Ten reasons to sign up for a 10k race
A 10k has got to be one of my favourite distances to train for and run – so far I’ve completed six varied 6.2-mile races over the course of a year and enjoyed them all for different reasons. Hopefully I can convince you why you should sign up to one as your next running venture.
1. It’s the perfect challenge for parkrunners
If you are a parkrun regular like me then you’ll already be used to the feeling of crossing that 5k finish line and hoping to improve your personal best time. If you want a bit more variety or want to test yourself with distance instead of time, a 10k is the next logical step. If you think about it, it’s only the same as running 2 parkruns! If you can’t bear to miss your Saturday morning running fix, you can still incorporate the weekly 5k into your training, for example by running to or from your local event to boost your mileage.
2. There are so many races to choose from
There’s an abundance of 10k races that go on throughout the year, so I can assure you you’ll be spoilt for choice no matter when you decide to sign up for this challenge. Although the distance remains the same, you can choose from coastal trail runs such as Lulworth Cove 10k, city road races like London Vitality 10000, and so much in between. You don’t have to splash the cash for entry fees either – I’ve seen races promoted for as little as £6, and the National Trust also advertise free monthly 10k trail runs, although you’ll have to time these yourself if you want to keep track of any PBs.
3. It's a great opportunity to raise money for charity
If you are devoted to raising awareness and funds for a specific cause, why not combine your passion for running and for your chosen charity by asking for sponsorship for your 10k race? The distance is challenging enough to convince people to donate that little bit more, and there are even specific charity 10k races where everyone supports the same cause, such as the London Winter Run for Cancer Research UK. The community spirit of these races is even more striking than usual, and everyone – including spectators, volunteers and fellow runners - will be willing you on right up to the finish line.
4. See the sights while you run
If you haven’t got a particular charity in mind, why not unite your running with a bit of tourism instead? You can use your 10k race to see the sights of a new city in a completely fresh light – and your race entry is likely to be cheaper than a guided tour! There are even specific races that guarantee good sightseeing opportunities along the course, such as the Great Birmingham 10k.
5. No need for mid-race fuelling
Another great advantage of the 10k distance is that although it is definitely challenging, the distance isn’t so great that you need to bother with mid-race fuelling. This means you don’t need to worry about finding gels or snacks that agree with you as part of your training and you don’t need to carry these during the race. The vast majority of races have clearly signposted and frequent drinks stations, so you may not even need to carry water, meaning you’ve got more free hands to wave at all your cheering supporters!
6. Having an upcoming race gives training more focus
Although a 10k training plan won’t include having to practise carrying hydration packs or other gear designed for longer distance races, having that date in the diary will provide you with more focus for your running as you build up to race day. You may even want to start to include more varied training, such as intervals or hills, depending on your speed targets or the elevation of your chosen course. Training for your race certainly doesn’t have to be boring!
7. You won’t have to give up your social life
Despite needing a certain level of discipline and training, a 10k race is also short enough that you don’t have to give up your social life in order to achieve your goal. Any training runs are likely to be around an hour at their maximum length. You could even arrange to run to your local pub to meet friends for dinner – hopefully they’ll be willing to drop you home once you’re done!
8. You’ll smash your 10000 step target
Fitbit addicts, rejoice! Running a 10k will guarantee that you meet that elusive 10000-steps-a-day target with ease! If you include the walk to the start line and a peruse of the race stalls after crossing the finish line, you’ll be surprised at just how many steps you’ll clock up in a relatively short space of time. Cue sitting down for the remainder of the day and refuelling with a delicious lunch!
9. You’ll get a cool medal (and maybe a t-shirt too)
There are few better moments after finishing a race than hanging that shiny new medal around your neck and feeling like a Team GB Olympic champion (just me?!). As well as being able to brag about your achievement for the rest of the day and refusing to remove your medal for as long as humanly possible, it’s a great souvenir of the race and something to show the grandchildren in years to come. Any time you feel like you’re not good enough, your medal is a physical reminder that you can achieve great things if you set your mind to them. You might even get a t-shirt or extra goodies too.
10. You’ll feel so proud when you cross the line
Seriously though, the medal itself pales in comparison to the rush of endorphins and pride that floods your body when you reach that finish line and realise you’ve done it! Whether you were running for charity or not, you’ve achieved the goal you set yourself. It might not always have been an easy ride, but every effort you put into your training will be undeniably worthwhile. Nothing beats that feeling of post-race bliss, and, who knows, you may even feel ready to sign up to your next challenge!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any 10k races coming up – I’m currently looking for one to sign up for in September.
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