Congratulation, you have decided to bring it up a notch and run your first 10K. You might be wondering where you are going to start and what you need to do. Below is a fun, 8 week training plan that will help you prepare for a successful, stress free race. In anticipation of Preachtree Road Race, we will be offering an expanded edition of this training plan starting on May 1st. The expanded program will include 8 weeks of cross training workouts, stretching guide, and a meal plan.
10K or 6.2 miles is a fun distance to run. You have successfully graduated up from 5K and moved on to the next level. It is easier and takes less time to prepare for than a half marathon, with manageable training hours, and you can still go out dancing after the race.
Before you start training for your 10K race, you should get a full workup from your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for this kind of activity. You should have a reasonably good level of physical fitness and should have done some sort of running / walking in the past. If you are new to running, I would suggest starting at a 5K level. There are plenty of programs and apps available to train you for your very first 5K race.
How This Program Works:
Cross Training (CT): Simply put cross training can be anything that isn’t running. It can be swimming, cycling, walking, and weight training or any other form of aerobic activity. However, recent research has shown that runners benefit more from weight training and exercises that builds underactive core muscles than from any other form of cross training. My recommendation is combining weight training and other forms of cardio for a complete, well rounded workout.
For example, you could do 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike at the beginning of your workout, 20 minutes of weight training, 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike, and 5 minutes of stretching as your cross training.
For a list of cross training workouts, check back on May 1st for an expanded 10 K prep guide.
Running: This part is fairly simple – go run. It is preferable to train on the same surface as the race, so go outside and hit the pavement (or a trail if you are doing a trail run). If the weather doesn’t allow you to do so, set your treadmill incline to 1.5 -2.0 for your running workouts.
You should be able to run at a comfortable pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. If you find yourself unable to talk, or only talk in short phrases, you are running too fast.
Rest: Rest is extremely important. On rest days you should take it easy, give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.
Long Run: This is the longest run of the week. Typically a long run is done at a slow pace.
Walking: Walking is so underrated! In this 8 week training plan, I have a walk scheduled for Friday (the day before your long run). A walk will keep your muscles active with less stress. It is a great way to recuperate from the week of training before your long run. Feel free to walk at any point during your runs too! No one cares if you run the whole race (unless that is your goal). If you are tired and you know you can’t push through, walk!
Below is an 8 weeks training schedule. Feel free to modify it to fit your life, this is merely a guide to help you get started. If you would like a personalized, custom training guide, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to help you reach your 10 K training goals.
8 Week 10K Training Schedule:
|1||CT||1 M||CT||1 M||Walk||2 M||Rest|
|2||CT||1.5 M||CT||1.5 M||Walk||3 M||Rest|
|3||CT||2 M||CT||2 M||Walk||4 M||Rest|
|4||CT||2.5 M||CT||2.5 M||Walk||5 M||Rest|
|5||CT||1.5 M||CT||1.5 M||Walk||3 M||Rest|
|6||CT||3 M||CT||3 M||Walk||6 M||Rest|
|7||CT||3.5 M||CT||3.5 M||Walk||7 M||Rest|
|8||CT||3 M||EZ CT||Stretch||Walk||RACE||Rest|
Diet is extremely important when prepping for a race. You don’t want to get to the start line and realize that you are 10 pounds heavier than when you started your training. You also need to eat for your goals. That means eating strategically to optimize your performance.
Eating whole grains and complex carbohydrates will help you maintain steady energy in your workouts as well as on race day. Protein will help with recovery and building up muscles necessary for a successful run. Proper water intake is essential to keep your body functioning properly.
Going on a low calorie, low carb diet is not the best choice when running a 10 K is the goal. You need to be eating smarter, not less. Try swapping out processed foods for whole foods, decrease your fat intake, and make sure that every meal is well balanced. That means that you should eat a complete lean protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or lean red meat) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, squash varieties, sweet potatoes, and cruciferous veggies) with every meal. The longer the distance, the higher amount of carbs you will need in your diet.
The jury is still out on the optimal amount of carbohydrates that a distance athlete needs to ingest to optimize their performance. For more details on nutrition, meal planning, and a sample menu check back on May 1st for our extended edition of the 10 K training plan.
