Unlike the marathon distance, training for a 10K doesn’t usually take 12 to 18 weeks to train for. Phew! You can still manage your social, work and family life while training for 6.2 miles.
While some plans have you run various distances each day, sprinkled with a core workout here and there, Leah Goldstein, professional cyclists and duathlon athlete, author of No Limits and endurance coach, understands both the mental and physical challenges people face when training for any distance race. “The biggest challenge is to make training fun and not get board,” says Goldstein.
Regardless of your distance, it’s important to find a few activities that you enjoy doing to add in as a cross-training day. “If you’re big on cycling, use that as an active recovery day. Or try boxing, which gets your heart rate up—and it’s fun,” adds Goldstein.
Key components of a training program are to help you build speed, work up to your distance, and have fun to avoid burn-out. Here’s five tips:
- Cross training will keep the boredom at bay.
- Make it seasonal. You don’t want to do hill work all year long. Mix it up by doing hill work to enjoy the outdoors, hop on a trainer to spin out your legs, or try kickboxing, which works your cardio.
- Reward yourself. Choose races in destinations that you’ve wanted to travel to and make it a mini vacation.
- Find a running buddy. Sometimes it’s cold and raining outside, which makes you want to skip a workout. A running partner can help keep you on track.
- Surround yourself with people who can support you, like group runs, it makes it more exciting and people will cheer you on.
10K training program with cross-training
“This is an example of one of my plans for a 50-year-old woman I helped train for a 10K,” Goldstein says.
Monday: interval training on a 400m track
Warm-up: 3 to 4 laps
Workout: 4 x 1000 meters (1K) about 20 sec faster than goal race pace
Shorter version: 4 x 400m
Cool-down: 2K easy
Suggestion: Ride a bike at a high speed to flush out the legs.
Wednesday: trial 10K
Workout: Run comfortable up to 10K distance with similar terrain as race day. Test out your fuel and wear your gear to avoid any race-day mishaps.
Thursday: active recovery day
Suggestions: Swim easy, bike easy, take a yoga class, stretch
Friday: interval training on trails
Workout: 8K run with hills. Take it easy on the downhill portions.
Saturday: long-distance day
Workout: Run long 10-15 seconds slower than goal race pace
Suggestions: Give your legs a break. Stretch, foam roll or get a massage.