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Training for a 10k run

8 May 2017

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Kent Sport health and fitness instructor Sarah Black shares some advise for anyone considering participating in a running event.

If you are a keen runner, you're likely to have a preferred distance to run. Personally a Half marathon is my favourite choice of races and I train for them by running mostly 10k distances.

If you run more than twice a week for up to 30 minutes continuously and do not suffer any injuries; then trust me you can sleep walk a 10k without any concern or regard of your fitness! Most people in the gym that consider running a race, approach me in utter fear three months, or even up to a year prior to the event and say "I am training for a run, please help me".

As an experienced runner who has been running and racing different distances since my father saw my first step, I ask them; Why clock up miles and miles of training runs, risking an injury occurring when there is no need to? I have seen more people suffer injuries training for a run, than I have witnessed actually completing the run. If you are wanting to achieve the quickest time and set a record at the race, fair enough put in some hard work developing your aerobic fitness. If you simply want to get around the course and complete the race – arrive on the day, warm, fuelled and run!

Have you heard of parkrun, which is a timed weekly event? It is 5km in distance and is a great indicator of what you can expect from a 10k if you have never run one before. Everyone and anyone can do parkrun and even if it means walking around the course when you fatigue, this should be achievable and hopefully take less than an hour. Add another loop onto parkrun and there is your 10k! Often when you put things into perspective, it seems doable and even simple! parkrun has a website and most local towns host one every Saturday, so make sure you check it out! We have a parkrun Canterbury which starts and finishes at the University of Kent Pavilion at 9am. Supported with volunteers and a great opportunity to meet people over a fresh coffee and cake after the run.

The questions you need to ask yourself before choosing to take part in running events are as follows;

  1. Why do I want to run? Is it enjoyment? Then fair enough run at a distance and speed that works individually to yourself! Learn to listen to your joints and body, it will tell you if the speed is too quick to tolerate or the distances are too hard to endure. Look at following a structured programme specific to what you are capable of achieving.

If you are only wanting to burn calories or get fit, then please don't choose to run! I talk to you from experience, this is a harsh sport. Taking time off from it and getting back into it time and time again, I can tell you the impact it has on your body and mind! If you have the ectomorph body and you are a built runner, running will therefore work. If you are deconditioned or a novice, then you're likely to suffer an injury. If you do not enjoy running, you're even more likely to suffer an injury! So choose a sport, you enjoy and you are good at, there are so many options out there; Xtraining, rowing, Nordic walking, swimming. They all have cardiovascular benefits.

  1. What to fuel my body with when running a race? Before and after a 10k this is applicable, not during as the race is not long enough to require anything more than h2O. Before the event I suggest having a meal of 200g-300g of carbohydrate at least 2 – 3 hours beforehand. I would personally recommend a peanut butter wholegrain sandwich, followed by a yogurt with some granola. (That would work for me, but if you're worried about granola and the fibre content, perhaps substitute it for a banana?)
  1. After the race many perceptions are to top up with protein. Yes, but do not forget the body is craving energy and this comes in the form of carbohydrates. Tuna and brown pasta salad sound tantalising? If not, Sweet potato and salmon lasagne. Choose a hearty carb and protein rich recovery meal and it will replenish your depleted energy, post event. Researchers believe you should top up your depleted glycogen tanks with 1 gram of CHO per Kg of body weight. Eg- If you weigh 60kg, then consume 60 grams of CHO fairly soon after the event as this is when the muscle membrane cells are most permeable to glucose, allowing easier absorption. A ratio of 1:4 protein to carbs would be ideal. So another choice would be milk, as this has all three components of protein, glycogen and rehydration.

To summarise training for a 10k, I would suggest running two or three times a week for about six weeks before the race date. At a distance of no greater than 8km, if you are not a routine runner. Start off with your 5km distance, learn the pace you can maintain on this distance without stopping. Then tune in with your body, your levels of energy and play around with the pace. Unless you are wearing a pace sports watch, how are you going to know your exact speed? Therefore, trial the 5km runs with tolerable pace that leaves you with some reserve in the tank after the finish line. Then each week build up on the time, so you challenge yourself further.

Eat a good meal the night before and ensure you are not fatigued or in risk of overtraining.

Do not panic. Have trust in your abilities and you will successfully fly through a 10 km race; then I'm sure you will approach me with the desire to run a half marathon and I will prepare you for that distance with even more ease!

Enquire about how Kent Sport can help at the Sports Centre or Pavilion receptions, or by calling 01227 823623. To keep up to date with Kent Sport, find UniKentSports on social media.


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Last Updated: 22/04/2016