2.5 km to 10km in a month?
April 25, 2013 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Hello. I am signed up to run the Manchester 10 k on 26 May. I have never run any kind of race in my life before, and am REALLY „not sporty“ though I am used to hiking/cycling. I have not, to put it mildly, trained as much as I should. By now I can jog for 2.5 – 3 km in half an hour, and have mostly „trained“ on the treadmill rather than outdoors (I strained a muscle running outdoors and feel like it’s my muscles and joints that are most struggling with the running rather than anything „cardio“ related as such. So my actual question: is it still possible to get myself into a condition where I can get round the route without walking it and without injuring myself (too badly) in the remaining time?

More specifications: I DO NOT care what time I take to do the 10k so long as I am back before the stewards pack up and I can collect my charity sponsorship money. (Friends are also running, but they are better.) I will do whatever necessary to not have to give up on this.

I am looking ideally for a training plan that fits my situation: able to jog for half an hour, aiming at slow and steady NOT SPEED and "just getting round", 30 days to go! Most of the plans and guidelines I have found online, are apart from being set up for a longer period, start from absolute scratch or aim at attaining the best possible speed.

I have properly fitted trainers and running kit, access to a gym, a pool, a bike, lots of nutrition advice etc and the great outdoors, and an MP3 player but no smartphone or other portable gadgets. I stretch tonnes.
So if anyone has advice or a rough training plan, or suggestions of where best to look for these online, I would be really grateful.
posted by runincircles to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (technically eponysterical but not really)
posted by runincircles at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You may not be able to run the entire 10k, but there are plenty of people in races who walk some or even all of the route. Keep up your training schedule, and then on race day, I would focus on running intervals spaced with walking rather than exhausting yourself out of the gate running as far as you can at once. Just have fun and do the best you can!
posted by something something at 7:37 AM on April 25, 2013

Google: Jeff Galloway, Couch to 5k, Bridge to 10k. You only have a month, but if you can already jog 3k, you can run/walk 10k in a month. Just start with the walk breaks from the beginning.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:38 AM on April 25, 2013

I'd highly recommend spending to join Up & Running, a UK-based online training program and forum (you have to pay for it). My wife joined it and I've been very impressed. I've done, alongside her, their half marathon programme. It is female-focused and the training program works for tortoises and hares because the baselines it uses are your baselines - slow, mid and fast pace are relative to you.

Yes, it is totally doable if you can run 3km now. But it will feel a bit like hard work if you've never done the distance before. The trick is to get yourself up to comfortable 5k distance in the next 10 days and then extend your runs, with walking breaks if you want them. You'll need to commit now to around 3 runs a week, of which one will be hard/long or both relative to the week before.

There is a certain mythology around any longer distance if you haven't done it before. Some of it is physical - running for around an hour is a long time and your body has to get used to it. But some of it is mental, too.

For reference: I am a not very fit bloke who tends to do one one 10k a year, only did two light jogs last year and this year went from 0-20km in 6 weeks after the holidays. Having done a 10k, I now find that even if I wheeze my way round I can normally train up in 3 weeks. The being able to do it now has little relation to my fitness because I know I can huff and puff my way round the distance. At least for 10k, the mental bit is cracked. But at the start of those three weeks, 5k feels like a very long way.

Top tips: buy some decent socks. You might find yourself getting the odd blister when your runs get longer. Also, if you haven't got decent running shoes then buy some. Go to a running store and get a proper fitting.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2013

I am a longtime runner, and to be honest, it sounds like quite an increase in a short period of time.

"They" recommend not increasing your running distance by more than 10% per week. So if you are currently running 12 km in a week, you could safely be up to 17.5 km after four weeks. The standard is also to have your longest run be around 1/3 to no more than 1/2 of your total weekly distance. Adding to this, the fact that you are training on a treadmill and having possible injury issues with running outside - please be conservative and do not try to run the entire race.
posted by payoto at 7:49 AM on April 25, 2013

I am not an expert running coach, but here's my take:

Your goal is ambitious - the amount of time you've left yourself to train is less than ideal. However, I think you can do it!

There's a rule of thumb out there that says whatever distance you can run comfortably (meaning you're not in pain/exhausted immediately afterwards or for the next 2 days), you can double that distance for a "one time" race.

You say you can run 2.5-3K on a treadmill currently. I'd recommend that you stop running on a treadmill in favor of running outside immediately. A treadmill is better than *not* training, but you will do yourself no favors by doing all your training on a treadmill and then running a race outside. The treadmill does not, in my opinion, do a good job of simulating all the terrain inconsistencies you'll encounter in a real outdoor race (sloped/uneven/rough surfaces/turning corners) and will not appropriately strengthen all the ankle/lower leg muscles/tendons that you'll be using when running outside.

Train to run 5-7K comfortably in the 27 days you have prior to the race, and then know you'll have a bit of a "push" on race day. Why did I say 27 days instead of 30? Because I'd recommend that you train intensely, but smartly, for the next 27 days and then give yourself 3 whole days of rest prior to the race.

