How to Step up from a 5k to a 10k Race

You finally did it. Congratulations, you hit that 5K mark. You’ve been meaning to do it, you started the race, you got to the finish, you hit your goal. Now you’re looking for the next thing. Welcome to the club, always looking for the next thing.

You finally did it. Congratulations, you hit that 5K mark. You’ve been meaning to do it, you started the race, you got to the finish, you hit your goal. Now you’re looking for the next thing. Welcome to the club, always looking for the next thing. You’re definitely a runner now. You want to make that 10K, but you’re not quite sure how to get from 5K to 10K. You’re doubling the distance and it seems insurmountable. That’s okay, we’re going to break it down and I’m going to make it easy for you to make sure you can get to another start and finish line for your next goal, finishing that 10K.

So, it seems like you’re probably new to running if you’re here watching this video, you probably haven’t been with me here on this channel before. I’m Jesse Funk. This is a show I call Runner’s High, where we talk about everything running every Tuesday and Thursday each and every week. That means if you want to learn more about running, you want to learn little tips and tricks like I’m going to give you in today’s video, or deep knowledge, you want to subscribe, stick around with me for more videos in the future.

Now, you want to get from the 5K to the 10K and it seems like this huge task, right? Maybe the 5K was farther than you thought you’d ever be able to go before. Well, I promise you, you can make it to that 10K, but it may mean, do you got to temper your expectations. And I don’t mean, you can’t do it. I absolutely believe you can. If you can complete a 5K you can complete a 10K. And the reason I say that is one, I guess philosophically, I believe in you. I believe in humanity. I believe in the possibilities of things that the human spirit can do. And this is pretty small on the big scale of the things that you are capable of. So, even though it may seem daunting, it may seem insurmountable, I’m going to give you a few tips and things you need to do that will get you all the way to the next finish line.

Okay. Past my pep talk, the first thing you need to do is build your mileage, right? You’re going to need to go twice the distance, that means you need to be able to run farther. But the key to this is not so much building distance. That’s probably not a revelation to you. Right? You go, I want to run farther so I need to run farther. Of course. But how do you do that? Well, there are a few tips that we kind of use in the running community like the 10% rule.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule and I’ve done another video on that previously, how the 10% rule is kind of flexible. But it is a guideline and it’s a good guideline. The 10% rule means you don’t build more than 10% of your previous mileage the next week. So, for example, say to finish that 5K, you are running, say 10, 10 -- well, call it 15 miles in a week. Maybe you went out five days a week, and you ran three miles each. So, you were consistent in that 5K distance. And you knew hey, I can do it. So, I got to the race, I finished it, running 15 miles, and you want to build your mileage.

So, next week, if you want to go with more miles, you’re not going to do more than 10% more, which means 15, 10% 15 is 1.5. So, next week, 15 plus 1.5, 16 and a half miles is your maximum. This doesn’t mean go run 16 and a half miles, it means don’t run more than 16 and a half miles. So, that’s tip number one on building mileage. But there’s more to it than that. Remember my example I just gave. I said you went out ran five days at three miles each.

Well, running the exact same mileage every single day isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Because you can probably take that mileage, consolidate some of it into one day, you’re going to call your long run day, reduce mileage on other days where maybe you don’t run at all or you run maybe only a mile in this particular case. And that’s going to be recovery.

So, if we took our five days from going three, three, three, three, three, and say I took one day, took two miles off of it, I swapped that over, made that a five mile run on one day. And then now that’s a one mile run, where should I stick that? Probably right after that five mile run. So, you run five then you’re on one the next day. Why? Well five is going to be considerably longer than you’d gone before. So, you need a recovery day, but you still get kind of your legs out there, you get blood flowing, and you’ll recover a little bit.

Next day’s a three, that’s fine. And then the other two, you could do something like a four and then a two, middling distances. Because you have that one big day with your max mileage so you’re not necessarily going to do that every single time. But you want to go a little bit longer, and again, recover, but you didn’t go as long. So, you don’t need to recover quite as much.

This is a really oversimplification of how you want to build, but varying your days, not only will allow you to build more mileage on that one big long run day, it’ll give you something else to do, you’re not running the same route every single time. And that is important for my next tip, be patient, be patient in building your mileage, this takes time. I know that it’s easy to go, hey, let’s put a timeline on this. I’ve got a -- I ran a 5K. I want to run a 10K in two weeks. Some people can.

It’s not a problem, they’ll just go out and hammer it out. If that’s you, awesome. Go for it. But if you know it’s taking you a little while to get to that 5K distance, be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Say it’s okay. We all come from different places, we all adjust to mileage differently. And we have to take account our own bodies. So, be patient. This is a long game. And I want you to be in the running community for a long time. I’ve been around 20 years. And the reason is because number one, I love doing it. But also, I temper my impatience to get where I want to go with patience and knowing sometimes I need to recover. That’s part of the hardest part about doing anything new, is you want to get there right now. But your body takes time to adapt. So, be patient with yourself.

As far as the actual race is concerned, if you just wanted to go out and do it, there’s a possibility if you can finish a 5K, you may already be able to finish a 10K without having done it before. But it depends. It depends on how fast you finished your 5K, and if you can go slower for your 10K. It’s all about aerobic capacity. And that aerobic capacity is often expressed as a VO2 max. Which is to say, how much oxygen can your body use that you’re breathing in and deliver to your muscles for fuel to be created? Okay. So, aerobic capacity or ability to use oxygen that we breathe in is the key to endurance running. When you go slower, you don’t need as much oxygen to maintain a particular pace.

So, if you already have a certain aerobic capacity, and you can dial that back down, then you’re able to go farther. I can’t answer this question for you in terms of can you go slower, but you can. You know your own pacing and you’ve gone out for runs. You did that 5K. So, can you run more casually than you do at that 5K? If you can, I think you’ll be surprised to find, you may be able to finish that 10K pretty quick. However you take the approach, know that through that schedule, varying your schedule, you should also vary what you’re doing. Go out different places, run different routes, run on trails, head to the track, do a Fartlek. If you don’t know what a Fartlek is, it’s Swedish for speed play. I cover that in other videos. So, subscribe, stick around, go search for that here in a minute.

But you want to vary what you’re doing because this is a long term commitment. You don’t necessarily need to think about it as a long term commitment, you just have to think about what do I need to do this day or this week and you will eventually get there. Trust the process. And you will get there. So, if you’re working from 5K to 10K, leave it down in the comments, let me know what’s your goal? How fast are you trying to get there? What’s your plan? I’d be happy to comment on what you’re working on. And see if there’s any way I can help you adjust your schedule, maybe help set realistic expectations. And hopefully, you can come back and share your story of success down in the comments for everybody else to see. So, I will see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.


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