A 10-kilometer, or 6.2-mile, run requires significant energy and stamina from a runner. Adequate preparation is paramount for a runner to perform optimally. Adopting and adhering to a training plan can help you meet your incremental running goals. Training the week of a 10K involves eating right, getting enough rest, engaging in a proper warm-up and staying hydrated.
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates during the week of your 10K. Runners tend to cut back on protein and fat and eat more carbohydrates the week of the race. On training days with more intense running, eat smaller, more frequent meals. Try to stay away from high-fiber foods the day before and the day of the race, as these foods may cause an unwanted bathroom break during the race. Consuming a high-carbohydrate meal, such as spaghetti with whole wheat noodles, the night before the race may help prepare your body for the run. Additionally, eating a high-carbohydrate meal three hours before the race and drinking a carbohydrate and electrolyte supplement, such as a sports beverage, during the race may enhance your overall endurance.
Your body needs adequate rest throughout your training, but particularly the week of your 10K. Cut back your running mileage and decrease your cross-training workouts. A couple of leisurely two- to three-mile runs during the three to seven days before the race will help maintain your endurance and keep your legs loose for race day. Typically, a runner should rest rather than exercise the two days leading up to the race. Get plenty of sleep during the nights leading up to the run for optimal performance.
On race day, you want your muscles to function at their optimal capacity. Warming the muscles prior to the race prepares your body for the impending run. Take a warm shower the morning of the race to start the process. Begin preparing your muscles approximately 30 minutes prior to the race. Start by walking at a fast pace and increase your pace to a leisurely run for 10 minutes. Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, abductors, obliques and calves for a total of 15 minutes. Finish your race-day warm-up with four 100-meter pick-ups. Your body will be prepared for the stress of the race and seamlessly transition into running the 10K.
Your body needs to remain hydrated continuously throughout your training, especially the week before your 10K. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and other diuretics that can cause your body to become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water, as well as sports or energy drinks that contain electrolytes. Drinking large quantities of water and sweating can cause your sodium levels to drop. Replenishing your body with electrolytes before and during the race will prevent any imbalances and help you perform your best.
- ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal; Timing of Energy and Fluid Intake New Concepts for Weight Control and Hydration; Dan Benardot, Ph.D., L.D.
- Hal Higdon: 10-K Training Guide – Novice Program
- Multisports.com: Running Race Warm-up and Pacing Strategies