I've just signed up for my very first 10k and I don't know where to start with training?
Thinking about a training plan that suits you is a good place to start. Think fitness, preparation and tactics. Under and over-training can bring problems, so build up gradually, even if it involves splitting between walking and running at first.
Forget about speed, timings or what fellow runners might manage. That comes later. Consider trying between 3k and 5k twice a week at first, and when you feel ready, increase the distance. If you feel like giving up, think positive. Split practise runs into sections to check your progress, pace yourself and increase confidence.
Visualising crossing the finish line on race day may help, as will thinking of potential sponsors or charities that could benefit. It may seem obvious, but ensure you’ve tackled a full 10k before the big day. That way, psychologically you'll know you can hit 10k if you've managed 12k or more.
Try running at different paces, and tackle different terrains. Uphill stints help with stamina, and try interval, cross and circuit training too. Also, remember it’s not all about running, cycling builds your quads and calves without pounding pavements. The same goes for swimming.
Once you’ve got a few weeks into your training, you’ll have a sense of what you want to achieve on the day and how you'll implement that. If you find you're quite comfortable with the distance and have got a time in mind, you’ll need to work out how you can increase your speed before race day. If you’re still working up to a 10k distance, don’t panic, remember speed doesn’t matter, keep upping your distance gradually and you’ll be able to hit 10k on the day.
Avoid going too far, too fast, too soon - target gradual progress instead. Joining a running group may help, taking advice and support from those who have been there. Above all, convince yourself it will all be worth it in the end. A real sense of achievement awaits. And remember to have fun along the way.
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