The Haven House Pumpkin Fest is set to be an amazing event – I was there for it in 2017, and with the introduction of the Chasing Pumpkins 10k run it’ll be bigger and better!

As a local Running Coach at Run with Ben, I’m always pleased to be able to support Haven House and those fundraising for them however I can.

This blog gives you some basics to consider when training for a 10k running event like the Chasing Pumpkins 10k, particularly if it’s your first one.

The 10k distance is the middle ground between the shorter running events and longer distances like the half marathon. Being prepared for the event will of course help you on the day.

Training for a 10k
The first thing to focus on is building your aerobic capacity, to help you sustain the effort. This means ensuring consistency of running during training and building a strong foundation. You’ll notice the improvement fairly quickly as your breathing becomes easier and your muscles less tired.
Regular running and gradually increasing your distance helps develop your aerobic system and improve your body’s ability to run without tiring.

Training types
If you’re new to running, or haven’t run much in the previous year, then your first consideration will be introducing some easy-paced running, around three times a week.

You can mix running and walking to begin with to allow you to stay out longer and to reduce feelings of fatigue. For example two minutes of running followed by three minutes of walking, repeated two or three times for a total of a 10-15 minute session.

If you’re more experienced, then alongside the easy-paced training runs you should also be looking at tempo runs and speed training.

Tempo runs are faster-paced running that you sustain for a training run. They’re run at or just below your threshold – the point at which you can maintain the effort at a “comfortably hard” level. For 10k training your tempo runs will likely be around 20 minutes to half an hour long.

Speed training revolves around faster efforts (beyond your threshold) with recovery periods. For example two minutes hard with two minutes recovery (easy-paced running or walking), repeated four times. Speed training helps to make you stronger and it also builds your endurance capability.

The long run
The long run is the staple of all training plans. It’s usually done once a week, and you gradually increase the distance each time. The long run might only be 1km to begin with, gradually increasing distance each week until you’re comfortably close to the 10km mark.

Strength training, cross training and rest
You should also be including some basic strength work in training – this keeps you strong and helps to prevent injury risk. Once or twice a week, work on exercises such as planks, squats, press-ups and lunges. A strength session may only take 10 minutes, but it’ll add loads of value to your fitness and training.
Cross training is low-impact, non-running exercise, such as cycling, swimming, or yoga.

Rest – the best bit for many people! – will be crucial to your Chasing Pumpkins 10k and your training. Ensure you’re getting two or three full rest days each week, to allow your body to recover and grow stronger.

Putting it all together
Everyone is different, but a basic rule of thumb is to run three or four times a week. Keep the pace easy if you’re a new runner. Once you have a good foundation, introduce tempo runs and speed work. Include these no more than once per week.

Increase the distance of your weekly long run to get yourself comfortable with the distance ahead of race day.
Ensure you do one or two strength sessions per week and some cross training alongside your running.

The Chasing Pumpkins 10k and Run with Ben

A 10k represents a great challenge for both new and experienced runners. With a period (usually 8-12 weeks) of race-specific training, you can put yourself in a strong position to achieve your best on the day, whether your goal is simply to complete the event or to beat a personal best.

If you have any questions at all, drop me a line – Run with Ben or I can also help out with bespoke 10km training plans or any training advice you might need!

To take part in Chasing Pumpkins 10k on Sunday 28 October, sign up here. Or, take a look at the 2k or 5k Pumpkin Plod walks and have an day of Halloween fun with your family.

Wishing you all the best with your training and fundraising for Haven House – it’ll be a great day out.