How to Transition from 5k to 10k

So you're asking yourself how to best transition from 5k to 10k? Chances are you already enjoy running and you are looking for your next challenge. You are determined to see how much further you can possibly push yourself, which is great!

Running for a few minutes every day for a novice can be a difficult task and for an avid runner, a 5k run would take about 30 to 45minutes, which means that if this is so, you are more than prepared to move up to the next level, transitioning from 5k to 10k runs.

On paper this may seem like a very difficult and somewhat arduous undertaking. In most cases it can be a simple ‘mind over matter’ kind of situation. But not in our case as we will give you several important tricks that will help you transition from a 5k to 10k run. The running track will soon feel like an extension of your legs and with the wind on your face, without a care in the world, you will be running like a Kenyan marathon runner in no time.

You have already overcome the hardest part by being able to continuously run for over 45 minutes. This means that you are physically capable and fit for the 5k to 10k transition . Great start!

The next level may prove a tad challenging because not only will you be running a longer distance than you are accustomed to, your time will be doubled and even tripled in the beginning, so the running skills that you have already acquired during your 5k runs will come in handy. So get your running shoes on, your water bottle and iPod ready and let’s beat the 10k mark at its own game.

Here is what you need to do to get you started for your best 10k run

You already have your motivation as the goal is clear. Go from 5k to 10k. You are a skilled runner, you need to get rid of what we call ‘runner de-motivators.’ What this means is you need to get rid of any physical and mental distractions. Remember that the first step is normally the hardest when undertaking a challenge of this magnitude.

Your First 10k: Build up Endurance

A typical 10k run will take about 1hr 15 minutes (longer for a beginner) meaning you will be physically and mentally challenged. Do not be discouraged. You obviously are in it to win it because you are a competitor who appreciates a good challenge and workout.

Start by calculating the number of miles you would typically run every day preferably, weekly and increase it by 10%. Adding or upping mileage to your weekly runs will effectively help you with the 5k to 10k transition.

Consider this example: If your total weekly mileage is 20miles, 10% of it is 2miles. So that's what you add to your weekly mileage. This simple yet effective tactic is geared towards building up what is known as your long run. When you religiously keep increasing your mileage on a weekly basis, you will eventually boost your endurance base levels and speed capacity.

5k to 10k Training Plans

Make the treadmill your next best friend and choose endurance workouts that will prepare your body for the 10k physical intensity. Keep in mind that, while in your mind you are looking forward to a successful 10k run, even the most elite world record runners have running days that challenge them physically.

An optimal training regimen is vital to building confidence and trust in your body. It's helping you develop mental strength and enabling you to break through your ‘runner de-motivators.’ Explore training sessions such as spin classes twice a week and try to get in several free weights sessions at the gym.

Pace Yourself

A sustainable pace is very important. Adopt the Aerobic Running System during your long runs because it uses the energy style system that fuels endurance training. It should be a comfortable pace, breathing through your nose and be able to talk fairly easy without panting too much.

Build Your Mental Stamina

Our bodies are more than capable when it comes to pushing past our limits, but can only do so if our mental stamina matches our physical stamina. Being able to constantly and consistently push through our doubts and the inevitable ‘race-day nerves’ is very important.

By now you know your body better than anyone else and you have tested your physical capabilities and limits during your 5k runs. All you need now is restructuring the way you think and turn your ‘can’t-do’ mentality into a ‘can-do’ one because you are already a winner!

Positive self-talk mantras during long runs used by accomplished runners such as “I am capable”, “I will finish this race”, and “I am strong” are a great mental strategy that will not only help you stay motivated, but you will be able to conquer the creation of false illusions that will discourage you from achieving your goals.

Preparation is Key

Before you tackle your 10k hurdle, avoid jumping straight into it head first. Instead, challenge yourself by entering shorter races. This is a great running tactic used by avid runners. By using mini goals and breaking their long runs into manageable chunks, they are getting stable progress.

Make Your Training More Interesting

If you are used to one particular running route, change it up a bit by using a different one. Turn things up a notch by running on different and challenging terrains that not only challenge your physical fitness but will also boost your endurance levels. You will start to train your mind on ignoring (zoning in) surrounding distractions. This is a great strategy to prepare you for your 5k to 10k transition.


Nothing spells motivation than the encouragement of others when tackling your toughest challenge. While the loneliness of the distance runner is great and solitude is important, having someone there counting on you to show up does help. Studies show that an average workout with a buddy will last longer than a session on your own.

Buddying-up is encouraged because this system of training generates a sense of accountability and competitiveness. Both are very important to keep you focused on reaching your goals. Plus, you may just need someone there to pick you up when you ‘fall’ and be there to cheer you on when you when you get to the finish line!

Give Yourself a Break

Remember that you only have the one body and you need it to accomplish other day-today activities so you need it to be at its optimum capacity. Remember that part of taking up this transition from a 5k to 10k run is to learn how to run smart not hard.

Cut back on your training in order to give your body time to recover before your first 10k run. At this point, you need your body to be able to handle the demands of a long run. The harder you train closer to the D-day, the more beat you will be.

Diet, Nutrition, and Hydration

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating a healthy balance of nutritious foods can improve athletic performance:

  • Improve cardiovascular health (very important element for any avid runner)
  • Increase a better blood flow for a delivery of oxygen and the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure
  • Improve respiratory function
  • Improve metabolism to keep the body burning more calories
  • Helps build stronger bones and muscles
  • Drinking water regularly is important for kidney function

Next time you go shopping add to your cart antioxidant rich foods:

  • Almonds
  • Eggs for the much needed protein intake and the crucial amino acids your body needs to promote recovery
  • Sweet potatoes for your Vitamin C, manganese and copper needs and for healthy muscle function
  • Whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereal with protein and digestible carbs
  • Oranges for the antioxidant vitamin C and to alleviate muscle soreness
  • Mixed Berries contain a compound called anthocyanins - a powerful group of antioxidants that assist with post-run recovery and muscle repair
  • Black Beans for protein, fiber-folate antioxidant and B vitamin. These play a key role in heart health and circulation. They also control blood sugar levels because of their low glycemic levels and enhance performance because of their steady release of energy
  • Salmon is high in quality protein and one of the best food sources of omega-3 fats that are essential in helping balance the body's inflammation response
  • Chicken contains selenium, a trace element that helps protect muscles from the free-radical damage that can occur during exercise. It also contains niacin, a B vitamin that helps regulate fat burning during a run

Finally, on the day of the race, make sure to do some warm-up exercises before, so as to increase your blood circulation and warm-up the muscles. All the best!

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