Every year, tens of thousands of runners flock to popular spring and summer 10K events such as the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans, the Bolder Boulder in Colorado, and in my hometown of Atlanta, the Peachtree Road Race, which I've run 35 times. The festive atmosphere and hoards of cheering fans draw runners in. And you can join the fun. First, find the best race for you. With at least eight weeks between now and race day, you've got plenty of time to build up to completing 6.2 miles safely and comfortably.
At a minimum, you need to run three times a week to prepare for a 10K. Do two 30-minute runs on, say, Tuesday and Thursday, and a long run on the weekend. When possible, add an additional 20-minute easy run to your schedule to increase time on your feet.
More: 3 Rules for Easy Runs
Every other weekend, increase your long run by one to 1.5 miles. Continue adding mileage until you're running 6.5 to 7 miles two weeks before race day. Keep the pace at least three minutes per mile slower than the pace you ran your last 5K (or simply where it's comfortable to talk). Consider inserting a 30-to 60-second walk break every one to three minutes. On alternating weekends, keep your long run to 30 minutes.
Chill OutIf this is your first 10K, you don't have to exercise on non-running days. Doing too much may hasten fatigue. If you don't like being idle, go for a walk. But remember, what you do during the hours you're not running can make or break your workout, so follow these rules for a perfect day off.
The week before your big day, do your two 30-minute runs. Two days before the race, rest and allow your legs to recharge. If you need to burn off some nervous energy the day before the event, go for a very slow, very short run (no longer than 15 minutes). Read more about the top race mistakes to avoid in preparation for race day.race.