So you started running and made it through a 5K or two. What is next? If you are ready for another challenge, the 10K is a great race distance to begin training for.
One of the best things you now have going for yourself both mentally and physically is being able to finish a 3 mile run. A lot of people really look at 3 miles as that big hurdle that really pushes them to take things further. Many people find the 3 mile marker as the point at which they can consider themselves a runner and with good reason. It might seem silly but those first 3 miles are in many ways the hardest to get past. Once you reach this point, your body is starting to be able to handle running longer distances. Your lungs and heart are now capable of pumping for 30 minutes or more at once. Your legs have built muscles to help your body achieve this distance. Mentally you have pushed yourself past that point of begging yourself to stop or telling yourself you can’t make it.
Now you can start to push your running in different ways. If you can run for 30 minutes at a time without stopping you can try adding a few more minutes at a time to your running. If you are like me and prefer to measure your runs by distance you can try to start adding distance to your running. Either way, the rules are the same as when you were building up with your run/walk training. It isn’t about adding the whole thing all at once. You are still working at building up your training.
Typically when we start adding time or mileage it is best to use the 10% rule. That would mean that if your previous longest run was 30 minutes you would add 3 minutes the first week and so on. If you prefer to measure by distance you would add on 10% of the distance each week.
This does not mean that every run has to be that long. I recommend sticking with your 30 minute run for the majority of your training. Pick one day a week for your long run and use that to add whatever additional time or distance is appropriate for that week. As you continue you can add on time to your 30 minute regular runs if your body and schedule permit.
With the strong base that you built with your 5K training you could realistically train for 8 weeks and be prepared for a 10K. However, every runner is different and this is simply just a recommendation and not a hard and fast rule. This type of training will help you reach your first 10K and is not meant for more advanced runners or someone looking to improve on their race times or past performances.
The other benefit to running the 10K at this point is that you have already done a 5K. You know how races are run and you know how you prefer to approach them. Don’t change the way you prepped the night before or the morning of. Stick to your same plan of action and you will continue to find success on your running journey.
I personally love the 10K distance. 5Ks tend to take off a bit more like a sprint and I always let my ego get the best of me and dash to the finish. The 10K is a longer race and allows you more time to settle in at a pace very similar to or just a tad faster than your normal training pace. It is still an achievable distance for most runners but long enough to really give you a great satisfaction upon completion.