Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile will probably know that I’m an avid runner. To read more about my passion for running, click here. I spent my 20s doing a lot of long distance running, including many half marathons and an entire marathon. When I turned 30, I discovered the 10k and have never looked back. Last summer, I made it my goal to compete in the YMCA 10k Summer Series in the Auckland Domain and managed to complete the first half of the races – a dozen – successfully, before I had a relapse and was unable to run anymore.
I have put together some tips for those of you who are looking to run your best 10k ever, and that means not just an improvement on speed but with strength and good form too, which are also important.
o When it comes to training, less is more. It’s the quality, not quantity of your training, that counts! Aim to run three times a week, no more than this. If you’re training for 10k events, then only one of your runs each week should be this distance. The other two runs should be shorter. You might do a 5k run as fast as you can and a tabata session for the other run. This was the advice given to me by a runner at the YMCA 10k Summer Series, which I followed. I found that I was able to improve my times more effectively than doing three 10k runs every week, which was wearing me out
o In saying that, I managed to lose a lot of weight by doing three 10k runs every week last winter, in order to prepare for the summer season. If you’re after weight loss and are not that concerned about improving your speed, longer runs may help with this
o To improve your speed, try doing a short run at the pace you want to achieve. If you get bored running by yourself, you might want to try the 5k event Park Run, which is held weekly around the world. It’s free and a great way to make training more fun. Park Run is very popular with runners at the YMCA. For those in South and East Auckland, there’s one held every Saturday at Barry Curtis Park at 8 am
o Another way to improve your speed is tabata. Try doing a 20 second sprint followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat 8 times. I found that tabata gave me the stamina to sprint towards the finish line in my 10k races, when you need that extra burst of speed
o To improve your speed, you could also try Fartlek training. This is basically interval training without a particular pattern
o You can do interval training both outdoors and on the treadmill, but it’s easier to monitor your speed when training indoors on the treadmill
o For 10ks, don’t run too fast in your first 5k. When I did the YMCA Summer Series at the Auckland Domain last summer, there was a very experienced runner who did this and inevitably ended up walking towards the end when I was able to sprint past her, thanks to the tabata training I had been doing (see above)
o A lot of people put trail and road running in separate boxes, but sometimes you need to think outside the box. Off-road running, which is generally much tougher, can help you improve your road running
o Having decent running gear always helps. Invest in a quality pair of running shoes and look for dri-fit clothing that absorbs moisture from sweat and rain
o Enter into a 10k event. Having a race to work towards gives you motivation