How to Train for Your First 10K

First Time 10K Training Routine

Your most important training tool just might be a calendar. It helps you track your accomplishments and plan your goals.

A 10K requires thoughtful workouts that are geared specifically towards this distance. You won't have to do much research to find a plan because you can find free training schedules all over the Web.

For a 10K, you can expect to see a lot of 8-week training programs. Conveniently, most running programs are listed in printer-friendly table format. You'll see an example on the next page.

If you're totally new to race preparation, realize that training doesn't require you to run seven days per week. Most regimens direct you to run four to five days per week, and many plans will let you substitute cross training activities (such as biking or swimming) for one run per week.

A beginner's regimen won't push you to set any land-speed records. It will, however, acclimate you to running specific distances and help you build your endurance for a 10K run.

After you choose a training program, commit to it. Tell your friends and family about the race. Regardless of whether they support your endeavor or show up to watch, knowing that they know about your goal will apply some psychological pressure to your efforts and push you follow through.

Many runners obsessively time their practice runs. If you really want to nail down statistics associated with your workouts, there are hundreds of high-tech gadgets that can track your speed, calories burned, distance, running route and other relevant information. Some are equipped with heart monitors, which help you see exactly how your body responds to the workout.

Before you splurge on an expensive GPS tracker, consider using a device you already own. Many smartphones let you use feature-loaded running apps that are just as accurate as standalone gadgets. Plus, you'll be able to make calls in the event of an emergency. But don't feel pressured to buy any of these items. All you really need is a comfortable pair of shoes.

On the next page, we'll look at an example of a basic 10K training schedule.