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Successful 10K Training in 6 weeks

A good time-line for training for a road race is one week per mile of the race, so allow about 6 weeks for solid 10k training. If you're starting from scratch, this will give you the time to get used to running and understanding your body's form and pace, and even accommodate the weeks when you can't work out as much as you'd like. Read below for the week-by-week breakdown.

Week 1: Get Used to It

The first week of your training should be set aside for getting your body accustomed to the experience of running. Go out for a few light jogs, anywhere from one to three miles. Work on understanding your breathing and legwork. Practice keeping your back and shoulders strong and straight and swinging arms vigorously. Also take this time to figure out how training will best fit in with your work and life schedule, by testing out which days of the week and times of day are most convenient for you to run.

Week 2: Develop Your Pace

Play with your pacing this second week. The most important rule in pacing for longer distances is not to waste all your energy up front by sprinting as soon as you hit the pavement. Do a two-mile, three-mile and four-to-five-mile run. With each, start out running more slowly than you think you are capable of and save your speed for the last half-mile or so of the course.

Week 3: Up Your Endurance

This is when you should first reach the distance you will be running in the actual 10k. Up the runs from the previous week by a a mile each. Don't worry about running it at a race-style pace, just hit the six-mile mark so you can get a feel for the distance.

Week 4: Boost Speed with Intervals and a Practice Run

Keep the lengths of your runs the same as the week before, but add interval sessions to at least one of the runs. Run for a minute at an intense speed, and then alternate with a minute of a recovery, jog-style pace. You can do this on a treadmill if you want a more precise tracking of your speed. If any other road races are being offered in your area this week, try to do one of a shorter distance, such as a 5k or 5-mile. This will help you get a sense of the racing environment.

Week 5: Final Push

Take the runs you've already done so far in your training and give them some gusto. Do at least one of each: a two-mile run, a four-mile run and a six-mile run. Try to increase your pace earlier on in the long runs, while still having enough energy at the end for an extra long push.

Week 6: Rest

You won't be able to make your muscles or lungs any stronger at this point, so focus on nurturing your body so it's ready on race day. Go on a few light jogs resembling the ones you did the first week of the training. Otherwise, be sure to drink plenty of water, get lots of rest and eat a balanced diet involving complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

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