So, you’ve run a 5k before, and now you feel ready to kick things up a notch with the 10k. It’s one step closer to claiming the title “marathon runner” as for yourself!
Running for 40 or 50 minutes straight might sound intimidating initially, but don’t let this discourage you just yet.
Once you get into a suitable physical condition and the right mindset, the 10k finish line should be a realistic goal.
In this post, you’ll find out how to prepare for a 10k in 6 weeks. Let’s jump right in!
All About the 10k Race
The 10k is a long-distance racing event with a total distance of 10 km or around 6.2 miles.
Most cities organize their 10k events on open roads, so don’t worry about the rugged terrains.
It’s a step up from the 5k, aka the fun run. However, it’s still more achievable than a marathon or even a half marathon.
So, how long does a 10k run take from start to end, and can anyone accomplish it?
On average, 50 minutes to an hour is considered a good range for a 10k track. Of course, pace varies from one runner to the other depending on a lot of factors.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to run the 10k race, but you need to have a bit of experience with long-distance running.
To top-up this experience, rely on a suitable 10k training plan to help you get ready before the upcoming race.
How to Prepare for a 10k in 6 Weeks, A Thorough Training Plan
First things first, you need to set two days for cross-training, two days for easy runs, and one day for a long run.
Before diving into the program, familiarize yourself with some basic stretching exercises.
You’ll need them for warming up to prevent injuries and swelling.
For this schedule, we advise that you use the interval training method.
You do so by running for a short lap and then taking a walking or jogging break to recover.
As you go further into the training schedule, you’ll gradually increase the intensity of the workout.
To get back in the mindset of running, start with a long walk for your first 30-minute cross-training session.
Then, you can run a mile at an easy pace the next day.
Depending on how tired you are, you can rest the third day or cross-train.
Either way, you have to repeat the mile run once again during the week.
For the long run, aim for two miles at your standard race pace. End your week with a calm rest day.
Kick up your two easy runs to 1.5 miles but don’t push the pace too much. If you don’t feel tired by the end of the workout, go for an extra half mile.
Alternate between running and other workouts like swimming, cycling, jogging, or even strength training.
Try your feet out at a long run around three miles at your previous race pace. You’ll find this distance reasonable if you completed the 5k sometime last year.
By now, your casual run days should be 2.5 miles and higher. If you can do an easy run longer than 3 miles, even better!
This week might be a good time to re-evaluate your pace. Time yourself while you run four miles on your main long running session.
Calculate your average pace and use it for the next week’s training plan. This pace should give you an estimate of your 10k race time.
If you did three miles easily the previous week, it’s time to increase your casual running days to 4.5 miles each.
Don’t forget to alternate cross-training every other day to boost your fitness level. Even a short swim can help you improve your performance.
Pump your long runs to five miles at your newly calculated pace. If you run out of breath a lot, re-assess the speed.
This week is all about pushing yourself further. Try your best to do 6.5-7 miles for the main workout and 5.5 miles for the two non-consecutive run days.
It might sound excessive to train for seven miles when the entire 10k take is only 6.2 miles long.
However, you want to be sure that you can get to the finish line without too much effort.
As a plus, you can shift up your 30-minutes cross-workouts, so you don’t get bored of the same repetitive training schedule.
For the final week, keep all workout sessions to a slow pace. Take at least two days before the race day to recover and rest your muscles.
If you’re feeling eager to get moving, try yoga or short walks under three miles. Running long distances right before the race does more harm than good.
As for cross-workouts, you can have one 30-minute session early in the week as long as you steer clear from strength training.
Tips and Tricks for the 10k Race
Even the best 10k training plan will only take you so far. You need to put in the elbow grease and commit to your goals.
It takes a while to track a lot of experience as a marathon runner. However, this doesn’t mean you have to go into the training schedule blind.
Here are a few running tips that can help you boost your performance:
Go Easy With the Speedwork
We get that seeking the runner’s high can push you to run faster in your training sessions.
However, there needs to be a balance between the effort and the needed recovery.
Some runners like setting a goal pace just above their current capacity.
Speedwork comes with injury risk, and it’s safer to increase your performance gradually.
If you want to challenge yourself, limit the speed workout to one day per week and take a rest day immediately after finishing.
Take Walking Breaks Often
There are different ways to go on about your running sessions, but for an experienced runner, interval training is the most common option.
For instance, if you need to run three miles, you can break it down to four minutes of running followed by a minute of walking.
These breaks help you pick up the pace quickly.
You can apply this schedule to your typical workout routine with minor adjustments in the lap distance versus the break duration.
With a 6.2 mile track, it’s easy to forget water. This is equally true for both the training period and the race day itself.
Staying hydrated isn’t just about gulping a sports drink after running. You need to maintain your hydration level throughout the day.
You might think that slowing down for a drink beats the point of competitive running.
However, a dehydrated runner is more likely to hit the wall midway.
Brace Yourself Against Blisters
The longer you run, the more unpleasant side effects you have to suffer.
Blisters and black toes are extremely common, but as a runner, you’ve probably noticed that by now.
Using protection taps like moleskin can be useful if you already know which spots blister the most.
Lay the pad on the spot right before going out for a run and replace it when you get back.
For more generalized blister prevention, try using dry powders. The right fit of running shoes or outfits can also help protect your skin.
Focus on Endurance
Many people think that cross-workouts are strictly strength training. For a runner, muscle mass isn’t the most important factor.
We don’t say this to diminish the importance of cross-training at all. Cross-train is so much more than just building muscles.
Make the Most of the 10k Race
Whether it’s 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even a marathon, down to its core, any competitive racing plan is a balance between endurance and speedwork.
Running gets easier with time, and you’ll find yourself capable of finishing longer races.
However, you don’t want to lose your momentum by ditching the exercise for a while.
That’s why it’s a good idea to build on your success in a race by upgrading to longer distances.
Once you’re done with your 10k, start looking for the next upcoming event to complete!
Final Thoughts On How To Prepare For A 10k In 6 Weeks
That’s a wrap on our 10k training plan. We tried to keep it simple and right to the point with a few tips and tricks to complete the picture.
Knowing how to prepare for a 10k in 6 weeks is all about spacing out your running sessions over the week.
Cherish your rest days and make the most out of your cross-training.
After all, the 10k is a realistic goal for an intermediate runner.
Stick to your training schedule, stay motivated, and you’ll be ready before you anticipated.
Get your 10k done, jump to a half marathon, and pave your way as a marathon runner!