Have you recently completed your first 5k race and are wondering now what?
First of all, congratulations on taking a step towards becoming more fit, happy, and establishing a healthy routine!
- How did you feel when you finished the 5k race?
- Were you tired and glad it was over, or did you feel like you could run further?
If the answers to the two questions above are positive and you feel motivated to do another 5k, or to even try a 10k, then you are officially a runner! What you should remember though, is that running is a skill you learn and improve over time and deciding to run a 10k once a week will not help to increase your form and endurance. It is better to stay consistent, go for shorter runs more often and slowly build your distance, pace, and energy.
If you are comfortable running a 5k, there is nothing stopping you from going further and do a 10k, but what will help you in the training process will be to work on your speed and confidence on shorter distances. If you start training for a 10k by improving your speed on a 5k, you will see that adding extra distance will slowly start to feel natural and won’t cause you any problems or extra effort.
To increase your endurance, you should include core-workouts and strength training into your routine, these will help with your breathing and energy usage during runs. Sprints will also help with breath control, muscle building, energy usage, and if your goal is to also lose more weight by running, increasing your speed is the key to that!
It is also important to let your body adapt. Making rapid changes to your workouts, speed, and intensity will only lead to tiredness and sore muscles, gradual build-up of intensity will ensure your body receives enough time to adapt and build strength to support your journey. You should start running at an easy pace, where you can talk and keep a conversation going, which means your body feels comfortable in the situation, which will later translate to a longer running time and ability to cover greater distance.
If you are currently used to running 12k per week (split into 3 running days) you should only increase the weekly total distance by no more than 2k, by adding another running day into your schedule. If you are a beginner, you need to ensure you go slow and allow time for your body to adapt. Once you increase your weekly distance, keep it the same for 2-3 weeks, and only when you are 100% comfortable, consider to add a bit more. The general rule suggests to add 10% onto your weekly distance, but that entirely depends on your level, skill, and comfort, therefore as a beginner going from 12k to 14k per week (16% increase) by adding an extra 2k run should not cause any trouble as long as you are currently comfortable and feel good when totalling 12k per week.
It is important to never forget to have fun! If you stop enjoying yourself and the training becomes too much to handle, you are more likely to lose motivation and engagement. By joining your local running club, you will be able to run within a community, make new friends, and ensure you have the support you need while staying motivated. By signing up for fun-runs such as mud, colour, and obstacle, you are also more likely to stay motivated and on track.
Let us know in the comments below how do you go about training and increasing your running distance, and any special secret tricks to running!