Add different physical activities to your training to keep your workouts fun, challenging and full of variety.
Training for a 10K involves much more than running. Whether you are new to the sport or are ready to tackle a new distance, it is important that you do not run every day of the week when you are preparing for your 10K, as this could cause an overuse injury. Instead, cross-train by incorporating other activities into your training schedule that will ultimately help you improve your 10K performance.
Plan to train for eight weeks, and allocate three days of each week to run. During your initial two weeks of cross-training, run 1 to 2 miles on Monday, 1 to 2 miles on Wednesday and 3 miles on Friday. On the third and fourth weeks of your training, add a mile to each day. Add another mile and a half on your fifth, sixth and seventh weeks of training. For your eighth week of training, only run 5 miles each day in preparation for your 10K. Keep in mind that, depending on your level of fitness, you can always substitute a brisk walk or jog for a run. Some road race participants actually walk the entire 10K distance. It is your race and you determine how you cross the finish line.
Include three days of cross-training in your weekly workout regimen. Naturally, running is the best way for you to get in optimal running shape to complete your 10K. However, you also want to incorporate other physical activities that use the same energy systems and engage the same muscles as running. According to the specificity principle of training, by cross-training with exercises that are similar to running, you can improve your running performance while reducing your risk of an overuse injury. If you are not yet running, brisk walking or other cross-training exercises can help you work up to a running pace faster. Therefore, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, cross-train for 30 minutes by walking briskly, cycling, stair climbing, using an elliptical trainer or joining a military boot camp class.
After you spend 30 minutes completing a chosen cross-training exercise that simulates running, spend 15 to 20 minutes strength training. Try a variety of exercises like lunges, calf raises or shoulder presses. You can use heavy weight, light weight or just your body weight. Regardless of the weight you choose, when you strength train, you are reducing your risk of injury and preparing your body to run faster and further.
Stretching is an important part of every training program. For runners, stretching helps lengthen stride and improve overall running form. It may also lessen the possibility of soreness after you exercise and may even prevent injury. Whether it is a running day or a cross-training day on your schedule, devote five to 10 minutes each day to stretching. Always stretch after your workout when your muscles are already warm. Ideally, you should hold stretches for 30 to 60 seconds.