For those that have just started running, whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds or you’re keen on running more competitively, a 10k race is a great first challenge to really test your endurance skills.
If you’re a fully fledged marathon runner, 10k is a nice distance to keep yourself in peak physical condition during those winter months and is a fantastic platform to start improving your long-distance times. Because of this, the 10k running race is one of the most popular events in the jogging community.
Here are 5 tips that will ensure that you’ll run and finish a 10k race in the time you’re looking to:
- Pick your training plan:
You’ll need to decide on the training plan for you. This will depend on how seriously you’re going take the race and how far in advance you’ve been given to train. Annoyingly, unless you’re a regular runner, it can take a number of weeks to significantly improve your distance running so if your race is in a couple of weeks then getting round will be your main goal. Runner’s World and Cancer Research UK (beginners and advanced) have some good 10k training plans that are based on how long you have until race day.
- Choose the right clothes:
If you’re new to running then you might be inclined to dust off those old trainers that have been lying in the back of your closet and start pounding asphalt. Don’t. Trainers are the most important tool in a runner’s arsenal and are the one area you should never scrimp on. Visit a recommended athletics store to have your gait analysed and pick up the shoes that are best suited to your running style. Your posture will improve and you’ll avoid unnecessary injury. With shorts, shirts and socks stick to light material and try and avoid heavier fabrics like thick cotton. This will hopefully reduce friction between thighs and armpits and will ‘wick’ away sweat should you get hot. Find out what you feel the most comfortable wearing (and how much leg you’re happy with showing off) and get plenty of…
Unlike training for a marathon, 10 kilometres is a distance that you can perform at the end of each week that’ll leave you enough time to recover for the following week. Get a few 10k practice runs under your belt and try to discover what sort of times you feel comfortable with. Some may manage to crack the sub-one-hour mark on their first attempt. Others may struggle, but you can save yourself a few surprises by having a go around your local park. Use the Google Maps distance measurement tool or the GMAP Pedometer to map out the 10k and work out some split times based on landmarks on your route. It’ll come in handy come the big day as you’ll know whether to slow down or speed up as you reach each kilometre mark. If you’ve got the wallet, there are plenty of GPS tools you can purchase, like the Garmin Forerunner.
It might not be a marathon, but that doesn’t mean that a good bowl of pasta the night before won’t go down a treat on race day. Stock up on carbs, pin your race number to your shirt and plan your route to the start line the night before. The last thing you want is to arrive late at the start line and exhaust yourself getting there, or worse still, miss the race!
- Pace yourself:
It sounds like simple advice, go steady and you’ll make it all the way round, and it is simple. But the amount of times I’ve been passed in the first mile of a 10k race, only to overtake them by mile 4, is absolutely astonishing. Your aim should be to obtain the much-heralded negative split time, where you run the second half of the race faster than the first. If it’s your first race you will almost certainly get caught up in the mad rush at the start and launch into a 4-minute K pace. You know your body, so you should know your extremities. The rumors that the crowd will keep you going are only true so far. If you run too fast at the start you’ll struggle at the end and you’ll leave the race feeling disappointed and upset with yourself.