10 Steps to a Successful 10K

4. Vary your pace.

Don't run all your runs fast. Because a 10K is only 6.2 miles, many runners (especially intermediate and advanced runners) find themselves running all their runs at or close to race pace. A plan with varied-paced runs will help to improve endurance—both aerobic and muscular. It will also help to increase your pace. Runners that run fast with every run thinking they'll eventually get faster often find they stagnate or hit a wall with their speed and can't get any faster. A weekly regimen of short easy runs, speed work (hills and/or intervals), a tempo run and a slow long run will help to increase pace as well as better prepare you overall for race day as well as keep your injury free.

More: When Do I Run at Race Pace?

5. Run long.

It may seem odd to have "long runs" in a 10K training plan, but they are key in helping to improve your aerobic glycogen metabolism (energy making). Increasing your longest runs through the duration of the training program to mileage longer than the race length will help tremendously in making your energy production more efficient. If you're a beginner, having your longest run go to 7 miles will suffice. Intermediate runners can take their longest long run to 9 miles and the advanced runner can run his/her longest long run up to 12 miles.

Remember that a long run is an easy slow run. These runs are designed to increase distance endurance. Most of your long runs should be run about 1-minute slower than your 10K race pace. In the second half of your training, it's good mentally and physically to start picking up the pace to your 10K race pace during the last couple of miles of your long runs. This teaches your body and your brain that you have the ability to "pick-it-up" later in the run.

6. Tune up with a tempo.

Having a weekly tempo run is a great way to boost your VO2Max. VO2Max is the volume of oxygenated blood getting to the muscles to make energy. The higher your VO2Max, the longer it takes for fatigue to set in. A traditional tempo run begins and ends with a 1-mile warm-up/cool-down. The miles in between are run at tempo pace (about 30 seconds slower than your 10K race pace). A 3-mile tempo run is good for beginners (1-mile warm-up, 1 mile at tempo pace, 1-mile cool-down). A 4-mile tempo run is good for intermediate runners (1-mile warm-up, 2 miles at tempo pace, 1-mile cool-down) and a 5 to 6-mile tempo run is great for advanced runners (1-mile warm-up, 3 to 4 miles at tempo pace, 1-mile cool-down).

More: 4 Tempo Run Workouts to Tune Up Your Training

7. Keep the intervals at race pace.

Rotating intervals with hill workouts each week is great for all levels of runners. It's great for beginners to run 400m and 800m intervals. To do this workout, begin with a 1-mile warm-up followed by a series of 400m or 800m intervals at race pace. Each speed interval should be followed by a recovery jog of half the distance of the fast interval. Four to six sets of intervals makes a great beginner workout.

Ladders are great interval workouts for intermediate. To complete a ladder, begin with a 1-mile warm-up; then do a 400m interval at your 10K race pace followed by a walk at half the distance of the interval (in this case 200m.) Continue increasing the distance to 800m (400m recovery jog), 1200m (600m recovery jog), and end with a 1600m (800m recovery walk). Advanced runners can do a pyramid, which is a climbing the ladder and then coming back down. So, the 1600m at the top of the ladder would be followed by another 1200m then an 800m, and ending with a 400m. Remember to wrap up each speed workout with an easy 1-mile jog and some stretching.

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