Training for a 10k event

Essential tips on running a 10k

Training for a 10k (6.2 mile) event is the logical next step up after doing a 5k, or it could even be the first event you ever do. Either way, it's a manageable distance that can easily be fitted into your life, whatever your current fitness and running levels are. If you want a focal point for your training to help motivate you to get fitter, a 10k race is an ideal target and a genuinely achievable running goal.

Training for a 10k event: Preparing your running plan

Starting from scratch to run a 10k run should not be taken lightly. Everyone will be at a different level of fitness before they start training and your rate of progression will vary considerably depending on your age, gender, current and previous fitness levels and available training time. Before you begin use this great 10k training plan.

Running a 10k event - your guide

Follow these guidelines for when to start your training:

  • If you’re new to running or exercise — the longer you train, the better — but allow at least four months for following a specific 10k running training plan.
  • If you’re already running or carrying out cardiovascular exercise — less than four months preparation is required. However, the longer your lead-in period, the fitter you can get and the easier your race will be. Training for more than four months could help you record a personal best on race day.

Irrespective of whether you have a running background or not, you will be able to achieve your 10k goal if you build up gradually.

Training for a 10k event: Before you begin training

Before you think about training, you should take a little time out to complete the health status checklist below. If you answer YES to one or more questions, or you have any concerns about starting training, then make an appointment with your doctor for a check-up before you begin your training.

Training for a 10k event: Health status safety checklist

1. Are you aged over 30 and or or have not exercised for some time? Y/N
2. Do you suffer from any medical conditions? Y/N
3. Are you a smoker or have recently given up smoking? Y/N
4. Have you undergone any surgery in the past two years? Y/N
5. Are you suffering from any injuries? Y/N
6. Are you currently on any prescribed medication? Y/N
7. Are you unsure about beginning an exercise program? Y/N

Once you have the all-clear from your doctor or are confident that you are sufficiently healthy, you’ll be ready to begin your running training.

Training for a 10k event: What kit do I need for running?

Buying kit can be difficult but running is one of the simplest and cheapest sports and you probably already own most of the gear you’ll need in order to start training. Sports shorts, casual t-shirts, sweatshirts and some sports socks are all you need to get you going. Over time you may wish to add more specialist kit items to your wardrobe, but initially you can get away with the minimum amount of gear. However, one area where you should not skimp is when you’re buying running shoes. Good running shoes are a long-term investment in injury prevention and running comfort, and so it is worthwhile visiting a specialist retailer so that you make the right purchase for your particular gait and training requirements.

Running a 10k event - what kit you need

Training for a 10k event: First steps into running

If you’ve never jogged seriously or gone running before, or if you haven’t done any strenuous exercise for a long time, then you’ll need to ease yourself into training. Your body will take time to adjust to the new demands that you’ll be placing upon it, so start slowly and allow plenty of time for rest and for your body to adapt. Your target is to build up your fitness so that eventually you can comfortably run non-stop at least 80 per cent of the race distance (i.e. 8km or about 5 miles) in training.

Training for a 10k event: Moving up your running training

If you’re already doing some regular aerobic exercise (such as jogging, swimming, rowing, cycling, exercise classes etc.), then you are likely to be relatively fit already and will progress faster. Ensure that you still factor in rest days and build up carefully. Eventually covering 80 per cent of the race distance non-stop in training should be your minimum target — but if you can run further, you will be better prepared and more likely to run a PB on race day.

Training for a 10k event: Eating and drinking during training

Fuelling your running and keeping correctly hydrated is as important as the training itself. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your fluid levels topped up, and make sure you carry a lightweight drinks bottle when running — particularly on hot days. For your nutrition, focus on slow release energy foods such as pasta and rice, which will ensure that you don’t run out of energy part way through your run.

Training for a 10k event: 10k success is just around the corner

From non-runner to 10k finisher in just 16 weeks (or quicker) is always a real success story, and one that is genuinely achievable by following a correctly structured training plan. Preparing, training for and completing a 10k event is a great accomplishment, and is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. And as well as achieving your goal, there is a great spin-off benefit too: improved health and fitness. So, why not start training for a 10k today?

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