Get the best out of your running training plan

Keeping yourself motivated and healthy in the build up to a 10k run

You’ve been bitten by the running bug, and can feel it doing you a world of good as you transform into a lean running machine. But what next? A great way to stay motivated, and see how fast you can get, is to enter a set distance race.

Naturally, if you’re feeling mega-pumped up, you could go all out and sign up for the big one – the Virgin Money London Marathon (and we’ll be with you Every Sip Of The Way).

The thing is, we’d recommend starting a little smaller, with something that pushes you but doesn’t push you too far. That way you’re more likely to stay the distance, both physically and mentally. So how does 10k sound?

We reckon it’s the perfect entry point to competitive running, offering a great mid-distance workout that requires stamina, strength and speed. And as Jo Pavey, GB athlete and two-time winner of the Great Manchester Run, says: “A great 10K athlete can become a great all-rounder”.

Working your way up to 10k with a running plan

It may be a mid-distance race, but that doesn’t mean it only needs mid-level commitment. In fact, just like any serious running length, there are a number of things you need to consider as you build up to the big day, so that you stay safe and are fighting fit to run your best.

One of the most important thing is to work out a training plan for running, and then make sure you get the very most out of it. According to our expert training partners, Full Potential, it’s vital to ensure your plan is set for your fitness and your running experience.

You’ll also need to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to train as endurance running shouldn’t be rushed – improvement takes time. And of course, pay close attention to your hydration as you train (we recommend keeping one of our Sports Cap bottles with you at all times, so you can grab a quick sip  of our refreshing water whenever you need it*).

Consistency is key

According to Full Potential, training without any setbacks is the way to succeed. To achieve this consistency, don’t judge your performance by each training session. Look at the big picture and try to train smart by doing the right activities at the right level, with enough recovery time built in. Your body won’t thank you for big training changes or if it’s too high intensity, so it’s important to understand what you’re doing and why you are doing it. In the end, it all boils down to the training triangle, the holy trinity of distance preparation. Get this right and illness, injury or motivational lapses are much less likely to strike:

  1. The correct training at the right time
  2. Good nutrition and hydration
  3. Good rest and recovery

What to eat and drink while training to run

Make sure you pay close attention to what you eat and how much you drink. Full Potential have put together a few golden rules to help you maximise your training effectiveness through what you put into your body, before, during and after training.

1) Hydration

  • - When you exercise you sweat. The more you sweat, the more your blood volume decreases and the harder your heart has to work to deliver oxygen to your muscles. So get into a routine of hydration throughout the day by drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water*.
  • - To avoid dehydration, it’s a good idea to do a ‘pee test’ – if the colour of your urine is clear you’re fine, but when the colour gets darker you’re probably not hydrated enough. Time to drink up!
  • - Practice drinking water while running as well as taking on board your gels/snacks – so you can get the hang of it before race day (it’s not as easy as you might think).

2) Nutrition

  • - Good nutrition is critical to how you feel and perform during your running training plan and your race. As part of your programme, choose foods that provide energy to fuel your body and help it repair and grow.
  • - Make sure you eat a balanced and healthy diet – this is as important as your training and it’s key that you eat the right food at the right time, to help your body repair and grow stronger. Eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables over the course of the day.
  • - If you’re running for more than 90 minutes, you’ll need to refuel, so you don’t run out of energy. Maintain a steady supply of carbohydrate and choose foods which release their energy quickly. You’ll need to find out what works for you so you're ready for race day.
  • - After a long run, the first 2 hours are crucial for optimal recovery and repair – muscles repair more effectively during this ‘recovery window’. Within 15-30 minutes eat something high in carbohydrates, or eat a meal that contains both carbohydrate and protein within 1-2 hours.
  • - Protein forms the body's building blocks; our bodies need it to repair and grow muscle damaged during exercise. The best way to get enough during your running plan is to choose a mix of low fat protein at each meal like lean meat and poultry, fish, low fat diary, eggs, beans and lentils.
  • - Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for your body when training for any endurance event, and should be included in every meal, providing around 60% of your daily calories. Good examples are whole grains, pasta, basmati rice, oats, beans, sweet potatoes and fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to choose the right carbohydrates at the right time, so you start your training or race with a full tank.
  • - Carbohydrates made with simple sugars and refined flours (high GI foods) such as white bread and cereals, biscuits, cakes, fruit juice, sports drinks and gels, will give you short term energy. They are useful as a booster during and after runs longer than 90 minutes.

 So there you have it. Everything you need to get out there and smash it. If you do want any more information or assistance, it’s always a good idea to head on over to our running partners at

After all, what they don’t know about training for a run isn’t worth knowing. Best of luck!

* Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature. At least 2L of water, from all sources, should be consumed per day, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle

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