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How To Run Your Best 10km

How To Run Your Best 10km

My journey with running the 10km distance has been quite a long one; it became my go to distance when I decided to stop running half marathons. I was struggling to commit to training for half marathons and running untrained wasn’t proving to be enjoyable at all. With the 10km distance, I had enough fitness to get me through whether I trained or not. Through all my experience over the years, along with the help of some contributions, I put together this guide to help you put together a 10k training plan and run your best 10km yet.

Get To Know The 10km Distance

Before you take on the 10km distance as your goal, you really should get clear on what it means to run 10km, what it will feel like and how best to prepare. 10k is a favourite for beginner runners; it’s achievable and usually a step up from something like Couch to 5k, or the next step after attending multiple ParkRun events.

How far is 10k in miles running?

Basically, 10km is equivalent to 6.2 miles.

How Long Is A 10km Race?

When I first started running, 60 minutes seemed to be the goal that everyone was aiming for. My first ever 10km in 2012 came in at about 1:06 and has since remained my benchmark for which I gauge my overall fitness. With a little bit of training, I can get 1:02… my Personal Best (PB) 10km time is about 52-55 minutes (I think, lol). The best thing about running 10km if you have never run the distance before is that your first time will be a PB no matter what happens!

Tip – don’t compare yourself with other people

    Choosing Which Event To Take Part In

    If you’ve decided 10k is right for your next challenge, entering yourself into an event is a great way to get motivated with a specific goal to work towards. When you’re choosing an event, there are a few things you should take into consideration to make sure race day goes as smoothly as possible:

    • Does it leave me with enough time to train?
    • How convenient is the location?
    • Is there an entry fee?
    • Do I need to raise any money for charity?
    • Do you get a medal?
    • Does the event finish the same place it starts?
    • Is the event good for spectators?

    Read About 10km Events:

    Get Kitted Out For Running

    Now as much as everyone always says that running is free, there is some basic kit that you need to get started. You don’t have to go all out and buy expensive kit but it is worth investigating what others recommend and maybe popping along to a local store and testing out a few. Many run clubs, like Adidas Runners, allow you to trial shoes on runs which means you can road test them before investing.

    Tip – the most important pieces of kit when you begin running are shoes and a sports bra

      Your Basic Kit List

      • Sports bra
      • Running top
      • Running shorts / tights
      • Socks
      • Running shoes

      If you’re gonna be running outdoors during the colder months, get some tips and advice on choosing the right layers to ensure you stay warm during your runs.

      Tried & Tested Running Shoes

      I’ve been through a fair few running shoes in my time. Here are some reviews I’ve written:

      Pin For Later:

      How To Run Your Best 10km

      Staying Healthy and Injury Free

      I think a lot of people are put off running due to the amount of injured runners they know. As a keen cyclist too, I know so many others who have turned to cycling as they can no longer run. But it doesn’t have to be that way! If you nail your running technique, nail your training plan and look after your body, it will see you on the road. Read on to find out how to warm up, cool down and recover from each of your runs before you start working on the training plan.

      Tip – don’t do hard sessions back to back… utilise recovery runs.
        Tip – weaknesses can be magnified when you increase mileage.

          How To Warm Up For Your Runs

          Warming up before your run is essential for avoiding injury, especially in the Winter months. Fortunately just a few minutes dedicated specifically to warming up will switch on the muscles used for running and activate your nervous system. Stretching cold muscles (particularly in static stretches) can lead to injury and stepping out in the cold Winter air can have a similarly negative effect. Get the essential warm up tips needed for winter running before you begin pounding the pavements.

          Your Cool Down And Recovery

           One thing we should never be too busy for is our post run stretches and recovering as best as we can. I’ve already put together a pdf guide featuring the best post run stretches as well as some guidance on foam rolling. Incase you’ve just stumbled upon my site today, I am a qualified fitness professional and I ran everything in the guide past a Sports Therapist to ensure everything I wrote was on point!

