Then there's the best part—the finish line. It's that beautiful banner of plastic waiting for you to cross under it or through it. One step, then another and it's done, you've finished your first race. It's exhilarating, exciting and probably emotional to some extent. It's also a learning experience.
Now you know you have the mental and physical stamina to finish a 5K. You know you can set a goal and accomplish it. You can push through your nerves, your doubt and maybe even a bit of pain to finish a race.
Through the 5K experience, you also learned that training is important. You've gotten to know your body better. You've tested your limits and know you are capable of pushing them. It's this knowledge that will be the driving force to completing a 10K.
Now it's time to apply those tidbits of know-how you've gained along the way. First things first, mentally commit to running a 10K. Once you put your mind to it, everything else will follow. Sign up for a race. That mental commitment coupled with officially registering for a 10K race is a near foolproof method to ensure you'll follow through.
Find a 10K training schedule that aligns with your current fitness level and stick with it. Do the training runs and stay committed. Remind yourself where you came from, what you've already accomplished and visualize what you want to achieve. See yourself crossing that finish line after 6.2 miles of great effort; it will keep you moving forward.
Push yourself to go a bit further even when you're tired, even when it's been a long day or week. That extra push will pay off in the end. Pay attention to your body. If something aches, rest. Get sleep. Sustain a healthy diet to fuel your new runner's body. Set small goals and reward yourself when you attain them. Buy a new wicking shirt or some comfy socks as a reward for your hard work. It'll also inspire you to get out there and run some more.
And when you line up for your 10K on race day, you'll be ready. Every new distance is like a graduation. As you transition from a 5K to a 10K, you'll apply the knowledge and skills you've acquired to the longer distance. You build on what you've learned along the way.
By completing your first 10K (and you will), you will have that much more knowledge to apply to your first half marathon. A 5K is just the beginning. Where there's a 5K, there's a 10K. And where there's a 10K, a half marathon lurks around the bend. Just wait, you'll see.10K race.