Help me run in a 10K next weekend.
April 21, 2007 9:13 PM   Subscribe

What can I do in a week to train for a 10K race?

Some friends and I agreed back in February to run a 10K race at the end of April. None of us is really a runner. They've been training for months now; I haven't, mostly because I was on travel and then had a bum knee for a bit.

I've never run more than 1-2 miles continuously, and I'm not in great running shape (though not in terrible shape either.) My goal is to run the whole thing from start to finish; I don't care how long it takes me.

Race is now a week away. Is there a crash training program I can undertake to ready myself?
posted by wabash to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think attempting to fully run a 10k with no training and a bad knee is a very bad idea. There's not much you could do in one week to meaningfully go from zero to 10k.
posted by loiseau at 9:20 PM on April 21, 2007

don't do it... especially with a bum knee. it's not like you won't walk again or anything, but even something a simple as IT band syndrome will be a pain in the ass for weeks and weeks afterwards. the problem with running really slow is that you'll be bouncing up and down rather than moving laterally, and your joints are going to take a beating.

how exactly was your knee bum?
posted by AaRdVarK at 9:28 PM on April 21, 2007

seriously, don't do it.
posted by AaRdVarK at 9:28 PM on April 21, 2007

i agree with loiseau. unless you were born to run or are very active otherwise, you are also likely to get hurt if you really push yourself to run the full 10k. you can't build up the muscles in a week to take the pounding.
posted by bread-eater at 9:28 PM on April 21, 2007

Just walk it.

I ran a 5K several years ago. I was not a runner, though I was not in terrible shape or anything, and I had no knee problems. I trained a little in the two weeks before the race.

By the end of the race one of my knees wouldn't support any weight without terrible pain and I basically couldn't walk on that leg for the next week. I learned my lesson.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2007

Seconding loiseau. If you've never run more than a mile or two, it would be a pretty bad idea to jump right in with 10K unless you are in good fitness from some other activity. Running distances like that can also have a bad effect on past injuries if you aren't used to it. If you must enter the race, accept before starting that you will be walking a lot of it.

In the meantime, the most you can reasonable do is run a few kilometers every day (assuming your knee holds up). Take a day off later in the week so that your body has a chance to recover before the actual race. Once you start running, you'll start to see what you can and can't reasonably do, but make sure to err on the side of caution: you aren't used to running and this increases your risk of injury.
posted by ssg at 9:32 PM on April 21, 2007

Buy some nice walking shoes.
posted by gramcracker at 9:53 PM on April 21, 2007

Yes, walking is a good idea or run slow. You will end up walking anyhow. It's too late to train.
posted by lee at 10:55 PM on April 21, 2007

It is possible to go from zero to superhero.

But not in a week.
posted by jayder at 11:17 PM on April 21, 2007

please please don't underestimate the injury potential of running, even at slow speeds.
posted by bread-eater at 11:22 PM on April 21, 2007

I asked a question quite like this, only it was 8.3 miles and had a 1000 foot elevation gain in the first 6 miles and a drop of equal distance in the last 2. I ran it in 1:29.?? about 11 minute miles. I only trained a few times leading up to it... but i DID walk maybe 2 miles of it off and on (mostly the steepest parts) I was in mild discomfort but not to bad for a day or two. I was quite proud! I plan to run the race next year... its called 8 tuff miles and is on St. John in the Virgin Islands.
posted by crewshell at 11:50 PM on April 21, 2007

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say do it. You don't say how old you are or give specifics on your health but I tend to think that if you really shouldn't do it you would damn well know that. 10k is only just over 6 miles. That isn't real far. Just jog it. Take it real easy. And, you know what, if it starts to feel bad (like you know, you should stop and all) here's what you do, you stop. No shame in that. Give it a go, why not?
posted by fieldtrip at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2007

you will probably hurt yourself, but for what it's worth, I once ran a marathon after a week of training, which mostly consisted of me not smoking cigarettes for a week.

I actually managed to train just ENOUGH to pull a tendon before the actual marathon day, but I'm an asshole so I ran it anyways. My friend and I both finished, but it took us six and a half hours. I was 26 at the time, and my friend was 30.

I had some running experience, but nothing formal or serious. At the time, I was probably able to punch a consistent 8-9 minute mile without any trouble, and a few years before that (when I was running more than swimming), I probably was able to do 7 minute miles pretty consistently. So yes, we finished a marathon with zero training without ever having been some sort of running superstars.

That said, we were both hurting pretty badly after the race. My friend had a blister whose circumference was probably about the size of your fist (he actually didn't even own running shoes OR clothes until that week), and I had enough serious chafe (I threw some lube down before we started but probably sweated it off before the third mile) that I walked funny for a week.

