In the weeks ahead of the run it’s important to help build your aerobic fitness and ready muscles for running distance. If you’re not a runner be aware that it takes time to build the level of condition needed to cover 10 kilometres with ease. So if the 10k is only a couple of weeks off then simply getting round in one should be your goal. If you have time to fit some training in, pick a plan that best suits you; take a look at our training plans here.
Get the right shoes
If you’re reasonably new to running don’t be inclined to use any old trainers to run the 10k. Running shoes are one area you should never scrimp on. In the weeks ahead of the run visit a good running shop that specialise in gait analysis and get some advice on trainers best suited to your running style – getting this right will help improve your performance and avoid injury. Once you have the right shoes then make sure you spend at least a couple of weeks breaking them in by taking them on your training runs.
Visualise the run
A great technique for preparing the mind for any run, race or competition is to visualise the route and progress beforehand. If you’re not local to London and don’t know the route – and therefore can’t visualise it - don’t worry. Just take a look at the 10k map and commit some of the many famous London landmarks dotted along the route to memory. When you’re heading round the 10k you can break the run into chunks by picking a landmark telling yourself you'll run to that point. Once you hit the landmark, depending on your fitness either you can take a little break and recover or push on through to the next.
You might not be covering the 42.19 kilometres that make-up a marathon distance, but running a 10k still requires a bit of pre-race prep. At least a week before the race make sure to review the race bumpf (schedule, map, etc.), check you have the clothing you need, pin your race number to your shirt, pack a few things you think you’ll need post run, and, most importantly, plan your route to the start line – the last thing you want to do is miss the race!
Chances are at the start of the race you’ll be carried away by the ambience and crowd and run faster than your normal pace. Even though this will feel great at the time it may lead to you struggling on the later stages of the run, so try to pace yourself. A great pacing technique is to run a negative split time – which is when you run the second half of the race faster than the first. Overall you know your body, so listen to how you feel and adjust your pace so you get round in one piece.
Soak-up the ambience… but remember to watch your footing
The London 10k is one of the best runs in the world - you get to experience one of the most spectacular cityscapes in the world plus soak up some truly fantastic crowd support. However, it can be busy and crowded with runners at points and there can also be plenty of discarded plastic drinks bottles on route. So watch your footing when passing or being passed by your fellow runners and keep an eye on the road for obstacles, especially around drinks stations.
Stretch out the soreness
Once you’re over the finish line and you’ve picked up a goody bag and are heading over to be with friends/family please don’t forget to stretch. By stretching out key muscle groups - particularly legs but also your shoulders and upper back - you will avoid muscles from shortening, which could lead to stiffness and potentially injury. If you picked-up any muscle soreness or niggles during the run you might also want to try massaging the area gently.
Rob Jones is a personal trainer and outdoor fitness expert, plus founder of StrideFit.
Back for their second year, Tiger Balm are proud sponsors of the British 10k. Tiger Balm will be offering runners and supporters a free special treat on the day. The Tiger Balm Tent will be offering all of those with tired limbs, whether you’re running or not, the chance of a free 10-15 minute massage and a moment of calm in a soothing and relaxing area amongst the chaos. Find out more.