Are you interested in living a more active lifestyle? Do you want to push yourself from the couch to running a 10k marathon? Sounds impossible, right? The good news is, with the right 10k training plan, you can cross that finish line!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner, you are able to train your body and mind to take to the tar or trail. Training for a 10k is difficult but totally doable if you have the right training gear, strategy and plan in place. And in this article, we will take you from start to finish.
Let’s jump right in!
Steps to take you from the couch to a 10k
Register for a marathon
Booking a holiday getaway not only builds excitement - it gets you locked in to a commitment. The same can be said for booking your place in a marathon race. By solidifying your place in a marathon that excites you, you build anticipation and hold yourself accountable to training. Marathon options are more limited than your choice of holiday, so ask yourself the following questions before booking your spot:
- Do you want to run in your hometown or do you want to travel for your marathon?
- Are you interested in running on roads or trails?
- Do you want to run through the lush countryside or take to the city streets?
By answering the above questions, you are able to narrow your choice down. Simply check our race websites and view course maps and photos to make your decision.
Follow a beginners 10k training plan
Now that you are locked into a commitment - you have to hold yourself accountable and get off the couch! As a new runner, your body needs to adapt to the motion of running and in order to do this effectively, you’ll need a comprehensive training schedule. A 12 week training schedule gives you the right amount of time to train your body and mind for the activity of running. As a new runner, you should invest in a schedule that covers everything, from running mechanics and mobility to weeks of scheduled workouts. Give yourself more time to train rather than less and find the sweet spot between feeling rushed for endurance building, and training so much that you end up burning out or injuring yourself before race day. It is also important to remember that marathon training for beginners is about commitment and understanding your body - don’t skip workouts or neglect any messages you are receiving from your body - trust the process and trust yourself - and stop if the plan is no longer serving you and your body.
Never skip longer runs
Your 10k training plan should build your weekly mileage every week, and should include between 3 - 5 runs every week. Along with training runs, you should try to incorporate 1 - 2 workouts that have speed intervals, as well as one longer run every week.
Long distance running is vital to your success as a marathon runner but your long race should be a minute or two slower than that of your marathon pace. Long runs help train the body and mind to run for hours at a time - and this helps you prepare for what is to come. Of course, your longer runs won’t cover marathon distance, try to utilise them to practise for your race day.
When taking on a long distance run, make sure to wake up early and eat breakfast a few hours before you begin. And take off at the same time you would begin your marathon run! Try a variety of energy gel packs and other digestible carbohydrates during your long runs. When it comes to hydration, drink plenty of sports drinks and water and try to do so every 2 miles - this is because drinking and aid stations are usually 2 miles apart at marathons. This will help your body and mind prepare for the big day.
You can also sign up for a half marathon to help you get into the swing of things!
Go further with strength and cross-training
In order to handle higher mileage as a new runner, you need to put your body first. Cross-training and strength training are 2 ways you are able to train your body to handle the impact of marathon training and marathon running.
Cross training is a low impact exercise that keeps your heart rate at an average level for an extended period, similar to an easy run. Swimming and biking are great cross training options but depending on your body, you are also able to cross train as much as three times a week while training your body for a marathon.
Strength training is also important and is a good filler for the days you aren’t running as part of your training. Marathon strength training is about keeping your foundation strong and involves core, glutes and hips. By strengthening these areas of your body, you are able to make it through all the miles you need to run on race day. You also don’t have to pick up super heavy weights either - although if you can - go for it! Just make sure you are always doing one or two strength training workouts every week using your bodyweight or a light dumbbell.
Get the right marathon running gear
The right running gear can help you avoid or mitigate running related injuries. The essentials are vital and many professional runners can’t run without them. From running shoes to clothing to a good pair of running sunglasses - you need to be prepared for the road or trail.
Running shoes are expertly designed to protect your feet and body from the impact of repeatedly hitting the ground, and they are designed to absorb impact and protect joints. Invest in running shoes that offer cushioning, stability and motion control. There are a variety of running shoes to choose from, so find the shoe that is most suitable for your running style and comfort level.
When it comes to running apparel, you don’t need to break the bank. Simply begin with a few items such as lightweight clothes that are able to move with your body as you move. Also invest in clothes that are reflective to provide a greater level of protection. If you are running in a colder climate, find running heat that is made of nylon or polyester - this will help retain your body heat and protect you from moisture. Running socks and tights made of compression fabrics can also offer you extra support which is great for any runner - from beginner to novice.
Also invest in a good pair of running sunglasses that can protect your eyes from harsh elements and the sun - giving you clear vision as you make your way toward the finish line.
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