With summer now well and truly upon us, many of us will be contemplating taking our training outdoors. And if you’re ready to brave the heat, a 10K could be the perfect distance to set your sights on.
“In the summer, when the heat can be a major issue on longer runs, a 10K strikes a good balance as it’s not too short that you don’t reap the benefits, but it’s also not too long that you struggle in the heat,” says James Heptonstall, adidas Runners captain. Suiting a variety of different abilities and age groups, it’s surprisingly wide-ranging in its appeal. How long should you look to set aside to train? A couple of months, but it differs from person to person and depends on your specific goals. “If you are generally fit and active, you will be able to run 10K without any training; you might not necessarily get the best time but you'll certainly get round,” says James. “However, if you’re looking to get a decent time, running-specific training is a must to chip away at that clock and push yourself to the upper limit of your own ability. If your current state of fitness is pretty low and you are new to running then a 10K distance would be a big ask with no training. If this is the case then you could look at a structured two-month training plan to get you up and running the full 10,000m.”
The perfect summer running distance, here’s how to get your training regime started on the right foot.
What is the best type of training I should do when preparing for a 10K?
“When training for a 10K, variety in the type of training you do is key,” says James. “It’s not just about getting out and running, you should be mixing up your training with intervals, tempos, fartlek (speed play) and hills as well as the steady run. It is also important to listen to your body and not do too much, rest and recovery is a critical element in all training schedules.”
How can I improve my 10K running time?
“If you’re looking to improve your 10K running time, a key piece of advice is to actually run with someone of a similar ability, be it a friend or in a group at a run club,” recommends James. “By training with others, you will push yourself much harder and work off other people to get more out of your training. Running is a mental game as well as physical so if you have others around you to support and encourage, it can make the world of difference to your training.”
Are there any other activities apart from running that will improve my 10K running ability?
“When training for a 10km run, there are plenty of other exercises that you should consider to compliment your running training,” highlights James. Strength training is one of them. “Working on your core stability as well as your strength and conditioning, in particular for your legs, provides a great base for an effective and efficient technique as well as helping with injury prevention,” he adds.
Not only will a stronger body lead to a faster time, but also better form. “Running isn't just about running countless miles, it's also about being strong enough to maintain good running posture to prevent injury, and being as energy efficient as possible,” says Luke Copeland, Head of Physiology for Speedflex . Gains also include improved time-to-exhaustion and neuromuscular coordination too.
Furthermore, incorporating exercises that focus on flexibility can also be pivotal. “Flexibility through stretching, yoga or Pilates are also excellent for injury prevention and range of movement as a runner,” says James. Not only will this improve your stride length, but also your energy expenditure too.”
How can I improve my endurance further?
“One of the most important aspects of endurance running performance is lactate threshold,” says Luke. “This is the point at which we begin to build an oxygen debt and soon have to slow down. One of the only ways to improve the lactate threshold is by doing high speed interval training.” Involving alternating short periods of exercise with less intense periods of rest, it’s particularly beneficial at increasing overall cardiovascular fitness.
What type of footwear should I be wearing for a 10K run?
“Wearing shoes that you are comfortable in and have used in your training is key when preparing for a 10K race,” advises James. “It is always worth heading to a mainstream running shop which offers Gait Analysis, so you know whether you pronate, supinate or are a neutral runner. This will help when deciding the type of shoe you wear. Your choice of footwear should reflect this and provide stability where it is needed. In terms of cushioning, I would recommend either a lightweight racer such as adidas' adizero adios , £139.95, or you may prefer a more cushioned shoe such as the adidas UltraBoost , £139.95. This will come down to personal preference, but comfort and fit are key.”
What top nutrition tips do I need to take on board for a 10K run?
For food that fuels you, forward planning will prove invaluable at keeping hunger pangs at bay. “Pre and post nutrition is an essential part when preparing for a run of any distance,” says James. “For a 10K run, you will likely only need to take on water during the race, depending on the weather conditions. Pre-race I would focus on slow release carbohydrates such as brown bread, porridge or brown rice to provide sustained energy release. Post-race, I look to fast release carbohydrates such as white pasta or jacket potato, to replenish depleted energy stores.”
Are there any clubs in London that will support with my training?
If you’re looking to train in a group, adidas Runners London offers the perfect solution. “Sessions are one hour long and focus on intervals, fartlek (speed play), hills and recovery activities such as yoga, all of which is aimed at making you a better runner,” explains James. “Check out adidas Runners London for more details.”
Are there any top tips for the day of a 10K race?
To help you cross the finish line successfully, James recommends the following as a final checklist...
“Don't change anything...be it your diet, shoes or kit. You shouldn't introduce something new on race day.”
“Arrive at the race with plenty of time to spare so you can warm up, go to the loo and drop your bag off.
“Use a watch so you can keep track of your pace over the km splits.”
“Stay hydrated, before, during and after.”
“Don’t forget to stretch and cool down after the race.”
“And most importantly.... enjoy it!”
Tempted to sign up for a 10K? Adidas City Runs are coming soon to London. Enter now for their first event, the Shoreditch 10K, here on 8th October 2017 .