The 10k (6.2 miles) is a Classic distance and a brilliant place to start if you haven't run in an organised event previously. You need to be committed to train for a 10k but it's very doable and the training is not too time consuming, so you can continue with everyday life while you prepare. Personally, having something in my diary adds a tremendous amount of focus and purpose to my training.....it's great to have a goal. I've certainly found clients that have an 'Event' in the diary to work towards have been incredibly motivated during their PT sessions. Once you've completed your first 10k you'll also have a PB (personal best time) next to your name, so the motivation doesn't stop once the event is over, it continues and your thoughts switch to bettering your PB!
The health benefits from running are undeniable, from weight loss to through to boosting your endorphin release which will ultimately lift your mood. I did read somewhere that Running is the reverse of drinking.......you feel rubbish while you're doing it but fantastic afterwards! I wouldn't wholeheartedly agree with that statement but there's certainly an element of truth there!
For a beginner 8 to 10 weeks of training will be more than adequate preparation, so long as you are following a schedule that has the right mix of runs, it's more about quality than quantity. Three runs a week will suffice and generally you should split the runs into three types: Easy, Fast and Long. Each of these levels will be dependant on your level of fitness but if you categorise them as follows:
Easy - A Pace you can comfortably do while chatting with a friend, you should feel like you have something in reserve by the time you finish.
Fast - Attempt shorter distances at a pace that's almost slightly uncomfortable, you're going to feel breathless. You can attempt these faster runs as Intervals or Fartleks, where you run fast for a Minute, take it easy for a minute and repeat several times.
Long - Attempt a longer run, it's not your pace that's the important factor, it's about completing the distance. There are lots of Training programmes that follow these type of programmes, a couple of reputable sources being www.runnersworld.co.uk or www.womenshealth.co.uk
It could also be worth including some hills during your training, they're great for your posture and will also build strength and power. Run up the hills and relax on the way down in order to get the maximum benefit.
As the training schedule is not too intensive you should be left with time to do the activities that you ordinarily enjoy, for example swimming, cycling or circuits and all these type of activities will benefit your running. Many runners just run more to improve there running, this is a mistake; Running is not just about using your legs, it's a full body workout, you certainly need a strong core and upper body to be the best runner you can be, you are also more likely to avoid injury as you will be able to maintain a good running style over a longer period.
Race Day Tips
You will have tapered down your training in the last couple of weeks before the Event, so by the time it comes to Race Day you will have fresh legs which will be strong from all the miles you have put in.
Here are some handy tips for the day:
1. Know the course, if possible run some of it and at the very least look online, all 10k's will have a course map, it's really helpful to know what's around the corner.
2. Ensure you are well hydrated before the run. Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a couple of hours before, during the run just sip whenever you are thirsty.
3. Warm-up. Arrive early and do 10 to 15 minutes of jogging and strides, if you can use part of the course even better.
4. Don't start off to fast! Most are guilty of this....it's better to run negative splits ie start off slow and get quicker, otherwise you could run out of steam very earlier in the race which is very difficult to recover from.
5. Split the course up, focus on each mile rather than thinking about the total distance.
6. Jog for 2 or 3 minutes at the end of race to cool down and then stretch for a good 10 minutes. You'll be in much better shape the next day as a result, in addition you will be reducing the likelihood of injury considerably.
7. Finally, Enjoy it!! It's a great experience and achievement. I gaurantee you'll be back for more :)
Here's two of my favourite 10k's