My top 10 tips for training for the Herts Fast 10k
As a triathlete, who recently made her debut into world of Olympic Distance Triathlons, running 10km is key. However, as a triathlete who is not a ‘naturally gifted runner’, running 10km can seem a massive task on occasions. 2 years ago, I hated running with a passion; I despised the pain that came with it, the enormous amount of effort that it took, and the large difference between myself and other ladies in my age category. Having worked equally hard on both my mindset and my endurance over the pandemic, I’ve entered my very first 10km race; the ActiveTrainingWorld Herts Fast 10km. I now feel like I’m in a bit of an odd position – a ‘newbie’ to the 10km run race scene (10km at the end of a triathlon is a whole different ball game!), yet with over a decade of ParkRuns and National XC races under my belt. So I’ve put together my top 10 tips for anyone signing up to the Herts Fast 10k and 5k races, whether you’re new to the distance, the sport, the race, or you’ve done it all before!
- Set yourself a goal
Without a goal, you might lose sight of the finish line, or not even rock up to the start line! Set yourself a target, remembering that your goal is individual to you. Whether it be completion, getting around without walking, a certain time, finishing strong or keeping a positive mindset, make it achievable but challenging for yourself. Mine is a sub-50-minute 10km whilst maintaining a positive mindset throughout. Whilst this may seem juvenile to some, the 50-minute target should be manageable for me on such a fast, flat and traffic free course but it will be harder maintaining happy thoughts with no landmarks or ‘hazards’ to focus on.
2. Start training early enough
As I write this, it’s currently 3.5 weeks to go until race day, meaning I’m in the last block of hard training. Because I’ve been running consistently, I decided to keep the 10km specific sessions for the 4-week run up to the race. This includes some longer tempo sessions, as well as doing interval sessions at my 10km (target) race pace.
3. Get stuck in with group sessions
As things are opening up again, I’m joining back in with some group runs. These make the intervals whizz by despite my gritted teeth, and the social element makes running (and triathlon) that bit more enjoyable. So, whether it’s a formal group running session, or a jog round the park with a friend and your dog, my advice would be to add at least 1 session in a week that’s with company.
4. Recovery is as key as the sessions
Using the classic car analogy, you wouldn’t run a car on no fuel, so you shouldn’t be training on empty either. When you do a session, you ‘tear’ your muscle fibres. Sleep and the food you eat can help repair them, ready for you to go again for the next session. Everyone has a routine and recipes that work for them; my go to is avocado, smoked salmon, feta and scrambled egg on sourdough (can you tell I’m a millennial?!?) post evening run session, followed by a good 9 hours sleep!
5. Speed vs endurance
10km is a weird one. Whether you’re going for a specific time or not, it’s good to incorporate some speedwork into your training as well as 12km+ easy long runs to increase your endurance. The balance between speed work and easy runs is very individual, and often for triathletes, depending on how much time you have whilst doing 2 other sports too! Personally, I do 1 speedwork session, 1 longer endurance run and then 3 easy runs a week – but it’s a bit of trial and error!
6. Don’t forget the strength sessions
Whilst I don’t mean you to go and buy a gym membership and start lifting heavy weights, there are some exercises you can do to help strengthen your ‘running muscles’. My go to home-workout consists of:
- ‘Dead bug’ to help strengthen my core in a mobile way rather than a static plank exercise
- Single leg calf raises
- Glute bridges
- Single leg reverse deadlifts to help strengthen the glutes and hamstrings to increase ‘running power’, while also improving stability
- Lunges extended into the ‘ideal’ running position (see image)
- Bounding and hopping drills to help work on my ankle stability and shock absorption
7. Taper hard
The time you taper for is quite individual, and you have to find what works for you. Personally, with the Herts Fast 10k on the Sunday (18th July), I won’t really do any hard sessions that week leading up to the event – my Wednesday interval session will get moved to Tuesday (to allow any extra day of recovery) and it will only be at 80% effort.
8. Pack your kit the night before
You don’t need the mental stress of running round the house pre-race trying to find your safety pins or your trainer that the dog has run off with. Pack it ALL the night before and save yourself a world of stress.
9. Plan what you’re going to treat yourself to after
Personally, I bribe myself with lunch out when I do a morning race! Sometimes that means a KFC if it’s a long journey home. Sometimes it means a trip to the local pub for a steak. For those of you that aren’t food orientated, why not treat yourself to a bath and face mask, or just a quiet day of no household jobs!
10. Let go and enjoy the race
When I approach the start line over eager, anxious to crack on, with tunnel vision of the time I desperately want, I’m far less likely to achieve my goal. Being excited to run, to test yourself and to enjoy the chance you get is what pushes me to achieve my best, so find your balance and your fine line between excitement and over-excitement.
Training for the Herts Fast 5k and 10k on 18th July? Tag us in your training photos on social media and let us know how you’re getting on! Enter the race and join Bronwyn here.
By Bronwyn Tagg
Follow my journey as I train for the Herts Fast 10k at @bronwyn831 on Instagram!