I thought that by today I’d finally find the words to describe my experience at Peachtree Road Race, but it seems harder now than it was three days ago. I must have started this post a dozen times and everything I wrote so far doesn’t give the race justice. I am not sure if I can properly describe how disappointing and how incredible this race was all at the same time. Usually, I have a lot to say about my races and can talk your era off for hours, but this one was different. All I could answer to the usual “how was your race” question, was “I did well” and smile. I don’t have a lot to say because I wasn’t overwhelmed, I was calm, I was collected, I had a plan, I executed that plan down to the last detail. I guess that is one of the most shocking parts of the event. I was prepared and outside of a small hiccup at the beginning, nothing went wrong.
The fact that I was well prepped, allowed me to concentrate on the experience of the race. I was prepared to take on the crowds, struggle through the hills, take on the Cardiac Hill, and come out on the other side tiered and satisfied and full of exciting memories. Instead, it was just…. well, mellow. Very mellow.
I woke up very early on the 4th of July and turned on the news as I was making breakfast. As expected, our local news channels were showing the preparations for the race, talking about road closures, and showing wet and yet hopeful volunteers setting up barricades to help re-route traffic. At that point, it has been raining for two days and no one was expecting to be dry. Days in advance I told myself that I was going to be uncomfortable and it hardly mattered how that discomfort was going to manifest. All I cared about as I left my house that morning was staying dry and warm long enough to get to the start.
Surprisingly, as we approached Buckhead, we didn’t encounter traffic. Atlanta without the stop-and-go? What?! No way! I couldn’t believe it! The rain picked up again and as I was about to exit the car and begin my walk towards my starting wave, I realized that I left my giant trash bag rain poncho at home. After a short search around the car, I found a small umbrella and decided that it’ll do. Since this was my very first Peachtree Road Race, I had no idea if I was going to have an opportunity to stay dry, so I played it safe.
I think I was the only one with an umbrella in that crowd, and honestly, I didn’t care. Since my brother (also my running buddy) was yet to find me in the sea of wet, excited runners, I figured that holding an umbrella would work better than try to explain that I am “right next to the giant green crane across the street from Sacks on Fifth, no wait, we are moving again”. I was right. Ten minutes after Tim texted me his location, I heard my name being called in the crowd and there he was!
Luckily, the rain stopped right before “the gun went off ” and we were on our way. The first three miles seemed deceptively easy. I looked down at my watch and realized that I just ran a 5K thirteen minutes faster than normal. After a short moment of panic I checked in with myself: I was not tired, I was not hurt, and I could, in fact, take the Cardiac Hill without an issue!
I was told by many veteran runners that Cardiac Hill is the best part of the race. Usually crowds of spectators line the sidewalks and cheer on the runners. I was told that the energy you feel on that hill is unreal and if your legs are giving out, you’d run on sheer principal because no one wants to disappoint a crowd!
I guess I had very high expectation. When I got to the hill, there were no crowds. A few spectators stood holding signs of encouragement, but that’s about it. I’d like to say thank you to those who braved the rain to encourage us on the hill.
By the time I got to the final mile, the crowd grew more active and the runners began to slow down. People were handing out beer and water to the participants and encouraging us to keep going. If I was beginning to question the dedication of my wonderful city to this race, all of that dissipated when a toddler ran out into the street to high-five me.
I finished the race to cheering and applause with a 10K PR, walked through a beautiful grassy field in Piedmont Park that was slowly turning into a mud pit, stopped in at the Atlanta Track Club VIP area and said hello to a few people. By the time I was done with my post race snack, my brother called and we began our long walk to our car.
I think that post race walk was probably one of my favorite parts of the race. Maybe it is because my brother is an extremely charismatic person, or because we, runners, are a naturally friendly bunch, but I have never seen anyone receive this many high-fives and make so many people smile as he did. It made me truly proud to be a part of the Atlanta running community and to be his big sister.
Regardless of the weather and the dirt, the race was a success and I am beginning to think that I have found a new 4th of July tradition. If you live in Atlanta, or if you are a runner, Peachtree Road Race is one of those events that you have to run at least once.