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10K Training Plan: Tips to Achieve your Running Goals

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If you’re looking to shed weight, get fit, up your PR, or establish a long-term fitness goal, running is always a fantastic way to achieve it. What’s more is that the 10K is possibly one of the best distances to run too. It’s not too short like a 5K and it’s not as intense as a marathon, settling it perfectly in the center, making it an achievable goal while driving a totally doable 10K training plan.

How many Miles in a 10k Race

Before going knee deep into any details, straight off answering the question, how many miles in a 10k race – its 6.2 miles.

Probably one of the most common errors committed by runners is that they take on too much on themselves without the proper guidance, mostly accompanied by an underestimation of the time it would take to train for a 10K, and end up with low-performance levels and energy burnouts.

Whether you’ve run before or even just starting out, completing 6.2 miles is possible if you incorporate a smart 10K training program – you’ll definitely go the distance!

how many miles in a 10k race
How many Miles in a 10k? (Source)

The distance of 6.2 miles or 10K in a race serves as a perfectly good distance for runners of all level, especially for novices at running looking to get their very first taste of running competitively in a mass-participation event.

Contrary to the commitment and training required for a half or a full marathon, a 10K distance race doesn’t require the half a year or more training in order to complete it.

Apart from that, they also seem to have to catch on with almost every weekend offering an opportunity to run a 10K devoid of all the hassle and commercialization that seems to accompany every half and full marathon.

Also, read: How Many Miles is a 5k? Find Out and Prepare For It!

Pre-Training Tips for Running in a 10K

Before you head out the door to flag off your 10K training schedule, there are a few pointers or pre-training tips for running in a 10K that could help take you in the right direction.

  • The Race

Look out for an event or a race that you’re interested in, and sign up or register for the same. This is the initiation of having a goal to work towards beforehand. Having a pre-determined date and registering for it gives you the ultimate push off you need.

  • Personal Goal

Depending on the level of runner you are, set a goal for yourself for the race. If you’re a seasoned runner, you’ll probably have stats and record times to play around with and achieve a figure that you would like to beat in this particular race. On the other hand, if this is your first or second race, completing the race without burning out during the race could be a goal in itself. Make it realistic and don’t go too hard or too soft on yourself.

  • Keep aside plenty of Time

You will need to allow yourself enough time to prepare for the event. A 10K training schedule cannot be simply jump started. To get off the couch to a 10K training program, it will involve putting in a few months at the least to be prepared to enter the race.

  • Level of Runner = Training Plan

The internet can provide you with myriads of 10K training plans but note that one plan does not fit all kinds of runners. To train for a 10K, your training schedule should take into consideration the level of fitness, running history, prior injuries, and the amount of time commitment – it’s meant to be personalized as per the runner. The basic idea is to use a 10K training plan as a guide for yourself, but to allow for some amount of flexibility as well.

How to Train for a 10K - 8 Tips to Train Better

As mentioned, a 10K training program needs to be personalized as per the runner.

An easy way of looking at running 10K in miles is that you’re just running two 5Ks, but that doesn’t mean that you need to put in double the effort.

In fact a good 10K training plan for beginners includes dividing your entire race into two 5Ks where the first half of the race is run super easy, as easy as being able to hold a conversation while running the race, and the second half of the race is where you pick up your speed, running each mile faster than the previous.

Instead of randomly grasping with varied concepts trying to figure out which ones belong in your 10K training schedule kitty, go through some of these elements that should feature within your 10K training plan:

Tip 1: Never skip the Warm-up

Whenever you’re in for an intense workout make sure you schedule in time to warm –up by doing drills of some high-knees, skips or bum jumps – but nothing validates skipping a warm-up session no matter how easy or intense a training or even on the race day.

If you’re aiming for a goal time, note that running 10K in miles of 6.2 isn’t much time for you to warm-up during the race meaning you have to pull in this before the event itself. However, it’s a different case if you’re running a 10K for the first time, and all you’re looking at is completing the race, in which case running the first mile at an easy pace would serve as a decent warm-up.

train for 10k
Decent Warm-up is a Must (Source)

Read: A Warm-up Routine for Running Perfectly

Tip 2: Building up Endurance Levels

In order to satisfactorily complete a 10K, you need to be boosting up your mileage for the race.

