Is this you? “I just signed up for my first 10k run! Help, I need to prepare and don’t know how!” If it is then you’re in the right place at the right time. In this article we’re going to outline a basic approach that’ll have you feeling far more prepared, confident and ready to train. Let’s get the ball tumbling.
Step 1: Invest in Good Gear!
Here’s the basics: you need clothes that breathe and a solid pair of shoes. Everything else is a luxury. You know, like an iPod strapped to your arm rocking a playlist, a really sleek and noticeable sports watch or a pair of Bolle’s.
The Clothes: You’re going to be doing a fair amount of running so get used to your body being hot and sweaty. Meaning only wear long sleeve shirts and sweats or body-gear if you plan to run in a cold rainy climate. Otherwise shorts with stretch and t-shirts are the way to go.
Your Kicks: These are the most important thing of all. Without a great pair of jogging shoes you’re in trouble. They need to fit, but be about a half-size too big so there’s so give while jogging. They also need to provide ankle/arch support, but not TOO much support. Too much leads to feet-cramps.
Hey, since you’re going to be spending so much time in your jogging/training gear, you might as well invest in them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an $80-$100 of running shoes! And remember, you need to allow time to break in a pair of treads before the run.
Step 2: Do a Little Homework
If you’re new to fitness in general, then you need to do a little research. As you’ll be undergoing tons of training, your nutritional demand is naturally going to go up. It would be a good idea here to visit your doctor or a certified fitness professional who can tell you your exact BMI and daily caloric demand.
Your daily caloric demand is what your body needs just to work and do everything it does throughout the day. If you plan on running 3, then 4, then 6, then 8 to 10 kms a week plus hit up the gym…that’s literally thousands and thousands of calories you need to compensate for.
Carb Dominant: Your diet is going to tip towards carbs, but you still need healthy fats and protein in each meal plus extra micronutrients. Be ready to eat a ton and this is the most important part of training so don’t be afraid to lay the groundwork with a little research.
Step 3: Start Small & Run Big
It’s pretty simple, you need to start running. Now, 10km is a decent-sized run. For your average person just completing the race is daunting. Start small. Meaning, literally begin to jog and go as far as you can physically and mentally. Then, push a bit further each time until you can pretty much run the entire race…before the race.
Treadmills help in the beginning because they track everything for you. Eventually you should invest in a heart rate watch or heart rate monitor watch for when you’re jogging on the road or around the track.
Step 4: Train Your Mind & Your Entire Musculature
Running is hard for beginners. It seems like both your mind and body hate running; detest it. Your ankles ache, your lungs are burning, your mind won’t stop complaining, etc. All you have to do is just keep going. Keep pushing. Keeping jogging. Eventually your mind will begin to focus on other more positive things. Here’s a few tips:
Goal Orientated: How far are you setting out to run tomorrow morning? 2 kms or 5? In how much time per kilometre? Get a goal for each run and then no matter how much resistance your mind or body give you, you’re on a mission! Adapt and overcome.
Focus on Breathing: Cramps suck. Oxygen, however, rocks. Focusing on your breathe gives your mind something else to think about, and you can use it to build a rhythm into your run that also works wonders on entertaining the mind.
Visualize: Once you reach the point where running becomes very pleasurable to your mind and body, you can use your jogging time to visualize your goals/aspirations in life (conquering the 10k!).
Yes, you should also do plenty of resistance training as well to not only build a little lean mass, but enhance your muscular endurance as well. There’s absolutely no point in lifting really heavy weight to build tons of muscle though. You’re going to be doing way too much cardio for that. Stick with circuits and functional training.
Step 5: Understand Carb-Loading and Hydration
You could have the best most technologically advanced fitness accessories on earth. You can have the sports watch and expensive shoes. But, if you don’t have enough energy on race day you’re sunk!
Don’t train so hard that you’re burned out or completely sore. Or worse, you didn’t properly load carbs or hydrate in the last day or two before the big day. A good idea here would be to head online to the huge 10k communities, or jogging communities that talk heartily and openly about this subject. So, let’s summarize.
Step 1: Invest in good gear: shoes, clothes, heart rate watch and any fitness accessories.
Step 2: Get to know your current BMI and understand the nutritional requirements.
Step 3: Start running, then progressively increase your time/distance per session.
Step 4: Your mind plays a huge role on a long run. Tame it. Yes, resistance train.
Step 5: Study-up on proper carb-loading before big runs as well as hydration demands.