Training for a 10K Starts With a Single Step


Credit: lululemon athletica

So remember how I mentioned hell freezing over because I was thinking about running a half marathon? Well, it turns out that the race in question is actually a 10K. Which made me jump for joy and nearly weep with relief. A 10K seems so much more manageable to someone who prefers Zumba to hitting the pavement.

In fact, a 10K seems about the perfect distance. Long enough to be a challenge and an accomplishment, but the training is much more doable for me. Sometimes I have a hard enough time fitting a shower into my day, so lengthy runs plus a shower? I’m afraid I’d be really smelly all the time. With a 10K, the longest training run is 5 miles. Manageable!

As it is, I’ve got 10 weeks or so to train. I’ve done my first few short runs to ease in. It’s funny that now I’m thinking of my weeks and building in rest days, whereas for the last two years it was all that I had to build in the workout days. This goal stuff suits me. (And speaking of suits, I’ve been swimming, too. More on that another day!)

So, goals for race day? Goal 1? Be injury free. This is the most important to me because being in pain sucks and I want to be able to run on race day and not hurt myself training or on game day. Goal 2? I’d love to be able to run the whole thing without stopping to walk. Goal 3? The time is least important to me, but if I’m going to run the whole time I’d love to get it done in 62 minutes. Only time will tell as I log more training runs whether that goal is achievable, so I may adjust, but I think I’d feel pretty proud if I got in anywhere near that time.

I’m glad the summer is winding down and that my longer runs will be closer to October. I ran just a couple of miles over the weekend and the humidity was killer. So killer that I thought running was torture. Six miles in October should be a breeze in comparison!

What tips do you have for training for and running a 10K? Help a newbie runner out! —Erin


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  1. Cat says:

    – build your mileage slowly, no more than 10% per week (this is for your weekly total, not any single run)
    – don’t forget to cross-train! Strong core aids in running
    – warm up and cool down properly after every run to help avoid injury
    – if you don’t have time to complete a whole run at once, it’s ok to split it up EXCEPT your once-weekly long run, that should be done in its entirety since it’s meant to build your endurance
    – do not try to increase distance and speed at the same time, it’s a recipe for injury (unfortunately I speak from experience here)
    – there are many good, free training plans available on the interwebs, find and follow one 🙂
    Best of luck to you! I love the 10k distance! I’m training for a half-marathon right now and will see how I like it, but I’ve already decided to run more 10k’s in the future.

  2. I’ve been considering training for a 1/2 marathon or a beginners triathlon and I’m like you where I prefer my cardio short and intense like Zumba. Your post and the follow up post from Cat are both informational and inspiring, I think I’m ready to overcome my mental hurdle and give it a try!! Thanks!!

  3. I ran my first 5K in July last year and then my first 1/2 marathon in October and did so after switching to Barefoot running in May after completing the Tough Mudder (I didn’t run the Mudder). My husband who has been an avid runner for years, and is an NFPT Personal trainer, designed my training runs for me and I was able to complete the 1/2 marathon at a 9:34 min/mile pace. We now have a new website and on there is a 10k race training program that is free. I know it is now like 4 weeks til your race, but if you have already been training and are still looking for a free program you could always jump into our program at the level you are currently running. Good luck to you on your race day! You will be surprised how much fun it is and even though running distances doesn’t always start out sounding appealing to new runners, it is surprisingly addictive and you may find yourself signed up for a 1/2 marathon in no time!