Work your way up to 10K and beyond – the smart way.
When you need two numerals instead of one to log how far you’ve run in a single outing, you’ve hit a major milestone: many recreational runners never make it that far. The reason you should bother striving for 10 – beyond the bragging rights – is that going long, no matter how slowly you’re moving, is the best way to increase your endurance. More endurance often means faster race finishes. And long, aerobic efforts can help you lose weight and keep it off. Trouble is, if you go too far, too soon, too fast, you could end up injured. Here’s how to join the 10K Club without getting hurt.
Plan on doing a long run every other weekend, adding about half a kilometre to a kilometre each time. In between, maintain fitness by running or run-walking for at least 30 minutes every other day. On long-run days, choose a route that loops past your car or home so you can stop for water and snacks.
Your long-run pace should be about 1:00-2:00 min/km slower than your shorter-run pace. If you usually run continuously, take walk breaks (30 seconds after every minute of running) on long runs. If you use a run-walk strategy the rest of the week, shorten the run periods and lengthen the walk periods to go long.
On your long-run days, if you’ll be out for more than an hour or so, have a sweet snack of 30 to 40 calories, or 125-150 kilojoules, every three kilometres. A few gummy bears work well. Make sure to wash snacks down with sips of water, and drink more whenever you feel thirsty.
Have a snack (about 250 calories or 1050 kilojoules) with carbs and protein within 30 minutes of completing your run. To soothe tired muscles, consider soaking your legs in a tub filled with cool water. Log an additional 2000 to 4000 steps of walking after you’ve finished your run to prevent soreness in the following days.