beginners should plan for 4 miles, intermidate runners 5 to 6 miles and advanced runners 6 to 8 miles. When done, you should feel good, but tired.

Long Run
No matter the distance you plan to race, or even if you don´t plan on any races, the long run is the most important run of the week. This is not an easy run of a long distance. Your running pace should be somewhere between the easy run and the normal run. Slow down if you´re out of breath. Speed up if you´re getting bored. The goal for beginners runners should be 6 to 7 miles, intermediate runners should aim for 8 to 10 miles and advanced runners 10 to 15 miles. When you´re done with your run, after you shower, eat, drink and relax. You just did something awesome for yourself.

Sprints
Run about 1/4 mile (400 meters or 1 time around a track) fast. As fast as you can somewhat comfortably, realizing that you´ll be doing distance several times. Jog, or walk if necessary, between sprints about the same distance you just sprinted. Repeat this between 4 and 8 times (starting with 4 sprints if this is new to you or you haven´t done this in a while, then working up to 8). This workout should exhaust you. But you will really see, and feel, the results.

Hills
Unstructured. Don´t be hung up by time, distance or include. Find a hilly route, or even just a single hill, and run it enough times to exhaust yourself. Push yourself to do one more. Then one more after that. Only you´ll know when you´ve really had enough. If there are no hills near you, use the incline on a treadmill.

Return to Routines

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