Tips and Hints for running 10K

I have realised that lately a lot of people are interested in or want to run a 10K marathon but they are a bit confused on what to do, eat or looking for extra tips and hints have a look below and see if this helps…

Pick your training plan:

You’ll need to decide on the training plan for you. This will depend on how seriously you’re going take the race and how far in advance you’ve been given to train. Annoyingly, unless you’re a regular runner, it can take several weeks to significantly improve your distance running so if your race is in a couple of weeks then getting round will be your main goal. Runner’s World and Cancer Research UK (beginners and advanced) have some good 10k training plans are based on how long you have until race day.


Unlike training for a marathon, 10 kilometres is a distance that you can do at the end of each week that’ll leave you enough time to recover for the following week. Get a few 10k practice runs under your belt and try to discover what sort of times you feel comfortable with. Some may manage to crack the sub-one-hour mark on their first attempt. Others may struggle, but you can save yourself a few surprises by having a go around your local park. Use the Google Maps distance measurement tool or the GMAP Pedometer to map out the 10k and work out some split times based on landmarks on your route. It’ll come in handy come the big day as you’ll know whether to slow down or speed up as you reach each kilometre mark. If you’ve got the wallet, there are plenty of GPS tools you can buy, like the Garmin Forerunner.


It might not be a marathon, but that doesn’t mean that a good bowl of pasta the night before won’t go down a treat on race day. Stock up on carbs, pin your race number to your shirt and plan your route to the start line the night before. The last thing you want is to arrive late at the start line and exhaust yourself getting there or worse still, miss the race!

Pace yourself:

It sounds like simple advice, go steady and you’ll make it all the way round, and it is simple. But the amount of times I’ve been passed in the first mile of a 10k race, only to overtake them by mile 4, is absolutely astonishing. Your aim should be to get the much-heralded negative split time, where you run the second half of the race faster than the first. If it’s your first race you will almost certainly get caught up in the mad rush at the start and launch into a 4-minute K pace. You know your body, so you should know your extremities. The rumours that the crowd will keep you going are only true so far. If you run too fast at the start you’ll struggle at the end and you’ll leave the race feeling disappointed and upset with yourself.


I’ve got the speed but not the endurance


You need to concentrate on spending longer periods on your feet, and specifically longer periods in which you run on tired legs. As well as ensuring that your long weekly run builds up to nine or 10 miles, try combining a warm-up and a 4 x 400m session with a four or five-mile run afterwards, making sure that you’re tired at the end of the speed session, but not exhausted.

Sub-35-minute 10K runners may extend their long runs to 15 or 18 miles, but the rest of us don’t need to cover any more than 10 at a time. You should focus on getting the very most out of a relatively low mileage before thinking about increasing volume.

Incidentally, as well as speed and endurance, there’s one more key quality that will make you a stronger 10K runner: ‘speed endurance’ – a combination of both. If you’re an experienced runner, try this session for size:

Run a pyramid session of 400, 800, 1200, 1600m at or slightly below 10K pace, but don’t jog your three-minute recoveries – do them at around half-marathon pace. If that’s too daunting, then do 200, 400, 600, 800m, but keep the recoveries the same.


I’ve got the endurance but not the speed


The good news is that there’s a guaranteed route to faster times, and it works for every runner. The bad news: it’s called hard work. If you already have endurance under your belt, you now just need to focus on including one or two really good quality sessions in your weekly routine. The schedules in this section include a lot of speedwork, but the two sessions below are particularly good for  beginners who want a very flexible session, and experienced athletes who simply need to get used to running with speed in their legs.

  1. Carrying a marker, such as a handkerchief, run hard for one minute exactly. Drop the marker, then after a two-minute recovery, try to beat your distance by running further on the way back. Repeat four to eight times, or as much as you feel able, and gradually increase the number of repetitions over the weeks to a maximum of 12.
  2. If it’s a long time since you’ve run at a fast pace, start with a session such as 5 x 600m with 400m jog recoveries. Next time, try to work in two 400m efforts instead of one of the 600s, so that you’re integrating some faster leg movement into the session. Take it from there – but don’t neglect the longer 10K-specific sessions either.

If you wish to run a 10K (6.1 miles), then you will have to be smart about your training nutrition. In fact, practicing proper nutrition will play a huge role in your workout intensity and recovery. Learn the right way to fuel your body, and you will have an edge over the competition on race day.

Calorie Intake

Depending on your fitness goals, you may need to increase your caloric intake when training for a 10K race. If you want to keep up your current body weight, then you will need to make up for the calories you burn during exercise. You can about the net number of calories you burn per mile running by using the formula .63 x your weight (in pounds). So, if you run 5 miles per week and weigh 160 pounds, that equals an extra 504 calories you need to consume each week.

Quality Foods

Training for a 10K endurance event demands that you consume nutritious, high-quality foods. After all, if you only eat junk food and processed foods, then you can’t expect to have the required energy for training. Select your foods from fruits, vegetables, lean meats, complex carbohydrates and quality dairy products.

Meal Frequency

You will have to time your meals around your 10K training. Plan to have your meal at least an hour before your scheduled workout. On race day, you want to allow as much as two hours and keep your meal small. Skipping meals before your workout or race will typically leave you feeling depleted and unable to give a solid effort.


A study reported in the NSCA Performance Training Journal found that meals higher in carbohydrates before workouts plus a carbohydrate electrolyte solution during exercise resulted in the longest running time to exhaustion. This was tested against a higher carbohydrate meal before exercise plus water during exercise and a liquid placebo before exercise and water during exercise. Also, avoid foods high in fiber before your workout or race.


After you complete your training workout or 10K race, then get a meal made up mostly of carbohydrates and some protein. The carbohydrates will replenish your body’s glycogen stores for the next workout, while the protein will stimulate muscle protein synthesis. You may not feel like eating right away, but eating sooner than later allows your body to recover properly.


Since most 10K races last about an hour or less, you do not need a sports beverage. However, as mentioned earlier, it could improve performance. If you do not like the taste of energy drinks, then as an alternative, you can use diluted fruit juice. It is critical that you drink before you are thirsty, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and replenish the body with 8 ounces of liquid for each 15 to 20 minutes of workout. The electrolytes you lose during exercise (sodium and potassium) can be replaced through your after training meal or through the sports beverage.


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3 thoughts on “Tips and Hints for running 10K

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  3. Pingback: 5K+ & 3 Months To Go « Chasing The Next Mile Marker

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