Got the running bug? Done your first few runs? Past the couch stage and want to move from 5km to 10km? There’s a good reason why this distance is so popular. Ten kilometres (or 6.2 miles in old money) is far enough for a challenge but short enough to be achievable.
Can I go for 10km from total beginner?
Anything is possible, so the answer is yes. You do need to be patient and persistent though. Patient because fitness doesn’t come in a day or even a week and rushing it can cause injury. Persistent because you’ve got to stick with it to see the improvement.
If you are a new runner aiming for a 10km, start with walking. Build up until you can walk briskly for an hour. Then you are ready to step up. Try running with walking breaks in between. Rather than giving up all together when you’re tired or out of breath, add a few minutes of walking in between bursts of running to start seeing overall distance increasing in each session.
Between 10-12 weeks is a sufficient amount of time to get 10km-ready. Don’t forget, rest days are essential to build muscle and reduce the chance of injury. Strength training to increase your muscle and support the impact on your joints is even more essential. Don’t just swap strength for cardio.
Need motivation for those 12 weeks? That’s where running groups come in. There’s nothing like meeting other runners to make sure you get out there. It’s also good to have company on wet and murky days.
Weekend park runs are a great time to test out your 5km pace. With other runners cheering you on and a positive atmosphere around, it’s easy to see why people make it a habit. Once you’re confident at this, going from 5km to 10km is a lot easier.
What do I need for a 10km?
Going from 5km to 10km can mean there are a few bits you might need to take with you to help you along the way. Fashion trainers cannot give you the support you need to run real distances. Invest in a good pair or running trainers and your feet and knees will thank you.
High visibility jackets or straps are a good idea for those planning to run in the dark. For example, in the hours before or after work when the sun is nowhere to be seen.
Apart from this, you don’t need any special kit to start running a bit further, despite what the best sports brands would like you to think. A pair of leggings or shorts, an old t-shirt and a solid breakfast in your tummy is really all you need.
Jumping from 5km to 10km
Going from 5km to 10km can feel like a big jump, but it’s actually not as hard as going from couch to 5km. You’re not a novice. You’ve got a running style, a pace you’re familiar with, and have your likes and dislikes in terms of music, snacks and clothes.
Good news – double the distance doesn’t mean double the training. A gradual increase in mileage across the weeks will see you reach 10km in no time.
A good way to test your endurance is to add in a weekly ‘threshold run’. During a 30-minute run, turn up the speed for five minutes to the point where you can only just talk while running. That’s a good way to build up endurance without overdoing it.
Top tips for a 10km race
An upcoming event can be a great motivator to going the distance and helps give you a reason to run more regularly. That said, don’t overdo it in the week before. Give your legs some time to recover in the week leading up to the race. Take a break from strength training and running, make sure to stretch every night, and eat balanced meals of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The week before is not the time for new shoes, let alone the day of the race itself. Have everything worn in (but not worn out) and ready for the big day. Get it all laid out in good time.
You’ll have enough butterflies in your stomach without a digestive upset, so stick with what you know works for you when it comes to food and hydration.
Finally, get the admin organised. Entry fee, race bib, timing chip, gear, transport. It all needs a bit of thought.
Then all you need to do is be there on time, warm up and enjoy the race. And the ultimate achievement.
Feeling motivated? Let’s Hussle.