To do this, you should add approximately ten to fifteen percent every week to your mileage. Make sure to spread out this addition evenly throughout the week. Incorporating a weekly long run of about 5 miles is also important.

Your ideal target is that if you can fit in running 15 miles a week along with a 5-mile long run, then you can surely complete a 10K. Make sure to allow for some additional rest hours a couple of days building up to the event, which help in the recovery of that 1.2 miles!

Read: Running Workouts to Increase Speed and Endurance

Tip 3: Combination of Strength

 It’s important to combine some other exercises as well into your 10K training program, such as pilates, cross training, swimming etc. or any others which can help build up your core and work on your flexibility.

This will help with a good form and performance efficiency in general, also an advantage therein in your ability to reduce and cope with injuries.

Read: Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Firm Ankles

how to train for a 10k
Include Pilates in the training program! (Source)

Tip 4: The Mix of Variation and Consistency.

Running at a varied tempo will train your mind and your body how to deal with any rough patches during the course of the race. Of course, this means that you don’t get stuck in a rut running the same way every day. But here’s where consistency comes into play. Consistently plowing through a good day of training and a bad day of training without deterring will also help you push your mind and your body with an extra boost through the tougher parts on race day.

Read: Average Human Running Speed: Broken Down Age-wise

Tip 5: Bring on the Intervals

A great way to work on building up your speed levels is by incorporating intervals. At least once a week, your workout should include short runs at a hard effort where you will not be able to hold a conversation and you can pretty much hear yourself breathing.

Alternate this with easy runs for similar times. You could carry out each level for a few weeks before switching it up a level by adding more number of intervals per set.

Also, read: Fartlek Training: Blend Continuous Training with Interval Training

Tip 6: Power Build-Up

Plyometrics or jump training exercises are popular at increasing a person’s power or speed strength. When performing plyometrics, the muscles tend to exert the maximum of force within short spasms of time.

Squats, bounding, lunge jumps etc. are good examples of plyometrics and should be incorporated into your 10K training program to build up your speed strength.

10k training
Plyometrics Exercises (Source)

Tip 7: Mimic the Event

What you can do during your 10K training plans, is on the day of your log run or endurance run, simulate the conditions and elements to mimic those as of the race day – straight up from the kind of attire you’ll be donning, food of the night before and day of, the correct pace, timing, the entire thing!

This will clear out any of the doubts you might have about the race as well as reduce the butterflies in your stomach on the actual D day.

Also read: Running Cadence and Stride: Improve Your Form and Focus

Tip 8: The More the Merrier

When training for a 10K it’s easier and much more advantageous if you have company, either a friend or even a group from a run club. When there are others accompanying you in your journey of training, it is a motivational factor in itself.

Livingit Tip:
A point to remember is that running isn’t just all about the physical, it also involves mental strength and agility.

If you are an Enthusiast Runner or The mid-level Runner

For a runner at an intermediate level, who’s got a couple of 10Ks in their kitty already, a 10K training plan would consider taking in the first mile of the race at an easy pace. The next four miles of the race will see the runner moving at a steady pace and finishing the last 1.2 miles at a fast pace.

Of course, among the toughest of things to do is to not get carried away in the hype and excitement at the flag off point. The enthusiasm of the other runners is enough to drag you along into running a pace faster than easy.

Read: Prepare For Your First Marathon - Ready, Steady, Run!

If you are an Advanced Runner

As a seasoned runner with quite a few races under his belt and even some marathons possibly a 10k training plan of 6 weeks is not only more than sufficient but also running a 10K is but simple.

But it’s in the simplicity of things that complications can arise.

For a veteran runner, it’s sensible to run at the same pace for the 6 miles of the race – yes, 6 miles! It’s the .2 miles of the race that count for making it up into the fast-paced lane.

The Finish Line

A 10K training plan is bound to skyrocket your leg strength and cardiovascular fitness levels for sure, not to mention of course prepping you for the final day.

What also comes hand in hand when training for a 10K is the additional endurance to take on longer races like the half or full marathon and will also heighten your 5K speed times.

If you’ve never really been a runner and are just starting out, or haven’t yet encountered your first mass participation event, running a 10K could seem like a daunting task, however, hold your horses…a 10K race is 6.2 miles and you could already be covering most if not all of this distance when you’re up and about.

What is really required is focussing all your energy towards the main accomplishment and working with a plan as a guideline to achieving that accomplishment.

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