So you have made it to 5k and want to progress? Firstly, congratulations. It's a huge accomplishment. The next logical step is a 10k. It can be daunting, but just think about how scared you were of your first kilometre. The thing is, after finishing your first 5k you have learnt lots of really important running skills and your confidence has increased.
Think of it like this: the first 5k is usually the hardest, but you're probably 'in the zone' by now and have found your pace.
Your breathing gets more relaxed and controlled and many of you have probably learnt the skill of breathing while running instead of holding your breath.
You've gotten to know your body better. You've pushed outside your comfort zone and you know you are capable of more. This is the driving force to completing a 10k.
First things first, mentally commit to running a race. This will ensure you'll follow through. Sign up for the FIT Magazine 10k on March 9, this gives you plenty of time to prepare. Use the training programme below to take you safely to your goal. Stick to it religiously. On those tough days, visualise the end goal. I truly believe that distance running is 90pc mental, 10pc physical.
Be kind to your body but know that you can be pushed. Challenge yourself to go a bit further even when tired.
Rest is, however, hugely important as you increase your mileage. You must allow the muscles time to recover in order for them to work efficiently. As with the 5k, listen to your body and pay attention to aches. If in doubt, see a physiotherapist. Niggles can become full-blown injuries.
You may find as you train harder that you need extra food. Maintain a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and carbohydrates. Diets will differ from runner to runner. One thing is sure, your body won't function right with nothing in it, so fuel pre- and post-runs.
Train with others who have done this before. Learn from them, runners are always more than happy to talk about their experiences. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals or who support your ones.
Strength: If you're a member of a gym I recommend a kettlebell class or any conditioning class. Circuit training classes or body pump classes are great. If you can, strength train at home by doing squats, lunges, planks, press-ups. Next week I will share with you a couple of great workouts that you can do at home.
Cross training: Spinning, bike ride, aerobics, swimming. You should go easier on cross-training days, allowing your body to recover.
Best of luck!
For more tips on running, fitness and health find us on facebook.com/positivefitnesspt and Twitter: @LizCostigan
To participate in this 10k programme, you should have no major health problems, should be in reasonably good shape, and have completed the Couch to 5k programme.
Monday - Strength
Tuesday - 4k run
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 35 min cross-train
Friday - 3k run
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 6k run