          Staying Healthy and Injury Free  -Your Cool Down And Recovery

          Your 10km Training Plan

          I created a basic training plan for busy / slack runners a few years ago which has proved popular. It is based on just two runs per week which means it’s pretty achievable. It’s perfect if you have a lack of time, if you’re not the most committed or if you have other sports you enjoy doing during the week.

          Tip – start with a walk / run programme and build up gradually

            Training Plan Overview:

            10km training plan - 2 runs per week

            The programme is based on an interval session during the week in addition to a longer run on the weekend. You can read more here about the plan and how to structure your runs. The plan is also included in the Stretch & Recovery Guide I shared above.

            Tips To Nail Your Training:

            Tip: be consistent with training. Plan your sessions for the week in advance 


            Tip: on days where you are lacking motivation, try an ‘out and back’ run – run to a certain place then try to run back quicker! 


            Tip: build mileage slowly. Use the 10% rule – don’t increase mileage more than this per week


            Tip: keep a running diary – note down emotions as well as your physical state


            How To Run Faster Over 10km

            If you’ve already completed the 10km distance, then you have a goal time to beat, right? Now, you need to focus on building some speed while keeping enough of your endurance fitness in order to cover the distance, and some. Here are some great ways to build your speed to run faster over 10km:

            • Set your goal time
            • Join a running club
            • Use music to pace yourself
            • Add speed sessions to your training
            • Follow a 10km training plan

            Setting Your 10km Running Goal

            Most people pick arbitrary goal times for their 10kms. The big one is coming in under 60 minutes so if your current time is over the hour, this is a good place to start. Otherwise, focusing on the 5 minute increments is a good choice; ie. current time = 58:07? Aim for sub 55mins. Once you get closer to your threshold, then you’ll need more tailored and specific goals but we’re not there yet!

            Average 10k finish times in the UK

            Stats from RunRepeat via Runners World

            Overall Men Women
            00:58:0800:53:38 01:03:18

            How should you pace your run?

            Here’s a handy table to help you pace your runs. You can job these down on your hand to keep a check or program your running watch to keep an eye on your pace.

            SPLITS50:0060:0001:10:00
            1km5:006:007:00
            2km10:0012:0014:00
            3km15:0018:0021:00
            4km20:0024:0028:00
            5km25:0030:0035:00
            6km30:0036:0042:00
            7km35:0042:0049:000
            8km40:0048:0056:00
            9km45:0054:0063:00
            10km50:0060:0070:00

            Joining A Run Club

            I’m currently back running with Adidas Runners London. It’s been a couple of years since I was active in this run club but it’s great to be back to help me build a bit more consistency into my running. There are lots of free run clubs about, mostly created by brands.

            Shall I add a list of London running clubs?! …leave me a comment below of any that you know and I will update the post. Here’s a start with a little help from the peeps on Twitter…

            London Running Clubs

            • Adidas Runners
            • GoodGym
            • Advent Running
            • Metros rc
            • Serpentine
            • Ealing eagles
            • Ealing southall middx
            • Queen’s Park harriers
            • Sudbury court rc
            • Mornington chasers
            • London Heath side
            • Fulham rc
            • Croydon striders
            • Highgate harriers

            Where Can You Go Running?

            If you haven’t checked out your local parkrun, then make sure you do that. Mine is located in a recreation ground that I didn’t even know existed until I turned up on that Saturday morning. Parkrun will see you through to 5km but you can also tag on a ‘run to’ and ‘run from’ the 5km to increase the distance. You’ll get to meet lots of other keen runners who will be able to suggest routes for you.

            Otherwise, check out this post and also apps / websites like Strava and Komoot.

            Tip – vary your run route to eliminate boredom

              Running with Music

              Research suggests that listening to music while exercising can reduce your perception of how hard you are working and your tiredness. If you’re listening to music while running, it can distract you from the actual effort of running – you’re listening to the beat of a song, rather than the thump coming from your heartbeat.

              By reducing your feeling of tiredness, you’re also more likely to go on for longer. If you keep in step with the music, your stride will be more rhythmical and therefore more efficient.

              Bear in mind though, that for health and safety reasons, many events do not allow you to run with headphones in. I’d try not to become too dependant on music when running so it doesn’t feel completely alien come race day.

