BEN’S ZONE: Getting Ready To Run Your First 10k

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Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂

Getting Ready To Run Your First 10k

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10k is a typical length of a weekend training run for me now that I run regularly however, I remember when I started it seemed like a near impossible distance. It’s a common distance for people to sign up for who may be new to running or who have not really run at all before. It represents a really good stretch goal without the super levels of training that’s required for a marathon. It might be relatively routine for me now, but when I started running it was a genuinely a daunting distance. This week I thought I’d share my thoughts on how to train and prepare effectively for your first 10k run.

First up, start training early, the longer you train for, the more ready you’ll feel on the day, certainly don’t leave it until the last minute. Start with a small, achievable distance and increase in small increments. Try and get to the speed you want and then start pushing this over distance. When I started training for Tough Guy I was so frightened of the distance itself (15k) that I just went out and hammered that as early as I could. The net effect was I got good at doing 15k slowly, which let me down on race day. Up the distance slowly and try and retain your speed. If you find you pick up an injury, take enough time out of training to recover and remember that £30 spent on physio can be well worth the money. Make sure that you recover from training properly using proper stretching and foam rolling. Not only will this lessen the aches and pains, it’ll increase performance when you train.

Common wisdom is to train to just under race distance aiming to get there just before race day. I disagree with this. With a new distance, psychologically I need to know I can cover it, so I am to hit race distance a couple of weeks before the race so that I have done it at least once. What I would say is that I stop training 3 -7 days before a race (dependent on the distance) so that my body is really well rested for race day.

On the days leading up to race day I like to eat well but clean. I avoid anything processed but I do make sure I am not dieting. I find that packing in the green veg also helps, it may only be a psychological advantage, but it helps me to know I am fuelling my body with good things. I don’t drink alcohol but even if I did I would not do so in my pre-race phase.

On race day I like to have a good breakfast of either porridge or weetabix. Something non-sugary that’s going to keep me stoked up. If it’s a long race it might be worth considering a running belt and some energy gels. I am in two minds about energy gels, I have had some before that have given a boost just when I needed it (Clif are good) but I’ve also had gels that have had caffeine in that have left me feeling quite flaky afterwards. I would suggest testing any gels on a training run before using on race day.

In general, don’t bring new kit to a race, it’s not the time to break in a new pair of shoes, run in kit you know well and are confident in. Make sure that you have a good selection of kit with you on the day. A quick change of weather can make a big difference on what you run in and remember, the kit should allow you to be comfortable during the race day.

Most of all, keep in mind that the race is going to be fun! Running with others is an experience full of camaraderie, if there are bad vibes then you’re in the wrong race. It’s what you have trained for and a chance to prove how hard you’ve worked. A bit of fear is fine, that adrenalin will give you the extra on race day, it’s totally normal, roll with it. Enjoy.

13 thoughts on “BEN’S ZONE: Getting Ready To Run Your First 10k”

  1. Thanks Robyn, I would tend to agree with that, you can hit a nice pace and get a good run on but it doesn’t take all weekend and you don’t have to sacrifice your life to train for it. It’s my favorite distance too!

  2. I love the 10k distance and like you it’s a bit of a regular but I remember thinking I would never get to that distance! – my dad and I do 10k series through the summer and it’s a long enough distance to get a good workout but short enough that you don’t need extensive recovery! – Thanks for sharing your tips! #MeMyselfandI

  3. Totally agree – Clif products are awesome. Their jelly sweets are delicious and totally pump me up for a run. Doubt I will ever get to a 10k, having said that, I never thought I would run a 5k and I smashed that this year! Here’s to the next challenge for 2016! Sim #MeMyselfandI #WeightLossWednesday x

  4. You never know Sims, this time last year I was training for my first obstacle race and not even sure if I would be able to run the distance. In my last race a few weeks back I was 10th in my wave and 13th overall (albeit a smaller and more local one). As long as you’re running and enjoying it, that is the absolute most important thing.

    @Charlotte, you’re right, 10k seems like a perfect balance, from time to time I think ‘a marathon or short ultra might be fun’ but when I examine it, it’s just ego talking and with the job and the kids I probably don’t have time to train properly anyway (without missing even more precious sleep)

  5. I think it’s a great idea to run the full distance a couple weeks before! Great point on the healthy eating but not dieting & resting beforehand. I haven’t run in awhile, but I used to love it. Running a 10k is a huge accomplishment!!

    • You can’t exercise if there’s no fuel in the tank. I’m a firm believer in eating sensibly and that includes making sure I have eaten properly before any kind of race. I don’t tend to have a lot of carbs but pre-race is one time I make an exception. The beauty of running is you can start again when you want to!

  6. I like to run the full distance beforehand too – I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to do something I’ve said I would!!! Although I’ve done a half-marathon I like 10k as the training is just more workable with a family life – and if you want to do other exercise (I miss BodyCombat and Pump too much if I just run). #memyselfandI

    • It was exactly that Vanessa. I had agreed to do Tough Guy with a friend and a few months before it seemed like a really good idea. With a month to go, including Christmas, the fear began to set in, most of all that I would not finish. Knowing I could cover that distance was a big help to me on race day as it allowed me to be scared about a myriad other things!

  7. Great tips!! I run 10km & half marathons and couldn’t agree more with what you said. I think it’s important to prepare your body before hand and eat well in the run up to the run. But most of all enjoy it! #memyselfandi

    • Definitely, if you view it like a chore or get too scared it just becomes onerous.

      I’m still learning about optimum nutrition, getting that in hand is a goal for 2016


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