Many new runners able to run for an hour continuously begin to think about tackling events like 10km races. So how do you set about training for your first 10k?
Recognise your starting point
It may be obvious, but you need to build up from where you are rather than where you want to be. For example if you can run for an hour non-stop and you complete around 4 miles in that time, resist the temptation to suddenly increase your run time to see if you can run the 6.2 miles of a 10km. Plan to get there gradually.
Keep your vitality
It is important that you build up gradually to maintain your vitality. Running should give you more energy not less. If you are feeling weary all the time then the chances are you have done too much or not had enough recovery. You may need a couple of extra days recovery or you may need to reduce the number of runs you are doing. Listen to what your body is telling you.
Building up from three runs a week
It is likely that if you can run for an hour non-stop you are doing three runs a week. Two 40 minute runs plus one run of an hour. Building up a long run is good training as it stimulates key adaptions in your body that make you fitter. Before you do this though make sure you are running two 60 minute runs a week.
Step 1 Build up another run to 60 minutes
Add 10 minutes to one of your 40 minute runs and keep it the same for three weeks. Then repeat the build up by adding another ten minutes so your run length is 60 minutes for the next three weeks.
Step 2 Build up the long run
Increase your running volume every three weeks. Add 10 minutes to your 60 minute run for the first three weeks to reach 70 minutes. Then increase it again by 10 minutes for the next three weeks to reach 80 minutes. Add a further 10 minutes to reach 90 minutes for the final three weeks. Listen to your body and if you are feeling weary all the time take longer to build up.
Step 3 Adding some ‘breathy’ running
Once you have a long run of 90 minutes, a 60 minute run and a 40 minute run add some ‘breathy’ running into the 60 minute run. Do this gradually by making sure you are well warmed up and then add a couple of 2 minute ‘breathy’ efforts. Have a Chatty jog in between. Do as much or as little to ensure you maintain your vitality. A ‘breathy’ run shouldn’t make you feel too tired. You can find out what ‘breathy’ running feels like here. Over time you can build up to a continuous ‘breathy’ effort of 20 minutes in your hour long run. Don’t rush to get there though!
Step 4 Add another run
To balance your training when you are doing a lovely long 90 minute run it is best to run four times a week. Your next step then is to add another 40 minute run. Add this fourth run in two stages. Just 20 minutes at first will be enough. Increase it to 30 minutes the next week and listen to your body. If it is coping and your vitality is strong then you can increase it again to 40 minutes in the third week. If your body is telling you to take it more gradually build up this run using the three week plan we have described above.
Don’t forget to Sparkle
Your training needs to include a variety of speeds throughout the week but not speeds that make you out of breath. You can achieve this with one ‘breathy’ run, a long run that is Superchatty for the first 30 minutes, which is slightly slower than your normal Chatty pace, and the all important Sparkles. You can add Sparkles from the outset into one of your 40 minute runs. Find out how to Sparkle here.
Do I need to practice the 10km distance in order to finish a race?
Some people like to feel that they can cover the 10k before they race it. You don’t need to do this though. Follow the build up we have outlined and you will finish your first 10k easily.
I have already run a 10km and want to improve my time
The build up above will help you improve your time if you are already an experienced 10k runner. You can go further by doing the following.
Add a fifth run of 35 minutes. This should be a very gentle Chatty jog.
Put some ‘breathy’ running into another of your runs, checking in with your vitality as you do this.