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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Training for a 10K Run

In a previous post, I provided a training plan to run a 5k to those who are starting to get into a running program. That plan involved a combination of run-walk for specified time periods during an eight week program.

In this article, I am providing information on 10K training programs that can be used by folks who are beginners as well as seasoned runners. Over the years I used a program called FIRST to train for various distances from 10Ks and half marathons to marathons. FIRST stands for Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. Apparently they did extensive research and concluded that running three times per week can be just as effective than running more often. Whether that is true or not, the three-times-a-week program has always been attractive to me not necessarily because I proved to myself that it works better than other programs I've tried, but mainly because the three-times-a-week thing works well with family, work, and other responsibilities.

I feel it is a great program to follow for those who have a full time job and also want to take on a running program to work toward the goal of finishing a 5K, 10K or longer footrace. The FIRST 10K training program can be found here. This program is based largely on a person's finish time of a 5K run. You can do this either by taking part in a 5K run event, following the 8 week training program in my previous post or, if you have a GPS watch that measures distance (such as Garmin, Polar, Suuntu, etc.) you can run 3.1 miles on your local trail (without lollygagging) and note the time it took you to complete that distance.

The FIRST program's 10K training page refers to certain tables in a book entitled Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster to calculate your training paces. However, you don't need to spend money on purchasing that book simply for that reason (unless you want to get it for the other, very useful, information that is in there), because a great pace calculator is available for free on the RunnersWorld website.

For those who want a more customized 10K training program, RunnersWorld provides great training programs free as well. In case the link does nto work, go to, click on Tools, then on Smart Coach. These programs can be customized based on each person's finish time from a previous 5K or a 10K. Simply enter your finish time in the drop-down box, put in the distance you want to train for (5K to marathon), the miles you currently run per week, and how hard you want to train. Finally, pick a day for your long runs (generally Saturday or Sunday for most people), and enter how many weeks you wish to train and voila! You get a customized training schedule. Click on the above link ("training programs")and check it out.

A 10K can be found almost every city or town throughout the year. The best way to get started is simply to sign up for one that is about three months out. This way, you can get 2-3 months' training done so you feel good crossing the finish line.

As can be seen from the training programs provided in the links here, training for a 10K does not involve a large time investment - heck, most people can train for a 10K in the morning before leaving for work or during lunchtime. Even an after work run help train you and may help blow off some work-related stress before relaxing for the evening.

Most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy the process.

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