              Fuelling Your Runs

              Exercise, training and running all puts a strain on the body which can result in reduced energy levels.

              You can check out this fuelling strategy to get an idea of what you need to consider nutrition wise during train, during the event (usually when running more than an hour) and post event to start your recovery. If you’re into supplements, you can check out Ubiquinol – it’s the active, non-oxidized, reduced form of what is known as Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). It’s a fat soluble, vitamin-like substance which the body produces naturally for use at a cellular level to produce energy. So the short story is, it’s kinda important.

              Why Cross Training Is Important For Runners

              Why Cross Training Is Important For Runners  - 10km training plan to run your best 10km

              Although many people will argue and say that we can’t get away from the principle of specificity in sport… i.e if we want to get better/faster at running then we have to run, I would argue this.

              Cross training (whether that be cycling, weight training, yoga etc) is healthy for both your body and mind and personally, I’ve run my best times after months of mostly just cycling. The jury will probably always remain out on whether there are any substantiated cross over gains to be had other than keeping the injury risk low and muscle mass in tact but it can’t do any harm!

              Here is some workout inspiration on the blog:

              Getting Ready For Race Day

              Eventually I became such a pro at getting ready for race day, I bottled up my skill and created a free PDF to share with everyone who crossed my path. You can find out more about it here or you can just drop your email in the box below and check it out for yourself!

              Tip – remember to hydrate

                What To Expect For Your First 10km

                Well, it’s all well and good me talking at you about running 10km so I figured I would reach out to my communities and see what words of wisdom they had to share when it comes to what to expect!

                My Facebook friends said:

                • Don’t start too fast and soak up the finish line. – Fran
                • It’s just one foot in front of the other oh and don’t forget to look up and around you. – Shelley
                • Going from zero running to a 5k is super tough. The move from 5k to 10k is surprisingly easy. – Jamie
                • Running always feeling crap for the first 2k, no matter how fit you are or how much you train. 🙂 – Sian
                • Start at the back and aim to overtake people… Pick a runner in the distance and aim to slowly catch him or her… And repeat.
                  Excellent motivation. – Neil
                • Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
                  10k is as easy as 5 😁 just don’t skimp on the training.
                  80% of the battle is in your mind. Reassure your mind that your body can handle it by doing the training! (Confidence runs.) – Atlanta
                What To Expect For Your First 10km

                The This Girl Can Essex Community said:

                • Take 1km at time and don’t start thinking about how much further the end is. – Karen
                • Ignore everyone running past you at beginning, find your comfy pace. Also focus on anything other than timing or distance. And if you feel like crying happy tears when you cross the finish line got for it it amazing feeling!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Make sure you stay hydrated – little sips along the way help!!! – Kristine
                • You will feel anxious, ignore the mind games and embrace the challenge – you CAN do it and you will feel awesome at the finish. – Keeley
                • Take it steady at the start it’s so easy to get carried away and then you are burnt out too early! Decide on your pace and stick to it even if it seems like everyone else is faster – run your own race. – Kate
                • Take regular Epsom salt baths! – Edafe
                • For those doing it in a wheelchair, keep aware that you’ll need to go at the runners’ speed at times. Runners with headphones will not know you’re coming through. Just sit back and enjoy the atmosphere; it’s definitely more fun than the individual training sessions. – Nicole
                • Relax into it. When/if you start to struggle a little, relax your shoulders back, you’ll feel yourself straighten up and become lighter and the legs will then find it easier. – Sarah
                • ake it easy…run like you can run all day and enjoy it. 
                  Plan a reward after to celebrate your achievement. 
                  Good luck! – Kate
                • Don’t start too far forward as it can be demoralising if loads of people overtake you. – Rebecca

                There you have it! Everything you need to run your best 10km and smash that training plan. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below because believe me, if you are wondering about “it” someone else is too! Otherwise, you can hit me up on social – all links are below!

                So, which 10km are you running next and what training plan are you using?!

                Elle

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                Photos by Dan Hamshere on behalf of Adidas Runners London. 

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