Now, I love running long distances; I absolutely adore them. But the distance that I consider to be absolute perfection is the 10K:
Three days of running per week for 50 – 60 minutes equals to approximately 25 – 30 km. This is the perfect amount of mileage to keep your cardiovascular system in great working order and burn off a few extra calories for occasional food regime deviations!
With any distance under 10k you need to work more on speed than endurance. Anything beyond 10k you concentrate more on endurance rather than speed. With 10k distance and races you work on both speed and endurance in equal proportions.
You notice improvement in other sports you practice such as biking and swimming. This is because running is an excellent aerobic conditioner (by working your heart and lungs) and easily transfers to any other sport. Or simply climbing the stairs at home.
Our 10K Course will have you race ready in eight weeks. If you were to run a half or full marathon you’d still have another very full month or two of training ahead of you!
I couldn’t even begin to list the best races here, there are just too many. I love the Dublin Mini Marathon, the Copenhagen Kvindelob. But you can go to Active.com and look up some in your corner of the globe.
Once you’ve done your 10k training you’ll be able to “cruise” with a lot less effort. 10K is my personal default distance. As long as I stick to a 25-30 kilometre weekly mileage I can bump up my training and run longer distances, or just add in some speed work and happily race 10K’s.
We always say that running is like a secret superpower. You can bust it out at any time, whether that be a mad dash for the bus or a quiet jog to turn around a crappy mood.
We asked some lovely runners to tell us what running has brought to their lives and we loved the variety of perspectives…
“One time a young punk stole my handbag and ran off…. but I could ran faster than him, so I chased him down and got it back!” — Lucia
“When you’re over 50, it feels very, very good to have something even approximating a ‘runner’s ass/arse’.” — Katherine E
“I love being able to choose the stairs or the elevator.” — Giordana
“Running gives me peace of mind. If there is a chaotic phase going on in my life, or I’ m very stressed, it’s such a relief to put running shoes on and head out. Running is hard enough to make me focus in it, and yet there is mental space to think about my worries too. It’s not that I’m running away from my problems, it’s more like I notice how strong and able I am and gain confidence to put other issues in perspective.” — Mari
“When people ask ask me my age I can tell them with pride.” — Nadia (52 years old)
“When endorphins are circulating, sex is even better!” — Lucy T
“The body may be growing older but the movement keeps the mind active!” — Marisa F
“Watching my body respond to what I ask it to do… for once!” — Antonella G
“I have an excuse to leave the house and be all by myself and my thoughts for as long as I want to run.” — Erica A
“It keeps me in shape for any other sports activity – like impromptu volleyball on the beach!”— Julie
“Running connects my brain and my feelings with my physical self in a way that is often neglected in a comfortable modern life. It’s like getting back to my cave woman roots. It’s like, yeah, this is what bodies were made for.” — Helen
Photo from our 2012 Bologna retreat by Sara Lando
For the past year my main goal was Ironman Zurich. I had loads of small races in between like the Barcelona Marathon and Rimini Challenge, but all my waking thoughts were directed towards that city on the shores of Lake Zurich. I couldn’t think past D-day, July 27. I couldn’t imagine what I’d feel like afterwards and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure by making any future race plans. So, I didn’t have any.
My general life plan immediately after IMZ was to help my body recover by just chilling. I followed that plan successfully! I was traveling with my husband for work so there was sightseeing in small Italian towns and spectating at road races. We finally arrived at the family beach house in Puglia, the heel region in the south of Italy. I walked on the beach at dawn and did a few bike rides. I took an afternoon swim in the Ionian Sea and contemplated my next athletic move. Where did I want to go from here?
With thoughts of half marathons, marathons, 10k’s and sprint triathlons swirling around in my head I knew that the only thing to do was to go online and find a race. Why?
When our Fall 5K and 10K Courses start next week we’ll be asking our runners to set tangible goals, one of them being to sign up for a running event so they can put their eight weeks of training into practice. Sometimes people say they’re not interested in “racing”. They they just want to get fit and healthy and feel good in their bodies again. That can absolutely happen, but in my experience having a specific date for it to all to come together helps you get your butt out the door for those workouts.
