Tips for Increasing Your Distance From 10km to a Half Marathon

Congratulations to everyone who completed the Bristol Run Series 10k. To help you to step up to the 15k and Half Marathon, Personal Trainer, Sian from SC-fitness has some helpful tips below.

Stepping up your distance

So, you’ve worked up to running 10km and you’ve decided you’d like to go further. Perhaps you’ve signed up for a Half Marathon event and you’re feeling excited…but the jump from 10km to 21km feels a bit daunting. That’s completely understandable! However, I bet you thought that running 10km seemed a long way off when you first ran 5km, right? Yet you did it! That’s why I want to reassure you that now you’ve reached 10km, you can absolutely get to a Half Marathon. There is simply more training you need to do beforehand and that’s what I’m here to help with.

Here are some tips for you to focus on in the run up to your event to get you over that finish line not only having completed the distance, but having enjoyed it too!

Tip 1: Set yourself a realistic timeframe to train for your event

The main thing that gives you confidence when running long distances is that you know you can do it. This requires preparation and enough time to work up to the distance in question. To expect your body to go from running a distance such as 10km to a Half Marathon takes time and patience, as well as a sensible, progressive training plan. You really don’t want to rush into things. My advice is to build up your running gradually so that your lungs and your legs increase in fitness and stamina and are able to cope with the longer distances.

If you’re already comfortable running 10k, I would suggest giving yourself about 6-8 weeks to work up to your Half Marathon. If you’re new to running, you may want to increase this time. Essentially the more preparation time you have, the more gradual your training can be and you can work up in smaller distances. Make sure you do what’s right for you.

Photo Credit: JennyHill

Tip 2: Focus on increasing your weekly mileage

Running further than 10km doesn’t mean that you have to cover more than 10km every time you run. Your focus needs to be on increasing how far you run over the week as a whole. This will include more than one run (I would advise planning for at least 3 per week) and they should be of varying distances. You may also want to include some tempo or interval runs where you can work on your speed and recovery. One of your weekly runs should be a ‘long run’ where you are working up to your Half Marathon distance and depending on the time you have available to prepare, I suggest you increase your long run by 1-2km each week. Keep the progressions manageable and consistent so that your body is able to keep up with the increase in duration and intensity.

Tip 3: Don’t forget about recovery and injury-prevention

Running is a brilliant sport and I love it for both the physical and mental health benefits. However there is no denying that it is also a high-impact activity and injuries can be common. That’s why I advise that around your running sessions you prioritise some strength training and mobility workouts. These don’t have to be long or complicated, they simply need to be part of your routine too. Our muscles and joints go through a lot when running, so having strong muscles which aren’t constantly tight and fatigued is important.

Make sure to incorporate some exercises which work your lower body muscles including your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts are great, as well as single leg movements such as lunges and step ups. Yoga classes are really good for recovery and they can help you learn some useful movements which you can repeat at home around your running program.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba

You can do it!

Hopefully, you’re feeling more confident that you can now increase your distance from 10km in an achievable and enjoyable way. Running is a form of movement that is challenging and forces us to push ourselves, yet it is so rewarding too. Nothing feels better than running a race which you know you’ve trained well for and crossing that finish line with a huge sense of relief and achievement. Now go and enjoy your training – you’ve got this!