If you want to run a 10K race, start slowly and get the right help.
It’s that time of year again – when thousands of runners bravely take to the streets in search of PBs, weight-loss, or just the resolution to try a race for the first time. If weight-loss is a primary goal, keep in mind that running is NOT the fast-track to fat-loss that many people assume it to be. Weight training and HIIT will get you leaner and healthier much quicker, but being part of the running community and setting a 10K as a goal can have other great benefits. Here’s a sensible way to run your first 10K if you’re a beginner.
If you’re new to running, it’s best to progress your mileage slowly to avoid injury. About 10% per week is the accepted figure, so if you run 10K your first week (divided into 2-3 runs), you’d complete 11K the next week and then just over 12K your next week.
Check out this link from Runner’s World if you want to read further about this concept: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/10-percent-rule
Starting off by running every day for 5K is a fast way to injury and/or burnout. Be patient and let your muscles, joints, and ligaments get accustomed to the new activity.
GET A GPS WATCH
Sure, you might want to do some of your running on the treadmill, but if you want your race to be less traumatic it’s best to do outdoor running as well. Specificity of training is important – the closer you replicate your race situation the better.
A running watch (Garmin, Timex, and Polar make popular models) allows you to not only measure your distance, but also the pace that you’re running at. You want to be familiar with how fast you’re regularly able to run so you don’t burn out in the first 2K of your race, a common problem for newbies.
THE RUN-WALK SYSTEM
This is a method of training that allows you to build your confidence to a greater distance. Let’s assume that you can only run for about 20 minutes or so (at a slow pace) before you decide to call it a day and get back to another episode of The Amazing Race.
In order to increase the distance you’re able to run, you could run at your usual pace for 5 minutes, walk for 2min, and run again for 5 minutes. While you’re walking, your heart rate and muscles will partially recover and you’ll be ready to go again. You’ll probably find that you can run 30min instead of your usual 20. As you progress with the system you can increase your running time and decrease your walk time, or you can increase the speed of your runs and walk. Do everything gradually and you’ll progress without injury.
YOUR FIRST TIME
Get some guidance from an experienced runner or two before the big day. The Running Room (http://www.runningroom.com/hm/) has weekly running groups if you’re the type that likes to do your training socially. It’s nice to run occasionally with another friend who is also running his/her first race, but “blind leading the blind” training can only get you so far.
Seek out experienced runners and professional coaches to guide you and you’ll have a more successful race. I hope you enjoy running your first 10K. If you need any guidance along the way, you know where to find me. 🙂