Posted by: Joe English | January 19, 2011

Training — Moving Up From a 5K to 10K

running-advice-bugNow that we’re into the new year, many people are making resolutions and looking to take their fitness challenges to new heights. This week’s question is a good one on that theme. Now many people may read this question and think, “what’s the big deal in moving from a 5K to 10K”, but the principles can be applied to any distance. Besides, for those of you that think this is not a big deal, remember when you first started running and running a few blocks was hard? Well, moving from a 5K to 10K is double the distance, so let’s keep that in mind. First, here’s the question from Dawn:

I just finished the c25k, yeah and ran my first 5k. Yeah. We have a big 10k in Green Bay in June that I walked last year and I think I want to run it this year. Do you know of any good programs to go from a 5k to a 10k? Any good plans? I plan on trying to do a 5k each month or so to keep me running, gotta have a goal.

The first thing we should say is congratulations and you are on the right track. Racing as frequently as once a month is a very good thing. It is not only good for keeping you on track toward your goals, but races bring out the competitor in almost all of us* and they tend to be very good workouts. Nothing like someone breathing down your neck to get you to pick it up at the end of your run. So while I often mention the need to do “quality” workouts, races fit nicely into that category. Personally, I have been known to race 5Ks almost every weekend and count that as one additional quality workout during my training week, because I can push so much harder in races.

[* I stop to note a funny experience in which I was escorting a person who shall remain nameless here that veered off a race-course to go to a farmer’s marketing during a 10K. That person’s inner-animal was brought out by shopping.]

Let’s get to the main part of the question now: how can you move up from one race distance to the next? Here’s the best way to approach it. You’re going to start by looking at the total number of miles you are running in a week and you’ll increase that by not more than 10% every other week. You’ll do this by adding mileage to one of your weekly runs, which will eventually lead you to be able to run the total distance that you are trying to reach.

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