The 10K race is a special one. It’s the sweet spot between a 5K and a half marathon and, for runners teasing the idea of becoming true distance runners, the 6.2 miles can serve as a major milestone. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or rarely venture more than a few miles, finishing a 10K requires serious motivation, mileage, and a comprehensive training plan. So, Aaptiv trainer Meg Takacs went ahead and created exactly that—and even added on a half marathon training portion. Introducing Cross-Train 10K to Half with Meg, live in-app now!
Designed for all levels, the new 10K training program combines running, strength training, and stretching into a ten-week period. So, whether you’re working to hit a new PR or simply pushing to finish your first 10K, you can cross-train your way to success with the help of Takacs’ technical expertise. Then, you can either break from the program there or keep going to reach that 13.1 benchmark. To learn more about the new 10K to half training program, we asked Takacs to share more on what went into building her training plan and the major benefits of sticking with it to cross that finish line. Read on to learn more and then head to the Aaptiv app and look out for Cross-Train 10K to Half with Meg under Programs.
Why did you want to create a 10K program?
“I love the 10K distance. It’s perfect for someone with a few 5K races under their belt and 6.2 miles is the perfect distance to start at if you want to get more serious about becoming a long distance runner. My hope for this program is that members walk away having built a solid foundation of what running means to them and a better understanding of why they push themselves. Once you can define that, the pace and personal records come right along with it.”
Is this program suitable for all levels?
“Yes and no. The program is ten weeks and was specifically designed for each level—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Within each workout, I give suggested speeds for all three levels. So, no matter where you’re at on a fitness level, you’ll be guided throughout with appropriate speeds.
“That said, I recommend that extreme beginners start with my 5K program and then graduate to the 10K program from there. These programs complement each other really well in terms of the coaching and overall structure. Once a beginner can run 2 miles in about 24 minutes, then they’re ready to start the 10K program.”
What is the general outline of the program?
“The program is 10 weeks long and is made up of outdoor running, treadmill, and strength workouts. I can’t stress enough how important it is for runners to cross-train. Ninety-seven percent of the energy you expend when your run should be put toward pushing power into the ground. You aren’t going to become stronger or more powerful if you aren’t incorporating some kind of strength training into your regimen. So, the strength workouts I chose are runner-specific, meaning they directly work muscles crucial for improving running performance. They focus on the following:
- Building overall core strength to promote good posture.
- Improving hip strength to build a powerful stride that will create an effective and stable cadence.
- Gaining lean muscle to alleviate the impact of each stride. This will help runners avoid injuries like hamstring tears, IT band tightness, and shin splints.”
Besides finishing a 10K, what are some of the major benefits of completing such an intensive program?
“Three things will happen during this program:
- You’ll better understand that running is all about mentality. Once you master the mental toughness component, you’ll see your overall running efficiency and quality improve. The program is all about raising a mental and physical baseline because, once you do that, your standards for both running and life, never go back down.
- You’ll learn to prioritize these workouts in your daily life—not because you have to, but because you want to. The point isn’t to stress about fitting in workouts but more so to really believe that you’ll do it no matter what. The best thing you can do for yourself is make time for the things that you know deep down matter most.
- By the end of the program, you’ll actually begin to look forward to that first hint of fatigue in a workout. Part of improving as a runner is defining your “why?” Why are you running? Why do you push yourself when you’re tired? Trust me, once you can define that, you’ll feel limitless.”
Let’s talk about the half marathon portion.
“After your 10k race day, members will have the option to continue on to train for four additional weeks for a half marathon. These workouts consist of longer durations and increased mileage. There’s strength training in this portion of the program, as well.”
What advice do you have to help members stick with the program and stay motivated?
“Following a training schedule can be intimidating, but potentially training improperly for a race can be even scarier. A training plan is almost like a safety net in that regard. You know exactly what you need to do and exactly what days you need to do it.
“It’s hard to stick to a plan, though. I understand that. My schedule is crazy, but I also know what runs do for my productivity, my mindset, and my work ethic. There’s a direct correlation between working out and success in the rest of your life. I make time for my runs and stay motivated by looking at them as more than just pace and miles. Working to improve overall running efficiency improves comfort when it comes to distance running. When you’re comfortable, you’re able to streamline a more stimulating, goal-oriented thought process. And, as a result, your runs gain more significance. They become something you want to do, not something you need to do.
“Whatever it is that you’re looking for—whether it’s weight loss, a faster pace, or improved running mechanics—you’ll get that out of this program. Stay diligent in your desire to improve your discipline and yourself.”
Ready to take on a 10K or a half marathon but not a member of Aaptiv yet? Sign up here!