Starting a 10K training plan? You’ve come to the right place. Researching fitness advice online can be daunting, especially if you are looking for a 10K training plan. There’s a lot of information about how to train, what to eat, where to begin, it can feel really overwhelming and even put you off altogether.
Lucky for you, we’ve launched another expert race prep plan with expert running coach Lucy Hurn! Lucy will guide you through our program in your ear. With weekly runs focusing on form and technique, as well as strength workouts designed to boost your endurance, you’ll be running like a pro in no time.
Carry on reading for our top tips for running a 10K.
10k training plan: Plan your time
If you’re new to running, give yourself a 6-8 week timeframe for training, otherwise 4-5 weeks would work well for current runners. You absolutely don’t need to run 10K every time you train. Split up your sessions into a tempo run, a speed run, and a longer steady pace run.
A tempo run is a training session where you run speed intervals – so faster for a few minutes, and a slower pace for a few minutes. This will help you build your endurance. A speed run is where you run at a quicker pace for a longer amount of time – think race pace! Your steady pace run is usually longer in duration, but at an easy pace, helping to improve your stamina.
To supplement your runs, try and fit in some HIIT or strength training. Why is this included in a 10K training plan? Strengthening your muscles will help you run faster, reduce risk of injury, and actually improves your running economy by developing your coordination. It also helps to bolster your metabolism, meaning you burn more energy after you finish exercising, so it’s a win/win!
Rest up and recover
Allow your body time to recover! It’s so easy to feel guilty for not training but there is actually such a thing as overtraining. It’s just as important to schedule your rest days as it is to schedule your runs. You also need to actually listen to your body. Your training needs to be flexible, and fit around your life. Otherwise, it won’t be sustainable and you’re more likely to fall off the wagon!
If you feel unwell, super tired, or maybe a little hungover (no judgement here!), you don’t need to train. Take the time to rest, and then when it comes to your runs you’ll feel in better shape to do it, and do it well.
Be sure to stretch too. As Lucy always says, because we now spend the majority of our time sitting down, our bodies have adapted to this position. Our hips get quite tight, our glutes aren’t activating while we run, we aren’t getting the most from our training. Try some stretches on the Auro app to see how you can fire up those glutes, and stretch out your hip flexors.
The golden rules
The key thing to remember here is to practice everything in training in advance – if you are already following a 10k training plan, hopefully you are already doing this practicing! If you haven’t been following a plan but want to attempt running a 10K anyway, don’t suddenly try something new that you haven’t already done in your training (for example, putting on a new pair of shoes to run in or having pasta for breakfast!).
Lucy advises you to practice these things in your training to ensure you are 10k race ready:
Plan your nutrition:
Find out what foods give you the most energy and work best with your body.
Plan your pacing:
Know your pacing and make sure it works for you.
Plan your outfit:
What kit you will be wearing on the day of your 10k run (dress comfortably and accordingly for the weather).
Plan your route:
If you are running a virtual run then plan your route. If you are planning a PB try and find a route that is not too flat and where there isn’t many traffic crossings.
Practice your tech:
On the technical side of things, check that your music is working, as well as your heart rate monitor or any other equipment you decide to use to track your progress. Test them out on your previous training runs to ensure you know exactly how they work and to avoid any technical difficulties. The last thing you want is to not have any music whilst you are running or to not have your running stats saved at the end of the run!
Practice your psychological tactics:
Know when you need to implement a tactic. Recognise when you need motivation or when you feel like you are starting to give up. There are loads of tactics to help deal with these feelings of low motivation in the Auro 10k race plan.
Be kind to yourself:
Make sure you are not setting your goals too high. At the end of the day you may not get a PB on race day, but you might get the best time you can for the year that you’ve had and the amount of training you have done. The key thing to remember here is to be realistic and kind to yourself.
The final thing to remember is to make sure you do not cram in your training last minute. If you have not been training as much as you should then do not cram in 4 runs on the same week as the race day! The best thing to do would be to take it easy and let your body rest.
10K training plan: Race day Q & A
1. How do I make sure I do not burn out?
Whatever distance you are doing, practice your pacing in advance. Check that your pace feels achievable. The most efficient way to run is consistent pace all the way through. Try and know what the right pace for you is on race day and stay consistent with this all the way through.
Another way to make sure you don’t burn out is by fuelling for the race, which we will speak about in question 3.
2. What do I do if I feel tired? Should I take a break? If so, how long for?
Part of it is mental strength. Questions to ask yourself if you are feeling tired: “Am I feeling tired or is it a matter of re-focus and to continue to push myself all the way through?”. Use psychological and grounding tactics that are in the Auro plan to help overcome this.
If you are genuinely feeling tired, then you can use walk breaks, which you can also practice in your Auro 10k training plan. An example of walking breaks would be running 5 minutes at your race pace then a 30 second walk. Do this from the beginning and continue it throughout your race.
3. Should I eat before the race? If so, what sort of meal?
Practice what you eat in training. Find what meal works best for you by trying different foods before each long run. Think about what time your race starts and then think about what time is best for you to eat before hand. It takes approximately 2 hours to digest your food but everybody is different, which is why you need to practice and find what works best for you.
Lucy recommends to eat something carbohydrate based and easy to digest, for example porridge, or a bagel with peanut butter. You may want to top this up just before the race with an energy drink. Try not to eat solid foods immediately before the race as you do not want this sitting in your stomach whilst you are running as this could be uncomfortable and cause a stitch!
4. Will I need to bring gels with me for fuel during the run?
Your body will normally store enough glycogen for about 60-90 minutes. So, you should be able to get through a 10k race without a gel. But, if you do use it then you are putting more energy into your body which means you can get more out. If you have practiced this in training and it agrees with you, then you can definitely use it on race day if you wish to.
5. How do I calm pre-race nerves?
Firstly you need to identify that you have got the nerves. Try and think rationally: “ok, I am getting nervous and I need to do something about it rather than let it spiral out of control”. Things that we can do to help calm pre-race nerves include breathing exercises. Taking some deep breathes (ensuring you breathe out longer than you breathe in) will help to calm you down and get your breathing back into control.
You can also reframe your nerves as excitement. Think to yourself: “what am I actually scared of?”. You may realise that it is not worth getting yourself that worked up about.
Another technique you can use is to do something to get the nervous energy out. Do some warm ups which include short bursts of faster running. Getting some speed into your legs will help to dissipate some of the nervous energy.
At Auro, we want you to feel like the best version of you. Whether you are training for a 10K race, a half marathon or just want to get out for 20 minutes to clear your head, we will be right there beside you, guiding the way! Follow Lucy’s 10K training plan, and you’ll ace your race!