October 6, 2015

How To Train 10k

By Marek

How To Train 10k!

You’ve probably seen many programs on how to train 10k. Each runner has an individual approach and it is very likely that some of these programs will appeal and suit you, whilst others will not work. I take a slightly different approach. how to train 10kI prefer not to go with any running programs. How to train? 10k and other distances can be achieved by regular running. However, what results you will achieve are a different matter.

Endurance Building

Last year I wrote a post on this very subject, reflecting on how I managed to improve my previous time – How To Train For 10k Race. At the time, my philosophy was to build endurance by running distances greater than the distance you intend to race in. Hence, when thinking on how to train 10k, you would need to regularly run 8 – 10 miles (12 – 15km). That way, the runner builds endurance and confidence. It results in being able to run quicker because of having the awareness that one can comfortably complete the 10k distance, hence, speeding up and putting extra effort is possible. Similar would apply for shorter distances. If you would like to improve your time for a 5k, regularly run 25% to 50% farther.

With Age Comes Wisdom

Well, that may not be exactly the case. More like, with experience you can experiment a little more. And I like to experiment. Not all planned, mind you. This time around, I have set myself a goal – to break the 40 minute for a 10k run. How to train 10k with a 40 minute goal in mind? The plan was to put in high mileage for 6 to 8 weeks prior to the race, include interval training (I have recently found a proper track) and do extra exercises. That was the plan. how to train 10kIt even worked (partially) until about 4 weeks before the race. I ran nearly 200 miles, started doing a few planks and pushups and knocked in one or two quicker intervals. However, all of a sudden, I decided to have a little break. In nearly 3 years of running, the longest time I have had from it was 3 days. This time, I had one spell of 6 days where I did not go for a run. I thought that this was enough rest, however, it was very difficult to get back into rhythm. Eventually, I ended up running only 9 times in 4 weeks prior to the race. So how to train 10k when you are not even training?

Rest and Recovery

Both rest and recovery are really the same thing when it comes to running. You recover whilst resting. How wise is it to rest for such a long period in the run up to the race, especially when trying to set a personal best time? I will not hold you in suspense any longer. I managed to run the race in 39:55! How is it possible – limited training, lots of rest and a personal best? To be honest, I do not know. What I can do however, is pass on what I have observed as a result.

how to train 10k

How To Train 10k To Run a Personal Best

Here are a few observations from my training which led to running 10k under 40 minutes, or lack of it.

Long rest is great for the legs!
Yes, when running my personal best 10k in under 40 minutes, I noticed that my legs were well rested and no great effort was necessary – physically to have them move at an increased speed.

With long rest, endurance diminishes!
Yes, there are setbacks. The legs may have been moving, but the breathing was much heavier. Also, I am used to running negative splits and in the previous year, I was able to finish the same 10k race with the fastest 1km being the last one. This time though, I was not impressed with my last stretch and did not have the last minute push to rely on.

Recovery takes longer!
I am not 100% sure this is exactly correct, but I noticed that it took slightly longer for my muscles to flush out all the toxins. Usually an intense 10k requires a day or two to recover but this time I could still feel my calves 3 days after the race.

To sum things up. In order to run a fast 10k, stick to the following:
Run longer distances to build confidence and endurance.
Rest before the big event, but don’t do it for longer than 2-3 weeks (and by rest, I mean reduce running activity but do not stop).
Include some fast runs (2 weeks prior to the race, I ran a personal best 5k).
Learn from your experiences and experiment with different training methods.
Have fun!

How to train 10k – you tell me! I am willing to try new things to improve my running times!