Training tips

How to Train for a 10K – Getting Started

It’s never too early to start training, and for those wishing to achieve an optimal performance, or at least an injury-free preparation, then its time to get started with your training. The race isn’t just for athletics enthusiasts. Even if you have never taken part in a race of this kind, or indeed any regular exercise at all, both taking part and completion are achievable aims. There’s no reason why you can’t jog it! The key to training success lies in beginning gently and gradually building up both the duration and intensity of your 10K training sessions. Leaving enough time to take things easy will allow you to reach your goal injury-free and without feeling that you’re over-doing it. Plus, a pair of Polaroid sports sunglasses which are lightweight and durable will help your performance.

Why bother?

Regular physical activity can greatly improve your quality of life. The sense of achievement attached to accomplishing goals you have set yourself can really kick your self-esteem into shape. Regular activity will also allow you to build up increased levels of strength and stamina so that everyday tasks will take less out of you giving you more energy to spend enjoying yourself. Exercise also has the capacity to lift the blues and has been shown in studies to be at least as effective as drugs in treating mild depression. In short, active living means you get to live a better life for longer!

How to run

Speed is not the be all and end all. The most important thing here is finding a pace that feels comfortable to you. You should be able to describe your activity as ‘somewhat hard’. This basically means a pace that allows you to hold a conversation whilst on the move – if you are too breathless to talk you should slow down.

Where to run

This is entirely up to you but you should try and vary the routes and surfaces you run on. Not only will this help to prevent boredom but it will also save your legs – running on hard surfaces like tarmac can give them a bit of a pounding. If you enjoy running at the roadside try to give yourself a break now and then. If you have access to an indoor or outdoor running track you might want to try this, alternatively you could use the treadmills at your local gym or explore some of your local cycle paths or walking routes. Anything that is a bit spongier underfoot will be greatly appreciated by your hard-working pins.

What to wear

A good pair of running shoes is a necessity. It’s probably worth a visit to your local sports shop for some expert advice. Spend a bit of time and money on this in the first instance and you’re likely to save yourself additional costs in the long run. Apart from that you can wear anything you like – tracksuit, leggings, shorts and t-shirt – the bottom line is that you feel comfortable and movement isn’t restricted

When not to run

Don’t run if you don’t feel up to it. If you are feeling unwell it’s better to leave things for a few days rather than risk illness or injury. In general, training through illness will delay your recovery and exercising through a cold or flu isn’t good for you. It’s also best to leave at least two hours after eating a meal before you exercise. This will give you time to digest your food and prevent indigestion or feelings of discomfort during exercise. If you feel really peckish before your run a light snack like a banana should fill the holes without leading to discomfort.

No pain no gain

This is a myth although, unfortunately, it hasn’t died yet. Discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that it is being pushed to dangerous limits and if you feel uncomfortable you should ease down. Avoid overworking yourself as this is likely to put you off – enjoy your exercise and there is a much greater chance that you’ll keep it up.

Cooling down

You should follow each training session with a cool down period. Don’t come to a standstill immediately after your training run as this can make you feel a bit dizzy or light-headed. Instead, keep yourself on the move with a gentle walk for 5 minutes or so. It is important to stretch after training to minimise any tightness and stiffness and so helping to prevent injury in subsequent exercise sessions. To get the most from your post-exercise stretching hold each position for at least 10-15 seconds. As before the stretch should only be held as far as is comfortable, it shouldn’t be sore or uncomfortable and your limb shouldn’t shake. It’s also important that you hold the stretch steady without bouncing it.

Finally, remember that if you are very overweight, haven’t exercised for many years, are a heavy smoker, receiving medication or are pregnant it is important that you consult your doctor before exercising.

For further training advice, visit Jog Scotland.