How to Go From a 5K to a 10K

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Step up your training to run your first 10K.


You just finished running a 5K race, and your mind and body are filled with excitement and exhaustion. As you recover from the thrill of running your first race, you might start thinking of your next challenge. For most runners, that is running a 10K, a race that covers 6.2 miles. At first, increasing the distance to more than 6 miles can seem impossible, but with proper training, you can enjoy every step of a 10K race.

Set your fitness and 10K goals. For example, you may want to lose 5 lbs. during the training program, or you might want to complete the race in less than 60 minutes. Your goals will help to determine the intensity and other details of the training program.

Determine a training regimen that matches your personal schedule. Every schedule will be different, as each runner has different requirements. If you are only available for three days during the week, plan for three running workouts. The schedule will keep you committed as you see progress leading up to race day.

Warm up with light stretching and walking before every training run. The warm-up should last about 10 to 15 minutes and will decrease the potential for injuries.

Increase the total mileage gradually as you progress through the training program. Jeff Galloway, former Olympics endurance runner and professional running coach, suggests training for about 13 weeks for a 10K. For example, gradually build the time and distance you spend running until you’re running 7 miles in a session by week 10. Then, gradually taper down the total mileage until race day.

Cross Training & Nutrition

Perform cross-training workouts two to three days per week to improve your overall fitness level. You can use strength training, cycling, swimming or rowing as effective cross-training tools.

Eat a balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. A proper diet provides the nutrients required for energy during workouts and recovery afterward.

Listen to your body and adjust the training schedule accordingly. A little soreness or a few aches are OK, but take an extra rest day if you feel pain or experience unusual swelling. Adequate sleep and nutrition are essential for staying healthy as you train for a 10K.

Discuss your exercise and diet plans with your doctor, who can give you a clean bill of health to run a 10K and also make specific recommendations regarding training and nutrition.

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