Tackling the 10K

Tackling the 10K:
Newbie Mistakes


A natural progression from 5K races is to conquer a 10K race and it doesn't command excessive training but it offers enough of a challenge to keep those competitive juices flowing.

So, when runners make the jump from doing 5Ks to 10Ks, here are some of the most common training mistakes new runners make and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Enough Preparation

Most relatively healthy individuals can complete a 5K race with adequate training time. 10K races, on the other hand, take a little more preparation to ensure that the event is completed without injury. 
Runners need to understand the importance of incorporating a progression of mileage into their 10K training programs. This progression takes place by slowly incorporating long run -- completed at a slower pace than you would usually -- into the routine.

It is important to get the body used to the impact from running. The strength in the tissues gained from lower-intensity running is really key. It is often common for runner who are new to 10Ks to fail to build up enough mileage. The slower and longer runs (done consistently) are essential to training for the 10K.

Mistake #2: Too Much Preparation

Believe it or not, it is possible to "overtrain" for a 10K distance. This usually occurs when runners attempt to train too hard, too fast. 
Trying to add speed to long runs or running tempo runs too fast are common mistakes. A runner who does this will essentially break down the body or get injured. Runners should be aware of the possibility of overtraining before it's too late. To avoid making overtraining mistakes, it is important for runners to vary the frequency and intensity of training runs appropriately.

Mistake #3: Failing to Vary the Training Program

A good 10K training program should include the right combination of long runs, tempo runs and maintenance runs. Cross training on "days off" from running is also an element that can be included. Pacing is crucial component to a 10K program -- training program paces are based on a runner's current best 5K race pace according to the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST). The 5K race times are good benchmarks for the training paces. Race paces should be practiced during tempo runs and not long runs. Tempo runs are "race practice" and should be completed within 15 seconds of desired race pace to ensure that a runner is ready for race day.


Karen Craney
Training Program Coordinator
RRCA Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg, MD

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