6 Weeks Till a 10k Race

by Melissa

I just signed up for a 10k race in 6 weeks' time (not technically my first, but the first after many, many years of not running :)).

I've been building up my running since the fall, and so far my training consists for 3 workouts a week: 1 workout at the gym (a slow 2 mile run on the treadmill + weights), 1 medium length run (about 4 miles - some weeks slow, some at faster pace), 1 long slow run (I've been building this up - my longest so far is 7 miles). My slow runs are at about 13 miles per minute (12:45 on a good day) and include walk breaks on the long runs. About once every two weeks I try to do a faster run - my best so far has been two intervals of 1.5 miles at 11:20mpm with a 2-3 minute break in between (but i found that pretty hard!).

My question is what kind of training should I do for the remaining 6 weeks, and also what sort of time should I aim for in my 10k?

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your 10k running training questions.

It is great to see that you have been consistently training three times a week. It is a good amount to build some fitness. And to slowly, but surely, get stronger, build more endurance and get faster!

And you can see from your running training progress with building up the mileage that you are making progress.

I'll provide you with two very valid approaches to continue your training:

1. Build up mileage
2. Add some quality workouts
3. Do both?
4. 10k Race prediction

six weeks till a 10k race

Build up Mileage

The first approach is to continue to do mostly slow running and to focus on building up your mileage a bit more. Check out the Increasing Mileage Safely page to learn more (although I suspect you have been following the approach mostly anyways)!

The 10k is long. And endurance is the key ingredient to a faster 10k. So, seeing if you can slowly add some mileage is always a good idea. You could add a short 2-3 mile recovery run, increasing your workouts to four per week. You could also try to add a little bit more to your long run. You could do both. Adding small recovery runs (at a very easy pace) are pretty low risk and high reward. Over time all those extra easy miles add up.

Add Some Quality Workouts

The second approach is to continue to do mostly slow running and build up your mileage somewhat (maybe a little less than the first approach), but to include some intervals / speed work in the current 4 mile workout.

To start off with I would recommend shorter intervals than the ones you have been doing. 1.5 miles is a very long way to run faster and it is no wonder you found that hard. For somebody starting to run fast, I'd recommend fartleks for a bit of unstructured speedplay or short intervals of 30-60 seconds with similar rest periods in between.

Even if you were to give tempo running a try (I think the 1.5 miles would have been done at about tempo pace), I'd recommend starting off with way shorter tempo intervals than the 1.5 miles. Do something like 6 x 3 minutes tempo with 1 minute break in between, then slowly build up from there.

Do Both?

You might be tempted to implement a bit of both, i.e. increase your mileage and do the quality workouts. I am not saying a blanket no to that. But you want to be careful. Increasing mileage increases injury risk. Doing faster workouts increases injury risk. So, you need to remain sensible. With three running workouts a week, there is a lot of rest in your schedule, so you will likely find that you will be ok and that there is capacity to do both.

But listen to your body throughout. And if there are warning signs, listen to them. Don't ignore them and push through.

10k Race Prediction

You asked for a race prediction as well. Hard to say for a first 10k, without any other races to compare it to. I tried to reverse-engineer it by using the Running Pace Calculator.

With a bit of trial and error, I got to the following: if I plug in a time of 70 minutes for 10k, it gets reasonably close to your current easy pace on the long run and looks to be in the ballpark as well for your tempo pace (which I have assumed is probably about that pace you ran for the 1.5 mile intervals). So, based on that, give or take 70 minutes I would say.

Hope that provides some guidance on how to approach your training in the last six weeks.
Enjoy, best of luck in your first 10k run and I hope it is the first of many to come!

Kind regards,

10k running tips

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