10km is a tricky distance. If you’ve done quite a few 5kms then a 10km doesn’t sound too difficult. You think it’s double the distance, but still short, so you should be able to back off your 5km speed a little bit and be able to get around the course in a decent time. But a 10km requires endurance, speed and mental toughness. To do well you need a well-structured training plan.
Here are 10 tips:
1. Have a clear goal. Once you have this then it’s easy to put a plan together. It doesn’t matter if you are looking at a time, just completing it without walking, or want a PB – make sure that you write your goal down.
2. Have a big aerobic base. Without this there’s not much point in improving your speed. You need this base to take you through most of the race, and so that your body can handle the mileage ahead.
3. Do intervals. Once you have a good base add in interval training. These can be fartlek, tempo, traditional time/distance splits. It doesn’t matter – just add them in once per week to start improving your speed.
4. Hills. If your 10km will have elevation, then make sure that you get some hill work in. If it doesn’t then hills are still beneficial; if you sprint up them, eg. for 30s, then jog back down (x8), that’s a great way to get a quick interval session in and work on your speed. Additionally, powering through hill sessions helps with your mental resilience.
5. Strength train. A stronger body is tougher to brake down, so you’re less likely to get injuries. It also helps you to produce more power, so you can run faster. I’m not talking yoga here – but getting in a gym and lifting some weights.
6. Speed endurance. Running intervals that are longer, just below maximum effort will help you learn how to deal with the lactate acid build-up (physically and mentally). This is very useful in the later stages of a 10km race. Add these sessions in once per week.
7. Recovery. Alternate your training days so that there are never 2 hard days in a row. Ideally have 2 easy days between each hard day. If you don’t recover then you’ll burn out.
8. Consistency. Once you have a plan in place, follow it. Think you should change it up as there’s a better plan out there? Don’t. Stick to your plan and see it through. Equally, missing a day as a one-off isn’t ideal, but ensure that that doesn’t become 2 days. Stick to your plan.
9. Mental preparation. Visualise the race and practice positive self-talk. Too often we turn to the negative, but practice what you’ll say to yourself when the going gets tough to help you finish the race strongly.
10. Race strategy. Linking this to visualisation, know what your targets are throughout the race: When will you push? When will you take on fluid or a gel? How long before the race will you eat? Plan it all out and practice it.
Follow these tips and see yourself crush your next 10km race. If you find some of it a bit overwhelming, or you just want further guidance on it, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help.