It may seem counterintuitive at first, but take a moment to think about it. You’ve already developed a habit of regular run training that got you through the 5K distance. You have race experience. And you know what a thrill it is to cross the finish line.
In short, you already know how to race (that’s the hard part). You just need to learn how to race longer (that’s the easy part).
To get ready for the longer distance, you are going to have to increase your training volume/mileage. There’s just no way around that. Take a look at your current 5k training volume and make it your goal to roughly double it before your 10k race. If you stick with a weekly volume increase of 10%, it will take you approximately 7 weeks to double your training volume. Even, if add in 1 or 2 lower-volume recovery weeks along the way, you should still be ready for your race in less than 10 weeks.
As you structure your weekly training, try to keep at least one shorter interval/speed workout and one longer low-intensity session. If you only ran twice a week during your 5k training, you may want to add a 3rd weekly session to your 10k plan as the volume increases. As your race date nears, try pushing your longer runs all the way up to 10k. And if you want to feel even more confident and comfortable in the late stages of the race, take your long runs past 10k to 8 miles or more. Just be sure to pay close attention to how your body responds to the added distance.
Unless you sandbagged the pace in your last 5k, you will probably have to run at a slightly slower pace in your 10k. Aim for a pace that’s 5%-8% slower than your most recent 5k. For example: if you’re a 30-minute 5k racer, your 5k pace is 9:41/mile. Add 5%-8%, and that becomes a projected 10k pace of 10:10 to 10:27. If you are faster or slower than this example, simply plug in your numbers. The same rules apply.
If you make it to the starting line well hydrated and properly fueled, you should be able to make it to the finish without physically needing anything along the way. If your race day is super hot, or if you feel you need food or drinks to help mentally, go ahead and take what you want. Be sure you know the location of the aid stations and what they offer. If in doubt, carry your own.
If race day is the first time you’ve run the full 10k distance, expect to be sore the next day or 2. Drink plenty of water and focus on stretching and foam rolling. Take it easy, but stay loose, until the pain goes away. Then you can resume your normal training routine.
If you have run longer than 10k in your training, you will still feel the effects of your race, but they shouldn’t be any worse than what you experience after a hard workout. Stretch, roll, and hydrate during the first 24 hours, and you should be able to get back to regular training as soon as the day after your race.
Take the First Step: Sign up for a 10k Race.
If you haven’t already, find a race that’s 8+ weeks away and sign up. The commitment will make your goal feel more immediate and real. It’s much easier to stay disciplined in your training when you have an actual finish line to focus on.
- Moving from 10k to Half Marathon
- From half to full Marathon
- Beyond the Marathon