You've pinned on the race number, attached the chip to your shoes, munched on the finish line snacks, and reveled in the accomplishment of crossing the finish line at your first 5K race. You're not a veteran racer yet, but you finally know what comes with the road-racing territory. Now it's time to set your sights on a bigger goal: Your first 10K race.
A 10K race may sound daunting. But you've done the prep work, so going from 5K to 10K should be a breeze.
"This isn't a difficult jump at all," says Jennifer Gill, a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified distance running coach based in Washington D.C. "It's not like you have to do double the mileage in every training run, you just add a little here and a little there, especially to your weekly long runs."
"I can understand why people find it intimidating, but it doesn't have to be," Gill says. "If you do it the right way, you can definitely get to 10K."
Several simple changes in mileage and intensity will get you to a 10K in as little as six weeks. You already have the fitness, now it's time to take things to the next level. As you prepare for the longer distance, there are a number of elements you should add to your training. Consider the following as your put together your plan of attack.
Be sure to complete several 6-mile long runs prior to race day. Begin by adding 10 percent to your total mileage each week. If you ran 15 miles last week, run a total of 16.5 miles the next week.
Gill recommends adding most of this extra mileage to your long run each week. As you get into training, consider adding a mile or two to your mid-week runs, as well. Spreading out the mileage throughout the week and placing special emphasis on the long run prepares your body for successfully finishing a 10K.