How To Train For A 10K Race With Limited Time

How To Train For A 10K Race With Limited Time

Entered a 10K but up against it with a busy schedule?

Most of us have to fit running training around a seriously busy schedule. Work, kids, partner, and all those non-running things which demand our time. Here’s how to get 10K training done on just a few runs a week (assuming you’re not a complete beginner).

You’ll Need:

3 running sessions per week (maximum 60 minutes)
1 cross training session per week (30-45 minutes)
Bonus: 1 strength session per week (30 minutes)

Do Three Running Sessions Per Week

Three actual running sessions a week is the minimum we’d recommend if you want to run your way around a 10K. Hopefully this is doable even for very busy women. For a 10K, even your longest run won’t be more than an hour. Scale back the frequency, but keep the intensity and quality of your runs high. Those three runs should always include a long run, with the other two being some kind of tempo or threshold run, and some kind of speed work.

Cross Train Once Per Week

Your fourth session of the week should be cardio, but not running. Make this fourth fitness session cardio on the bike, cross trainer, rower, or a swim if you can make it intense enough. All you are looking to do here is work your cardiovascular system, but without the impact of running.

Use Hills To Your Advantage

On your longest run of the week, seek out different local routes. Add in hills, inclines, different terrains and surfaces. Not only will this keep you from getting bored, but it’ll help your race fitness too. Hills are especially good for this. Adding hills into any run will make you work harder, and burn more calories, in the same amount of time.

Simple Strength Training Strategies

If you have time for a fifth session during the week, make it strength training. You don’t need to go to the gym for this (that would hardly help your busy schedule!) Do body weight exercises at home. Squats and lunges, core exercises, and push ups will all boost your strength and stability. A strong body will be better at running, and less prone to injury.

Can You Still Get A PB?

But what if you want to get a PB at this 10K? Can you really train for a PB on just a few running sessions a week? Yes, you can, if the goal is a 10K. Make sure your training runs are quality, and that you don’t waste any sessions on junk miles. Make one of your weekly training runs a tempo run – running at 10K race pace, so your body and mind get used to maintaining an uncomfortable pace.

Don’t Be Afraid To Rest

If you get injured or feel ill during your 10K training, please rest. If you’re already very busy, it’s likely that you’re stressed. Stress plus training will lead to exhaustion. A few days off won’t do your training any harm. But pushing through fatigue could lead to injury, loss of motivation, or long term damage.

No Panicking

And if you do have to miss a few training runs, don’t panic. Never try to play catch-up by adding extra sessions to your training plan. Stick to the schedule and do what you can. It’s better to turn up to your race slightly under-trained but well rested. As long as you can get round, you will be fine. And you’ll be fit and healthy enough to tackle your next race.

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