Running your first 10k
You have just decided to run your first 10k, but where do you start? Like everything, preparation is KEY. Regardless if you are running on a competitive level or not, do not underestimate the amount of preparation you will need. Below we are going to walk you through recommended steps to take when participating in a 10k.
Get a check-up
Whether or not you have previously taken part in a 10k, it is a good idea to get a general check-up from your doctor. Our bodies are constantly changing and regardless if you are taking part in a 10k or not, we should all be going for regular check-ups. Once you get the green light you are ready to start.
Choosing an event
When signing up, make sure it’s the right event for you. Take the location, climate, and course into consideration. This is an important decision and you must feel comfortable about the race. Once you are signed up you have made that commitment. To avoid backing out tell friends and family.
It is recommended to run at least 3 times a week when in preparation for a 10k. This allows your body to build up endurance and get accustomed to the running distance. Two short runs (30 mins) and a long run would be preferable. Slowly build on this as you start to beat your personal best times. Continue adding distance until you reach 1ok. You should build your endurance up enough to run a minimum of 20 miles (32km) per week.
Every other day should be used as a rest day, don’t over exercise and overwork your muscles. This can lead to injuries and a possible fold in the race. Your body requires rest to allow your muscles to recover from previous training sessions.
The further your distance the slower your pace. Be realistic with goals and times you set yourself. Your 10k time will not be double your 5k. The further you run the slower your pace, adding time to your overall time. When drawing up a training plan take this into consideration, allow yourself time for improvement and don’t get disheartened.
Your diet plays a major part in your preparation. Everybody needs fuel in their body to function on a daily basis. When it comes to preparation for a 10k you must have a healthy, balanced diet.
Start by increasing your intake of calories, cardio is one of the fastest ways to burn calories in our bodies. We need to maintain a healthy weight while having sufficient calories for training. For every mile you run, you will burn approximately 100 calories. This is why a healthy balanced diet is crucial for the preparation of a 10k. Your diet should consist of, plenty of carbohydrates, protein, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats.
Build yourself up for the big day, test yourself at a local 5k if possible, 1 month prior to your big race. Gage your fitness levels from this race. Work out what preparation you need to complete your 10k, work more on long distance, recovery, muscles, etc. Fine tune your technique and nutrition before the big race.
Eat before the Race
Eating before your race is essential, your body will need these nutrients to get through the 10k. To avoid stomach cramps and stitches stay away from foods that are high in fiber, fat and protein. Stick to high carb foods, eg. Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, peanut butter and banana sandwich, energy bar, small bowl of cereal.
This is not a sprint, take your time, find a pace you are comfortable with and stick to it. When you are on the home stretch then you can push and give it your all.
Make good use of the water stations, although you may feel this is slowing you down they are essential. You will need to stay hydrated throughout the race and this is the best way to do so.
Avoid Blisters and skin chaffing
If this is your first 10k you may not have experienced chaffing or blisters before while running. With a 10k in mind you more than likely will experience one or the other, if not both. There are ways to avoid this, apply vaseline to sensitive skin or where chaffing may occur, wear the correct running gear, wear a synthetic blend pair of socks (not cotton) and finally make sure your running shoes fit correctly.
Top tips from our experts
Steven Mc Donnell’s Top Tip:
My top tip for a 10K is to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Inappropriate footwear especially can lead to long term injuries such as ruptured Achilles, Shin splints, Hamstring and lower back injuries. Invest in a pair of trainers specially designed for road running as this will go a long way in preventing injuries.
Conor Mc Manus Top Tip:
Enjoy it and achieve a sense of fulfillment on completion of the 10K. Too often people get uptight about preparation and fail to remember the real reason why you are completing the 10K. Run with a smile on your face, embrace the race and this way you will gain more satisfaction.