Often I have people ask me how they can get a better time at their 10k run. From beginner runners to runners who have done plenty 10ks, if you’ve already done a 10k you need to look at how you trained in the past and what changes you can make to help.

How long before the race did you start your training?

What type of training did you do?

Those are the first two questions I would ask. If you’ve only done a few random runs a couple of weeks before the race, then it’s unlikely your running will improve and you need longer preparation if you’re serious about getting a good time. I would say begin 10-12 weeks before the race date.

You also need to set routes, set distances and you need to time them. If you don’t know how far or how long your runs are taking, then there is no way you can gauge if you’re improving. Map my Run is a great app you can download. It shows how fast each kilometre was and where you’re struggling. This feedback will help you improve.

That’s the first important question answered, but is running the only way you should train for a race? NO CHANCE!!

Strengthen those legs!! Get on the weights in the gym strengthen every lower body muscle you have, SQUAT, LEG PRESS and LUNGE!! They’re your compound leg\glute exercises and also put in some isolation work on the hamstrings, quads and calves. The stronger your legs the more power and endurance you will get out of them. You don’t want to be half way round a race and find your legs have turned to jelly, but you’re barely out of breath.

Interval training!! Get used to having the heart rate race up and down. It’s different from your steady state cardio, but it’s unlikely your heart rate will race up as high doing a steady state run as it will when you sprint. If you can handle the heart rate being as high as that when doing intervals, then you will feel a lot more comfortable with how high it is when you’re doing a steady state run. It will also increase your fitness and help burn any excess fat you’re looking to lose for race day.

Written by Martyn Paul