Sonja Laxton's 10km training plan

Week 1

In the first week, you simply need to get out on the road, preferably with a friend or two, and start exercising. Start off slowly, with just 2-3km of steady walking per day. In week 1, you should try to get out on the road for at least 5, preferably 6, days. Do not try to go too fast, and make sure that you have the correct footwear that does not leave you with blisters or sore feet.

Be aware of the health issues of running. While regular running is generally beneficial in terms of cardiovascular wellness, be sure to consult your doctor if you have a history of heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or similar problems, and remember, never exercise within a week of having flu.

Week 2

As we start our second week of training, I hope that you are still keen to carry on. The most common complaint when it comes to exercise is: "I have no time". I know that our lives are busy, but my programme will take less than an hour a day. Find a time when you can get out - early mornings are the best, but even lunchtimes at work can be used. It's all about planning, and the benefits will be there in the long term - exercise improves overall health, concentration levels, sleeping patterns and helps maintain a healthy weight.

This week, try to increase the distances you cover, still walking only. Keep to 5 or 6 sessions with 1 or 2 rest days, but include the following: 2 easy walks of about 5km, with 3-4 days of between 2 and 3km each. On one of these shorter runs, concentrate on increasing your speed a little, get those arms moving and the pulse nice and high.

Be sure to re-hydrate well after the session, preferably with cold water or a sports drink. You should also start logging your training: time and distance walked, how you felt, the route you took, who you did it with. Comparing notes with yourself as you get fitter is an excellent motivational tool.

Week 3

Congratulations on reaching your 3rd week's training for the SPAR Women's 10km Challenge. Now you should be well into the programme, with the following behind you: your running kit, including shoes, should be settled upon; you should be able to walk for 5km slowly without discomfort and 2-3km hard. Preferably you should also have a couple of training partners who will race with you. It is also an excellent idea to buy a running watch - these can be obtained at a good sports shop or specialist running store. Watches are essential items for both training and racing.

This week: enter the race and make sure that your family and friends know about it. That way you will be committed.

Training this week includes your first running. Three times this week, include short jogs of about 1or 2 minutes into the walks. This should be done about 4 or 5 times during the walk, i.e. walk 3 minutes, jog 1 minute, walk 3, jog 2, and so on for the 3,4 or 5km that you do.

If your muscles are tight, be sure to get a simple stretching regimen from someone who knows running. Quads, hamstrings and calf muscles are the most important muscles in running, and they need to be kept loose.

Week 4

You are now into your fourth week of training for the SPAR Women's 10km Challenge and you may have encountered little problems such as a sore muscle or 2 and possibly a stitch in your side. Generally, muscles will ache as you stress them, but anything really sore means you have to rest a day or 2. Eating is also a big issue for runners, and my advice is basically do not eat or drink anything for about 2 hours before a run. Very often, this eliminates stitches.

Your training is now very important and every session counts. If you are coping with the running part of the programme, try to increase both the DURATION and INTENSITY of the actual running. If you go out for, say, 40 minutes, do repetitions of walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, a total of 4 times. You are aiming to do the race about 40-50% running, i.e. 2.5 out of the 5km or 5 out of the 10km, actually running, with walking in between.

Do 6 sessions this week if you can. The running can be as slow as you like, but if you are generally fit, then try and increase the pace at which you run. There are no hard and fast rules here, just push yourself quite hard and see what happens.

Good luck, hopefully you can now feel yourself getting fit. Isn't it exciting?

Week 5

With less than 2 weeks to go before the SPAR Women's 10km Challenge, I hope you are starting to feel strong and comfortable in your training now. If you are planning to run the 10km, then you need to get out on the road for about 60 minutes in one of your sessions this week. This can be the usual mix of walking and slow running, but make sure you are comfortable - don't try anything too ambitious. And be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards.

Try to increase the running and decrease the walking in all your sessions, up to at least 50/50 in terms of time. You need to get out there at least 5 times as usual this week, preferably 6.
Now you also need to plan race day. What time you will leave home, the route to the race, who is going with you and exactly what you are going to wear, before, during and after the race.

Week 6

Race day is only a few days away. So you need to be focusing on Sunday, relaxing and setting yourself goals.

Prepare well. Get all your kit ready the night before, especially your race number. Work out when you will be leaving home. Take enough warm clothes for before and after. Remember that running is a warm business, so, unless it's a freezing day, wear less rather than more in the race itself.
From Wednesday to Saturday this week, cut right back on training.  You can go out for a couple of 15 minute sessions to keep those muscles in trim, but rest on Saturday.

Most important is your race plan. Work out how you will be running and or walking (minutes walking, minutes running), what your target pace/km will be, what your intermediate times should be at the km boards, who you will be running with and where you will meet them, where you will stand at the start.  Whatever you do on race day, never get caught up in the excitement and start too fast.  That could ruin the whole experience.  Better a slow start and a faster finish.  Above all, good luck and enjoy the day. 


Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.