In the race itself - pacing, pacing, pacing. It's natural to get excited and run much faster at the start than your ideal pace because WOO! RACE! LOT'S OF PEOPLE RUNNING! FUN! and then find you're crashing in your last couple of kilometers. Be smart, disciplined and do the opposite - start out moderate to slow, and speed up as you get towards the end if you're feeling good. Your stated goal is to run the race without breaking down into a walk; you don't have a time goal, so pace yourself nice and easy, don't get sucked in by the crowd.
posted by de void at 7:54 AM on April 25, 2013

Best answer: Already mentioned, but here's a link: Bridge to 10K

It's six weeks, but this is probably the closest thing to what you're looking for.

And it's totally OK if you have to walk at some point-- Many people will likely be stopping at least at the water stops. If you're not comfortable running the whole time, plan for a 30-second walk at each water station (being careful to move to the side, be aware of the runners around you, of course). You won't be last.
posted by matcha action at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2013

I ran my first 10k when I was terribly out of shape, having not exercised in oh, five years; I finished in a little under an hour.*

Good news! The Manchester race looks relatively flat. That's awesome.

So you're jogging 30 minutes now. Instead of focusing on distance, I would focus on time: can you add a minute or two to every run? If you run 4x a week, and add 6 minutes each week, you'll be going 54 minutes in a month. You'll probably get faster over that time too. (Adding minutes is way more psychologically satisfying for me.)

I agree with de void: get off the treadmill. It's not a great substitution for running - it's a fine thing, but it's not going to prepare you well for the race. A couple of years ago I switched from being able to run an hour at 10k/hour on a treadmill to only being able to run 15 minutes at the same pace. It took a few months to work back up to an hour.

I like Hal Higdon's plans - here's the novice level one for a 10k, but it's an eight-week schedule, not four. This does give you a good idea of ratios and timing, though, so you might be able to modify it to suit you.

You'll probably run the race a little faster, and feel a little better, than you do on your last long run (even if you top out at seven or eight km.) Races are a lot of fun. And: walking is totally legit. For my last half-marathon, I walked for two or three minutes after every two miles, and I finished well before a sibling who kept up a steady jogging pace the entire time. It's entirely possible to incorporate walking breaks and actually go faster overall than you would have if you'd kept with the steady pace.

*I threw up at the finish line, but I was hungover, too. It was a rough morning.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:40 AM on April 25, 2013

I was about to say that it should be possible to run/walk the distance slowly but safely (with the goal of running every step being pretty unlikely), but then I read the part where you are already battling joint pain running outdoors--presumably at similar short distances. Honestly, I think there's a good chance that you will exacerbate whatever injury this is if you push your training too hard with this race goal in mind and possibly wind up unable to walk the race, let alone run it.

So, if your #1 goal is to finish the race and you can set aside the goal of running the whole thing, I would recommend an extremely conservative approach over the next 4 weeks--start switching some of your runs back outdoors, and once a week start building a "long run" on the treadmill that is .5 km longer each week than the week before (3.5, 4, 4.5, and 5 k respectively).

I might throw in a few cardio training sessions on the bike--like alternating one week with an hour-long bike workout at about the same cardio intensity as when you are jogging, and then the next week doing an hour-long bike workout where you do some short intense intervals (then repeat that on weeks 3 and 4). Even if cardio fitness isn't the barrier you run up against in a 30-minute 3k jog, you will probably feel differently when you're at the 90 minute mark on your 10k and still have a ways to go yet.
posted by drlith at 8:56 AM on April 25, 2013

WHen you run outdoors, is it on concrete? Your mention of joint pain after switching from a treadmill to outside is exactly opposite my experience; when I'm on a major running kick and cold weather prohibits outside runs, it's better (for me) to skip runs than run on a treadmill.

Can you run on asphalt or mixed asphalt/dirt trails? That may make it easier.

(also, treadmills are so fucking *boring* that my mind would be done before my legs were.)
posted by notsnot at 9:09 AM on April 25, 2013

Here's a 5-week training program for a 10k. Good luck!
posted by mogget at 9:58 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You may not run or jog the whole thing but you'll finish for sure. Go have fun.
posted by mmascolino at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you all very much for all the advice and encouragement! I know it's a lot to take on and basically too late but am now much less DOOOOMMM about the whole thing and the possibility of occasionally walking. I'll get back outside and keep off the concrete, and look up all the training programmes recommended.
posted by runincircles at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2013

Best answer: I have run this race twice, it is a very flat course.

Try not to get carried away at the start, lots of people go out too quick and end up walking right away. Loads of people walk the whole route so if you can run/jog any of it you will be overtaking lots of people!

Are you near a parkrun? See if you can fit one of those in a couple of weeks before the race.
posted by pixie at 6:44 AM on April 27, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks pixie, good to know!
posted by runincircles at 2:57 AM on May 6, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks again for all the advice, it was very helpful in making it clear to me that a. I was being unrealistic about trying to run at that stage and b. that walking it was no big deal. I ended up dressing in a bee costume, walking most of it like lots of people cos it was HOT, and raising a ton of money for my charity. Lovely event, am SO training for next time!
posted by runincircles at 12:17 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

« Older SEC staffing   |   Replacement for Echofon (Twitter client) on... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.