Moving Up From a 10k to a Half Marathon
You’re ready to take your running to the next level. And that means growing your 10k to a half marathon.
First off, congratulations on conquering the 10k. It’s not an easy feat, but you made it.
Now, you’re pushing toward a new goal. It’s double the distance, but it’s a challenge you feel you’re ready to undertake. Where do you start?
If you’ve only just recently finished a 10k, it’s vital that you take time to rest before you resume training. The first 24 hours after a race should consist of fueling up, rehydrating, and giving your body some much needed TLC.
In fact, recovery after your race is just as important as the prep beforehand. We recommend waiting about five days before you begin training for your next big race. And when you do start training again, slowly and gently ease back into it.
If you’re an experienced long-distance runner, you may only need to take about three days before jumping back into it.
During this rest time, consider cross-training. Try walking, swimming, or cycling. This gets the blood pumping. Yet, it won’t push your body past its limits.
Yoga or other restorative forms of exercise may also help you recover faster. These types of activities can soothe sore muscles and stretch out tight ones. Doing so may also help prevent injuries later on.
If you must run in the first few days after your 10k, go slow. Aim to do a very short distance, such as four or five kilometers. If you’ve waited five days to start running again, the same concept applies. Slowly and carefully amp your mileage back up.
2. Pick a Race
The half marathon is in your bird’s eye view. All you need to do is select the exact race you want to run. However, there are a few factors you want to consider.
Generally, you want to ensure you have enough time to train before the big day. This means giving yourself at least 10 to 12 weeks. If you’re already able to run a 10k, this should give you the right amount of time to train and prep your body.
Now, where do you want to run the race? Would you rather do a local race or a destination race?
Undeniably, a destination race may take more careful planning. There are time changes, plane rides, and differing climates to take into account. If you want to do a destination race, make sure you nail these down and plan for them accordingly.
There’s also bigger races and smaller races. The bigger races tend to have more swag, medals, and snacks at the finish line. Yet, this may come down to personal preference. You might have your mind set on a particular destination featuring a smaller race. Or perhaps you want to do the big ones, specifically for the medal and swag, or maybe because it’s convenient.
It’s also important to note here that the bigger races may be more crowded. Meanwhile, the smaller races may offer less crowds. This is something to think about based on your personal preference. You might not want to be rubbing elbows with the runner next to you.
Research different races and find one that works for you. Then, sign up. Once you’re registered, it makes your goal all that much more real.
At this stage in the game, you may also want to invite friends. If it’s a destination race you’re considering, why not make a bigger trip out of it? If it’s a local race, why not invite all your friends from that local running group to join you?
3. Pick a Training Plan
Compared to a 10k, a half marathon requires a higher frequency in regards to training. Usually, you run about four or six times a week. For some, this is a huge jump. But don’t panic. Finding the right training plan can set you up for success and leave any stress or worries at the curb.
Select the Right Training Plan
Find a training plan where you don’t add more than 10% more volume each week. Also, choose one that you are the most comfortable with and that you’re confident you can follow.
Some of the best training plans for taking your 10k to a half marathon include cross training and strength training. These may sound like a distraction. Yet, they are anything but.
Cross training provides your body with the proper rest while still amping up your endurance. Strength training offers a way to build power which you’ll want lots of come race day.
Don’t Forget About Your Diet and Nutrition
For a 10k, you can generally let the diet component slide. This isn’t the same for a half marathon.
You need to plan to bring water and gels, bars, or a sports drink with you. These items can help fuel your training and keep you on track.
By using these food items during your training, you can also determine which kinds work best for your body. That way, you can narrow down what types you digest the best and use those one race day.
4. Find Running Buddies
Running buddies can offer the motivation you need when you’re seriously lacking it. Join a local run club. Or connect with other runners using Strava or other virtual run clubs. Or simply, grab some friends and get running!
You can also choose to go solo. It’s not necessary to recruit running buddies. However, for some, it may help keep them on track.
5. Get Ready for Race Day
Race day is fast approaching. How can you prepare for race day in the best way possible?
- Avoid new shoes, new foods, new clothing, or anything new the day of. This could lead to potential setbacks which – let’s be honest – isn’t ideal.
- Plan an appropriate time to pick up your race packet. Usually, the race notifies you with set dates, times, and places to do this. Check your email or check the race site to find out more.
- Get everything ready the night before. This means laying out your clothes, getting your bib ready, attaching your timing chip to your shoe, and preparing any pre-race foods.
- Get to bed early. Sleep can make or break you. Try to find relaxing activities to do before bed and aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep.
- Arrive early. Parking and restrooms may pose a disastrous situation, specifically for bigger races. Get there early and you won’t have problems.
Pass That Finish Line!
You’ve put in the work and the time. You can do this. Focus on running over that finish line. Rest first. Pick a race. Plan your training accordingly. Grab some good beats and a few buddies, and you’ll be good to go.
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