If you sign up for our 5K or 10K Course look for a race on the weekend of 9 November, or anytime after. I say after because by then you’ll be a runner and can just sign up for an event any ol’ weekend!
Want a some race ideas?
If you happen to be in San Francisco sign up for the Fog City Run. They meet every tuesday evening at the Blue Light in the Marina. It’s very low key and costs only 5 dollars. There may even be beer afterwards!
The weekend of November 8th and 9th the U.S. celebrates veterans and most events are dedicated to them including The Patriot Run in San Diego.
Make this Thanksgiving year a gastronomically guilt free one by participating in one of the many Turkey Trots. The largest in the nation is The Trot in Dallas, Texas. There are a bazillion Thanksgiving running events held around the nation. Look one up at Runningintheusa.com
I’ve visited Edinburgh several times and it’s really a lovely town to run in. On the weekend of November 9, MoRunning offers both a 5km and 10km course.
Run in the Dark is a new entry to charity runs with proceeds going towards spinal cord injury research. Go check out the website. The photos and video on it will inspire you to sign up! Run in the Dark events will be all held on November 12 in London, Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Manchester.
Fun Run Pink is a women’s only 5km event in Perth. It’ll be held on November 9 so perfect for your 5k course goal.
If you want to go for something crazier you can travel to Albury for Miss Muddy. Emphasis is on fun and bonding with your BFF’s!
For other countries, check out active.com to find a race.
As for me, I’ve signed up for a sprint triathlon near my home on October 4… my birthday. The goal is set and I am now back to regular training. Yippee!
I got the idea for my 5K training plan almost twenty years ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland. I was there for a summer month with my husband who was training a group of elite marathon runners. I sat on the grass and watched as they ran a loop around the track and then stepped onto the center oval area. They continued moving by alternately hopping on one foot and then sprinting with their knees really high, almost touching their chests. A lightbulb went off in my head.
Most wannabe runners I’d known would go from years of sitting on the couch to deciding to get in shape by running. And running and running and running. Injuries would swiftly follow as those new running muscles had no foundation to work from.
So I created a beginners plan to safely build a strong, fit runner from day one, a foundation for a lifetime of running.
There were running drills inspired by the elite runners and designed to wake up and strengthen dormant muscles and tendons. I planned weekly workouts, introducing simple running techniques. Each week built on the last, keeping it interesting while bringing progressive improvement. I wanted a solid, basic plan to prime my runners for long-term success, rather than have them burn out after a week or two.
It worked. I’ve used that same eight week program on and offline to get thousands of neophytes up and running.
One of the unique features of the 5K plan is what I call Free Form Running. You’re given a short distance and you cover it anyway you can. Whatever way you do it is the right way, there is no wrong! So many beginner plans require you to jump up to long intervals of running very quickly, which can lead to frustration, injury and/or a sense of failure. In contrast, Free Form Running meets you at your current fitness level. If you cover the distance with a good amount of fast walking and some running sprinkled in, you’re doing great. If you’re able to run the entire distance at a fast clip you’re still on program, too. Wherever you are, you will make progress.
Okay, so you may be thinking… Why should I buy for an online course when I can download an free app or training plan?
Great question! I’ll ask one back to you: how many times have you “started” running? If it is just once and it was a success you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But if your answer is, Too many times to count, I would also bet it it was around the Day 10 mark you stopped. That’s when the initial enthusiasm can wane and the couch looks tempting again. Without support and accountability it can be hard to keep going when the intensity of the workouts ramps up.
Quite simply, Up & Running works.
As well as my easy-does-it training plan, you’ll be part of a private online group of women, all doing the same workouts with the same goal: finishing a 5K race. You’ll have a coach (that would be me!) available to answer any of your questions and help you through any problems.
Registration is now open and Warm Up Week starts on Monday. You can find out more about the 5K Course and check out the Week 1 training plan, right here…
While I was somewhat active before, I never considered myself capable of running a 5K. After reading the testimonials, I plucked up the courage to sign up. I’m so glad I did. The support of your fellow running mates is extremely addictive. Julia’s approach allows you to tackle the physical and mental challenges to running, and you’ll take away tools you can use for life.