10k Preparation
August 30, 2008 11:31 AM   Subscribe

I just signed up for a 10k on October 12th and I'm trying to figure out whether or not I'm going to be ready to do it.

I started running about 4 or 5 weeks ago, doing a 2.7 mile loop in about 30-40 minutes (running and lots of walking). Lately I've been doing the Couch to 5k plan, (I'm on Week 4 right now). I'm able to keep up with Ct5k (although today's run kicked my ass), and in the span of about 30 minutes of alternating running and walking, I did probably 2 miles. So, I'm not running very fast, but that's obviously not my primary concern.

What is going to be my best plan for getting ready for the 10k in October? I'm planning on finishing out the Ct5k in the next 4 weeks, and then in the remaining 3 doing some longer runs. But I'm worried that piling on the extra mileage at the end is not going to get me ready in enough time.

Other details: I'm 21, male, and about 20 pounds overweight. I stretch before I run and have good-fitting shoes, but I want to make sure to be kind to my knees in all of this. As I said above, I'm not really concerned with doing the 10k at any particular speed; I just want to get through it and have a good time.
posted by rossination to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used Hal Higdon to train for a half marathon with great results, check out his 10k page and compare the different levels with what you're already doing and how many weeks you have to train.
posted by Science! at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

You stretch? Good. Stretch some more. Stretch again. Then run. Then stretch. Then stretch some more.
posted by GPF at 12:14 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: Have a look at www.runnersworld.co.uk (or .com) they have a lot of training plans.

I just stepped up my long runs by a half mile per week when I did mine. Also you only really need to be able to run 5 miles to do a 6 mile race - the adrenalin takes over and helps you on the last mile!

So working back from Oct 12 and counting your long run on a Sunday, you can do

Sep 07 - 3 miles
Sep 14 - 3.5 miles
Sep 21 - 4 miles
Sep 28 - 4.5 miles
Oct 5 - 5 miles

It doesn't matter how slowly you go. If you need to stop and walk, do so.

Do a short run (2 miles) on the Tuesday and a 3 miler with some faster bursts in on the Thursday.

I did a bit less than tha for my first one (I did do sessions on my elliptical trainer and walking to work for 45 mins twice a week) and I started off 2 years ago as a 34 year old female 28 lbs overweight.

If I could do it, and I can now run 8 miles in one go in about an hour and a half - and am training for a half-marathon!

Unless you have a pre-existing knee problem, the running-knees thing is a myth - more non-runners get knee probs than runners. It's just the more common injury. If you have good shoes and you had your gait analysed to get them, and you concentrate on a good technique, you should be fine.

Good luck! Email me if you want any tips on the mental side of things etc etc. From a non-professional "runner"...
posted by LyzzyBee at 12:20 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you truly want to have a good time, don't strain yourself. If you want to be first across the line, think again. Go your own pace. Think of it more as exercise and motivation rather than a race. If you're last, so what?
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2008

What's your goal here? Just to finish your first 10k? To run the whole time? Finish under 1:30?

If it's just to finish, then yeah, you'll be able to do it. Use the Hal Higdon plan linked above (I've used other Higdon plans with success), and don't be afraid to walk when you need to.

Whatever you do, don't push yourself too hard too soon. You'll soon get to a point where you feel like you can run 10 miles, and sure, you could finish a slow 10 mile run, but you'll pay for that with some crazy pain in a weird place a week later, and then you'll get burned out on running and not put your shoes on for 7 weeks. That's three steps backwards, not one step forwards. Find a plan that seems tailored to your level (novice) and stick to it, never skipping ahead, and you'll be fine.

Be careful, it's very addictive.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:09 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it, you have enough time to get up to a 10k as long as you stay injury free. Depending on what the 10k is, they can be very intimidating. If there are experienced runners, they could well start out with a sub 6 minute mile pace. If you're even remotely competitive in sports, find someone else who runs at roughly your pace and run with them, and agree not to egg each other on. I guarantee you that if you start out at a 6 minute mile pace, you'll be walking by mile 2.

Another more general thing - races are meant to push people, and by far the hardest part of racing is the mental willingness to push your body past what it is comfortable doing. It might not hurt to mix in a few short stretches of harder running (once you're completely warmed up and are feeling good) to just get used to how long you can comfortably run at faster speeds before you fade. You can use that in a race to figure out how hard you want to run (keeping in mind that racing usually adds a decent adrenaline boost, and racing is definitely an acquired skill). But I agree with the posters above, if you're really focused on this 10k, you should take it slow until then to make sure you're healthy and not hurting for it.
posted by devilsbrigade at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2008

Courtesy of Mrs Meta the Marathon Runner:

Well, it may come down to how much you care about finishing with dignity. If you don't care about walking the last few, you can finish for sure.

If you haven't been having problems like shin splints or joint pains, and you're doing OK on a 5k, you could probably just try to do 4 miles the next week, then 5 the next. If you start getting sore just lay back.

I think in general you shouldn't add more than 20% at a time when adding on mileage, but I would focus not on distance, but on trying to run continuously for a longer amount of time (or at least run/walk consistently for a longer time). If you can run/walk at a steady rate for an hour, you're ready for a 10k. When you're starting out, it's better to keep running -- even really slowly -- then to stop frequently.

posted by meta_eli at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2008

You've toughened yourself up with a good number of miles and haven't hurt anything... Will you meet your goal of simply finishing? Hell yeah! You're already in fine condition for it. Humans are a lot tougher than we tend to give ourselves credit for. The only question now, is how hard you push yourself during the adrenaliney race, which is directly related to how much you will hurt afterward. And that's up to you. But this is why they make hot baths and ibuprofen.
posted by oceanmorning at 10:53 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: Stretching before you run? Don't bother.
Conclusions: Stretching before or after exercising does not confer protection from muscle soreness. Stretching before exercising does not seem to confer a practically useful reduction in the risk of injury, but the generality of this finding needs testing. Insufficient research has been done with which to determine the effects of stretching on sporting performance.

However, I do suggest you warm up with walking/easy running before you really get going.

Check the course elevation chart. If it's a lot more hilly or flat than you're currently running, try finding a course that is closer to the event course.

Remember to give yourself a backdown week before the event. Run short mileage the week before the event and only do light, easy runs in the days before the 10K. It's really important to go into your event well rested.

Sep 07 - 3.5 miles (+.75 miles)
Sep 14 - 4 miles (+.5 miles)
Sep 21 - 4.5 miles (+.5 miles)
Sep 28 - 5 miles (+.5 miles)
Oct 5 - 3 miles (backdown)

Also when you run/walk, set times for the run/walk segments. You can start with Run (3 minutes)/ Walk (2 minutes) or wherever you are fitnesswise. If you walk whenever it gets tough you won't build your endurance. I do marathons and use at 10/1. Don't feel awkward if you need to walk.

On event day, don't feel bullied into running faster or longer than normal. If you've trained at a 14 minute mile of 5 minutes running / 2 walking, then you do that. Every. Single. Mile. I can't tell you the number of people I've passed late in the race because they burned themselves out going too fast early.

You've got plenty of time for this 10k. Come back and tell us how well you did.
posted by 26.2 at 3:49 PM on September 1, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice! I ran/walked 9.1k yesterday, and I did it in 1'21", but I was sore today when I went out for a 20 minute walk (I probably pushed myself too hard). I'll keep working up slowly and will post back after the race.
posted by rossination at 12:32 AM on September 2, 2008

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