But hey, we ran a marathon. Not well, and not quickly, but we did it. I imagine you will easily be able to finish a 10k if you can run a couple miles without feeling like you are going to die and are in otherwise good health. Setting out to run the whole thing may be unrealistic, but unless you've got some sort of heart condition I don't doubt that you'll survive the experience and be feeling fine within a few days (if you feel poorly at all).

anyways, I guess the whole point of this is to suggest that you do NOT crash train but run it anyways. If you can, run daily beforehand, and make sure you're comfortable doing a couple miles. I'm not a pro, but I don't think there's anything a week's training will do for you besides giving you an opportunity to get injured before the race.
posted by fishfucker at 12:37 AM on April 22, 2007

Lance Armstrong ran the 2006 NY Marathon with inadequate preparation, ended up with shin splints (though he did post a sub 3 hour result) and publicly admitted he felt like he'd been hit with a Mack truck afterwards.

You might finish the race but at best you'll be out of commission for several days (if not weeks) afterwards, at worst you could seriously injure yourself.
posted by randomstriker at 1:42 AM on April 22, 2007

I agree about the risks and I also recommend that you either don't do it or walk it. You could end up limping around for weeks or months this summer.

However, if you insist on being foolish. . . There are two parts to training -- there's the exercise part followed by rest or light exercise so that your body can recover and build muscle.

The recovery part is just as important as the exercise part, especially if you're not in good shape. The harder you exercise, the longer you need to recover between workouts.

Also, most runners "taper off" their training before a big race, for anywhere from a couple of days to maybe even a week. You don't want to be worn-out on the day of the race.

So, in your case, I recommend that you go out and kill yourself on a 3 or 4 mile run today. Then I would rest or just walk for two days. Then do a fairly hard 2 or 3 mile run in the middle of the week. Finally, I would just rest up or do some real easy running or walking in the final days before the race.

Also, you can't afford to get blisters this week. Make certain you've got really good running shoes, high quality running socks and go buy something called "moleskin" in case you start to develop problems.

Good luck.
posted by 14580 at 5:31 AM on April 22, 2007

I'll be contrarian and say it can be done. Set a goal time for the race like an hour and 20 minutes. Practice running 13 minute miles. If you can get up to running four 13 minute miles consecutively before the race you should be golden. If you find 13 minutes is too close to walking set a new goal. Run everyday except the day before the race, increasing your mileage each day. Don't try to keep up with your friends, just run your own race. Unless you're grossly overweight, you'll be fine.
posted by Xurando at 5:34 AM on April 22, 2007

I take back my suggestion about doing a 3 or 4 mile run today. You probably don't have enough of a training base to do that. I think that if you're going to over-extend yourself this week it should be on race day.

Instead, just try and do 2 or 3 miles today at whatever pace will get you there. It would be nice if you could run it, but don't be afraid to stop and walk for awhile if you have to.

I once took a long break from running and then got back into shape by alternating running and walking from one telephone pole to the next.

Do the same workout at least once more this week, but take a rest day between your workouts, Also, take at least a day off before the race.
posted by 14580 at 5:57 AM on April 22, 2007

Most races are local charity events. Half the field is real runners who move from town to town every weekend. The other half are the people associated with the charity who have no business running. Last finishers for a 5k have times like 50-55 minutes, where the winner is under 16 mins and the slow runners are under 30. You won't be unusual.
posted by smackfu at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2007

I agree with most people in this thread - you could hurt yourself if you try to do this, and there's no way to get in shape that quickly. With a bad knee, I wouldn't run any of it if I were you. But if you want to risk it, try running for a mile, walking a mile, running a mile - and walking longer and running shorter if you're feeling wiped out. Don't push yourself to run the whole thing.
posted by Dasein at 8:15 AM on April 22, 2007

Just in case you still want to run the race despite the above-mentioned warnings concerning your injury (keep in mind: health should alway be your top priority), you should perhaps read the article Want to get fit quickly? by Frank Horwill. After several months with practically no physical activity I myself followed the plan based on the ideas of Astrand for two weeks and was able to finish a 15K race at a moderate pace (10 km/h) without any problems. The training, however, was a pain in the ass and I did not suffer any knee problems. But I think that you too can make it, if you really want to.
posted by pu9iad at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow. Thanks for all the great advice.

I ran about 2 miles this morning with slight discomfort in my knee; it just starts aching after a few minutes of running, but not enough for me to stop. I honestly think my bigger problem is stamina; I was just totally winded and had to stop after only 2 miles. (I recently stopped smoking.)

My plan is still to give it a go. If I realize mid-race that it's not gonna happen, I'll just walk.

Maybe instead my goal should be to finish (even if it means walking,) stay healthy, and have fun.
posted by wabash at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2007

I began running this february. I wasn't in great shape but definitely also not totally out of shape. I ran 10k on my second or third run and it turned out to be easier than I had imagined beforehand.

Just run much slower than what feels natural. You should be able to have a conversation while running. Don't lose your breath. It might take you an hour and a half to do the 10k but at least you will have done it.

You have two things going against you, though. Being an ex-smoker you might have to walk some of the time and of course if your knee starts to hurt stop running immediately. It's not worth getting injured over this.

Good luck.
posted by sveskemus at 2:43 PM on April 22, 2007

58:12. Thanks, all.
posted by wabash at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2007

« Older Sttop the skkipp.   |   My ears! Make it stop! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.