A blog by runners. For runners.

New goal: I’m training for a (fast) 10K

I’ve been in the mode of half marathon training for the past several years. Even during my pregnancy, I favored the distance because it felt safe, practiced, and familiar. I understand how my body feels on long runs, I can handle the speed of my quality workouts, and usually there’s good payoff at the end as I’ve progressively brought my PR from the 2-hour mark to 1:44.

Thing is, I’m getting bored. With boredom wanes my motivation. I’d like to run a 1:40 in the spring, but that’s a long time from now and I don’t want to start my training yet and risk burnout. I also don’t want to take an entire season off since running lately has been light due to some stress on the home front.

What to do?

Pick a new, interim goal, Ashley!

Branching out and trying to train my sights on another distance is daunting. I hate 5Ks because they are simply too intense for me. Marathon training in the winter sounds brutal. Where we live, it would be 20-milers in negative digits and ice, lots of ice. And as much as I love 15Ks, there simply aren’t enough of them around my area.

So, I’ve decided I’d like to train to race the 10K. My PR is currently in the upper 47s, and compared to my performance at other distances, I know I have a lot of room for improvement. Our local runners club hosts a 10K series in January — the deadest dead of winter — so I’m already choosing my winter gear wisely. This way, I’ll get four chances to earn a faster time, and I’m ready for speed.

I was concerned at first that training for a shorter race would mean running fewer miles per week. That’s mostly because it’s been years since I’ve focused on shorter distances and — WOW — was I surprised to look at some advanced training plans. At present, I have around 12 weeks till the first race. Surprisingly, a lot of plans I’ve encountered are between 6 and 12 weeks, so there’s a lot of variety.

These plans involve running most days of the week, which is something I’m not used to. I try to stick between 4 and 5 quality workouts. I’ll likely fill in some cross-training at our gym to make up the rest. Or simply just rest to tailor the plan to my specific needs and desired outcome. I’m thinking with this renewed focus on speed, I’ll bring down my half time in the spring as an added bonus.

Overall, the late fall and winter seasons are an excellent time to switch gears when it comes to running. In the past, I’ve favored cross-training and have experimented with new sports, like playing community volleyball and similar activities. Racing 10Ks will be a whole new world for me, and I’m excited to see what this season brings!

Are you setting your sights on a new fitness goal? Tell me about it!

Written by  Ashley Marcin.