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Top 10K Tips


Be strong: Runners work hard on training their legs, but you also need to workout your upper body and core stomach muscles to really improve your running. Start a simple daily strengthening routine - press-ups, arm curls, pull-ups, sit-ups. Do as many as you can and do them when you come back warm from your run. You should try to increase the number of repetitions of each exercise on a weekly basis.

 Motivation: When training for a race, keep yourself feeling motivated by varying your workout location - it's good to have something fresh to look at. Also, try to find someone to do your longer runs with - they need to be at your stage of ability, otherwise you risk being dragged along too fast or not working hard enough.

Tired midsoles? At least a month before the 10K race, decide if your 'trusty old trainers' need to be pensioned off. The key to a running shoe's effectiveness is the midsole - the part of the shoe designed to absorb the shock of your foot hitting the road more than 1000 times a mile. An old shoe may look fine but the midsole is probably defunct as a cushioner. Visit a specialist running shop in the afternoon when your feet will be bigger. Keep looking until you find a pair of shoes that fit your feet.

Interval training: Once your legs and lungs are comfortable with steady running and your upper body and core strength is developing nicely, you should introduce an 'interval running' session into your training. This means mixing your pace to get your legs used to moving quicker. After some 10 mins running to warm up, run at a faster pace for about 200m, slow down to a jog for the next 200m, then do 9 repetitions. Complete your run at your normal pace.

Be careful: The hardest part of training for a race is getting to the starting line without picking up an injury. Once you start including some fast strides in your workouts, you may just start to feel a muscle twinge when you stretch it a bit further than it's used to. If you do get a 'pull', don't be a hero. Get some treatment and stop running until it heals. The same applies if you catch a cold - rest until you feel better.

Course profile: In your last month of training, it's time to think about the race. Spend some time researching the course - find information in the race guide, on the race website or in running magazines. If the course is known to be hilly, you should try to include some 'ups and downs' in your longer training runs. On the uphill, shorten your stride but try to keep the tempo the same as when you're on the flat. Going downhill, lengthen your stride and make use of the gradient. Do not check your stride as your knees will suffer if you do.

Keep hydrated: Find out about drink/water stations on the course. You may need to drink water during the run, especially if it's hot on the day. It would be sensible to practice running with a small plastic water bottle to get used to drinking water on the run

Build up: Approximately 3 weeks before the race, check out the kit that you intend to wear on race day. Make sure that any new shorts, vest and socks not only look good but still feel comfortable after 45 mins running. If you bought new shoes they should now be very comfortable. Increase the length of your speed-work 'stride' to 300m - your heart/lung machine should be benefiting from the good training you are doing.

Wind-down: The week before the race should still include some quality running, but short stuff. And you have 2 days off before the race - don't worry about this lapse, you won't forget how to run by race day! Eat more carbohydrates than you normally do in the last 3 days.

Race day: Don't eat anything for at least 2 hours before the race. If it is hot, drink plenty of water before the race. Get to the start area in good time so that you can find out where everything is located - the loos, baggage area, assembly area and start area. This way you can stay calm and collected and focused on the race. Warm up for 15 minutes before having to go to the assembly area and then try to stay warm and loose until the start.

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