So you’ve decided to run a 10K? Many people choose the 10K as their first long distance run as it’s possible to train for the event over the course of a few months and can be a natural stepping stone to longer races. Alternatively, you might just be interested in challenging yourself to do something that you have never attempted before. Either way, here are some great tips for how to prepare for your first 10K run.
Commit to training early
Even if you’re in good shape you shouldn’t take running lightly. Too many first time runners think that it will be fine to go jogging for a couple of weeks before the event and just rely on their natural fitness on the day. The truth is that your body takes time to get used to a new form of exercise, and you’ll be working out muscles that might not usually get a lot of activity.
So set yourself up with a plan to start your training for the run several months before. Then if you get any setbacks with injuries or missed weeks you can catch up and be in good running shape for the event.
Get the right gear
You might think that it’s fine to just pull on your sports trainers for your 10K run. The truth is that you need to invest a good pair of proper running shoes. Specialist shoes are the best way to avoid blisters and other issues with your feet during the run. It can also be a smart idea to buy some proper running clothes as well. Companies like Sports Fitness stock a great range of lightweight tops and shorts for optimal comfort while you are running.
Enlist a friend
If this is your time running in an event it can be a great idea to bring someone along. If you’ve got a friend who is a regular runner, they could be perfect, but a beginner is just as good. Having an extra person to motivate you for training sessions can really make a lot of difference. And you’re also much less likely to back out of doing the run if you know that someone else is depending on you to run with them.
If you don’t know anyone who is interested in doing a 10K you could look for running or jogging groups in your local area. These can be just as effective as a way to push on with your training.
Don’t expect too much too soon
Some first-time runners go into their 10K with expectations that are simply too high. If you’ve never tried to run flat out for an hour or more, you won’t know how to pace yourself properly. 10K might not sound like a long distance but you might find that it’s actually far more exhausting than you imagined. Don’t be downhearted – running takes a lot of getting used, especially over longer distances. Your first 10K is just the start of your journey.
Find your soundtrack
Many people like to run to music. The tunes that you choose are completely down to you, but it’s definitely recommended that you should try a few different styles to see what works best with your running pace. Very fast music can encourage you to run faster but this can also be a way to burn yourself out early in the run. Experiment with different artists and genres to find out what might suit you, it may be the case that it’s not the sort of stuff you would usually listen to.
Run at your pace and no-one else’s
This point resonates with a couple of issues that we have already raised. You need to find a comfortable running pace that allows you to complete the race in a good time and doesn’t leave you on the verge of collapsing after 20 minutes. It should be stressed that a good running pace is different for everyone, so even if you and your friend both started training at the same time, you shouldn’t feel that you need to stay at their pace.
This is especially important on the big day; don’t get caught up watching other runners zooming ahead of you and feeling that you need to match them. Your first 10K is not a race and the only person you should be competing with is yourself.
Nutrition is important so if you want to get the most out of your run, you need to incorporate a healthy eating regime. Almost anyone could stand to eat better than they do, so why not challenge yourself in the months leading up to the run? Set a strict diet based around lean protein, vegetables and fruit. Also, when you’re coming close to the day of the event you should plan what you’re going to eat carefully to ensure you’ve got plenty of energy and feel great for the whole 10K.
This article was written by Dakota Murphey.