Are you ready to run a 10k?

Measuring your fitness before a 10k event

If you’ve done your local park run a couple of times you might be thinking that you’d like to step up to the 10k. It’s only natural for some people to be slightly anxious about taking the next running step but if you’re at all worried about making the jump up in distance, you really shouldn't be.

Written by Scott Overall

Scott is a British long distance athlete who represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. His marathon PB is currently 2:10:55.


I have no doubt that if you can get round a 5k you will be able to run a 10k. You just need to make sure you pace yourself and don't be scared by the distance. Your first goal should be to complete the 10k without focusing on how quickly you can run it. If you can walk/run a 5k in less than 40 minutes you will be able to complete a 10k. Ideally you should be able to run 35 minutes non-stop relatively comfortably in order to start 'racing' a 10k.

Depending on the amount of running you’re doing you should start to increase your runs, either in time and/or distance in preparation for the 10k. Set yourself a target to run a 10k in 6-8 weeks’ time, as that will give you ample time to increase your training runs and build on the 5k fitness you already have. After about 4 weeks of increased miles it might be an idea to run a 10k in training, not as a race but just so you can get an idea of the distance.

Hit the local park

A good way to do this would be to do 2 laps of a local park run. That way you can run with people for at least 5k and then carry on and finish the 10k. Remember though it is NOT a 5k race, it is a 10k training run! Don't be tempted to run too fast for the first half, because you need to get a positive experience from just running the distance. Start off nice and conservatively and build into the run. If you’re still feeling good and strong at 7k, then maybe you can start pushing on a little. 

If you don't feel that you are ready to tackle the 10k distance then just stick to the 5k for a little while longer and focus on running those races quicker. Once you’ve got your time down to something that you’re happy with then you can consider stepping up in distance. The faster you can run a 5k the easier a 10k will feel at a slower pace for double the distance.

Don't panic

Don’t panic about the amount of training this will involve. Remember you don’t need to double what you’ve been doing in 5k training in order to run a 10k, because that would lead to over training and tiredness. You just need to increase the runs slowly and focus on running the full 10k distance once a week in training and even then, that can also include the distance you run in warm up and cool down during a session.

You need to be smart and listen to your body. The 10k is one of those distances where pacing is crucial, in fact probably even more so than a 5k. If you go off too fast in a 5k there isn't really that much left to run when you get REALLY tired. However in a 10k there really could be some way to go if you end up hitting the wall before halfway.

If you are still a little hesitant about the 10k distance, you might want to try a 5 mile race (if you can find one). As it’s longer than a 5k and shorter than a 10k it is the perfect stepping stone between the two. Remember, if you can run 10k in training no matter how slowly, you will be able to run a 10k race. The race situation, dedication and pre-race nerves will get you through! Good luck and remember to enjoy it!

Editorial credit: Rob Wilson /

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