How to prepare for your first 10 mile run

When you need two numerals instead of one to log how far you’ve run in a single outing, you’ve reached a major milestone: many recreational runners never make it that far.

The reason you should bother striving for 10 – beyond the bragging rights – is that going long, no matter how slowly you’re moving, is the best way to increase your endurance, and more endurance often means faster race finishes.

What’s more, if you’ve taken up running to lose weight, long, aerobic efforts can also help you keep it off. The trouble is, however, if you go too far, too soon, too fast, you could end up injured.

Here, Jeff Falloway, a 10,000 metre Olympian and well-known coach shares his tips on how to join the Mike 10 Club without getting hurt:    

1. Build wisely

Plan a long run every other weekend (add a half mile to the distance each time). Maintain your fitness by running for at least 30 minutes every other day. On long-run days, choose a route that loops past your car or home so you can pick up water and snacks.

2. Move slowly

Your long-run pace should be one to two minutes per mile slower than your short-run pace. If you usually run non-stop, take a walk break after every mile or so on long runs. If you run-walk the rest of the week, lengthen the walk periods on the long run.

Related: This tool helps you work out what pace you should be running during training 

3. Add fuel

If you’ll be out for more than an hour or so, have a sweet snack (e.g. a few jelly babies) of 30-40kcals every two miles. This will top up your muscles’ glycogen stores. Wash snacks down with sips of water, and drink more when you feel thirsty.

4. Recover right

Have a snack (about 250kcals) containing carbs and protein within 30 minutes of finishing your run – chocolate run is a good choice. A 10-15 minute walk after your run can prevent soreness in the following days. To soothe tired muscles, have a hot bath.

5. Beat the boredom

If you find yourself getting bored on the short runs, and are worried about how you’ll cope as you add miles, try running with friends, but only if you’re all comfortable holding that same pace. Beyond that, you can experiment with different routes. Run with music or a podcast, do some mental maths, compose a poem – your brain might just need a while to remember how to daydream. Once it does, time will pass much more quickly.