Preparing for a 10 km (6.2 mile) race is not difficult and does not take much time. In fact, it’s possible to prepare for a 10K in as little as two weeks. There is a difference between finishing a 10k race and running a 10k race. Finishing a 10K can be a huge accomplishment for some runners. More advanced runners could be looking to set a new personal record (PR). Both objectives require different preparation strategies.
Read on to learn how to prepare for a 10k race, whether it’s your first or your hundredth!
How to prepare for a 10k race (in just two weeks)
The following guide is designed for someone with some racing experience to get to the starting line in good shape to finish a 10K race. walking breaks may be required during the race depending on personal fitness level and race experience. This guide is not designed to help athletes run 10k in a fast time (skip to the bottom if that’s a goal).
1. Run multiple workouts at race pace
With only two weeks it’s not possible to make great physiological adaptations to your body. However, it is still a good idea to do several intense workouts at the desired speed. race pace develop the feeling of running at a fast pace.
2. Do one last hard workout
Do one last high-intensity workout four to five days before the race. This is usually one of the most important sessions for the preparation of the race.. It gives the muscles one last training stimulus and prepares the body for the upcoming demands of racing.
3. Don’t overtrain
One cannot pack 12 weeks of training into just two weeks. Some high-intensity workouts are important, but there should also be time to proper recovery. The last thing you want is to stand at the starting line with sore, fatigued muscles. That’s the surest way to guarantee a bad time.
4. The last week before a 10K race should look something like this:
- Six or seven days before the race:
long slow run – 30-45 minutes
- Four or five days before the race:
Intervals: 10 minute warm up / 4 x 5 minute 10K race pace with 3 minute jog between intervals / 10 minute cool down
- One or two days before the race:
Long continuous run followed by accelerations – 10-15 minutes / 3-5 accelerations
How to prepare for a 10k race for the first time
10k races are super popular because the distance is manageable for most people. Many people choose 10k as their first distance race. Here are some tips to prepare for the first attempt at a 10k race:
1. Consistency is key
Ideally, choose a 10K race at least eight weeks apart. This gives you plenty of time to run enough to train your body (especially your legs) to tolerate running for an extended period of time.
Beginner runners can run (and walk) for more than an hour. Working up to this duration/distance requires running at least three times a week. The speed and duration of the runs are less important than simply going for a run or walk a few times a week, as polarized training can improve the performance of recreational runners. Add no more than 15 percent more total distance per week.
Can’t you go for a run? No problem. Try this glute and leg workout at home instead:
2. Build long distances
Work up to at least 75 percent of the distance (7.5 km) for long runs. Try to do a long run once a week or at least every other week. Long runs will help build the muscular endurance to tolerate running 10k. They will also help build confidence that the distance is doable.
An easy way to add distance to your long run is to add 500m – 750m to your longest run. It may not sound like much, but it will add up!
3. Don’t worry about speed
You don’t burn a lot more calories by running faster. Speed work like HIIT and other forms of interval training can add too much intensity for new runners to tolerate. If the goal is simply to finish the first 10k, don’t worry about doing hard runs (unless you want to because they’re “fun”). Instead, just make sure you train consistently and avoid injury.
4. Take recovery seriously to avoid injury
Beginning runners may be tempted to run through the pain and soreness that comes from constantly training for their first 10K. Knowing when to ignore the pain and move on comes with athletic experience—beginning runners don’t have this luxury.
Novice runners are at higher risk of injury than others, as noted in The American Journal of Sports Medicine. Here are some indicators that one should stop or drastically reduce training:
- Sharp pains that come on suddenly mean stop running right away or risk injuring yourself.
- Prolonged pain and swelling are likely due to an overuse injury. Get some RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to reduce swelling and speed recovery. Don’t keep running on the injury, or it could get much worse.
- Nausea symptoms below the neck are not worth continuing to train.
- Consult a medical professional if in doubt.
Do this yoga-inspired recovery workout on recovery days to improve your body and mind:
5. Follow a 10k training plan
adidas Running Premium members can create a training plan suited to their skill level, goal finish time and race distance. The training plan guides training runs so new runners never run too fast and stay motivated to finish their race strong. Download adidas Running to see other unique features like Live Cheering!
How to prepare for a 10k race (intermediate-advanced)
Intermediate or advanced runners looking to improve their 10k time. They can also use 10k runs to build speed for a longer event like a Half marathon or marathon. 10k is a great distance to build speed and endurance without adding tons of fatigue. It requires good stamina, a high threshold, and maybe even a good sprint at the end. In other words, it’s a long way to go to become a well-rounded runner. Follow these tips to try out a new 10k PR:
1. Master rhythm changes
Running 10k faster requires training to run 10k faster. Plan to include HIIT sessions and other types of interval training before the race. Long runs with several miles run at or slightly above race pace are key workouts for race-specific intensity. Tempo and threshold workouts should be a staple in a quality intermediate to advanced race plan.
Don’t forget to include running exercises before or after your workouts. They help improve running economy and prevent injuries. Run that 10K like a gazelle doing the exercises in this video from a professional marathoner:
2. Strength training
Advanced runners and intermediate runners looking to jump to the next level should probably be doing strength training. As found in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Specific strength training can improve running performance. This does not mean going to the gym to gain muscle mass. Instead, bodyweight and functional training are enough. See adidas Training for a running-specific strength training program along with a running training plan.
Check out this super short core and lower back workout that’s a hit with runners!
3. Recover hard to train harder
Intermediate runners may be tempted to skimp on recovery to get into another tough training session. This is what separates intermediate runners from unlocking advanced running performance. Elite runners know when it’s time to take it easy and put their feet up on the couch for a nap.
4. Get a good training plan
Following a training plan tailored to specific goals and abilities is vital for intermediate to advanced runners. adidas Running even has customizable plans to help you hit a 40-minute 10k. Become a Premium Member and start a plan to establish a new PR in just a few weeks!
5. Warm up
Make sure you warm up properly on race day. Learn how warm-ups can optimize performance and find the perfect warm-up routine.