5K to 10K: Can I Run a 10K If I’ve Completed a 5K?

Congratulations! A little bird told us that you have finished a 5K. That’s an achievement on its own. We are excited along with you and look forward to your next finish-line celebration!

So, have you considered stepping it up a notch and trying your hand (or feet…) at a 10K race? It is absolutely possible; it just takes the right kind of preparation. 

The 10K race is the perfect middle-ground distance for recreational runners and serious competitors alike. Training for a 10K won’t take over your life, and you will notice your body adjusting to the new endurance levels seamlessly. 

From 5K completers to half marathon trainees, 10K is doable and a great goal to follow up with. If you’re wondering, “Can I run a 10K if I’ve completed a 5K?“, the answer is — absolutely, yes!

For first-time runners that have just completed their first 5K but are looking to the horizon for a new challenge, doubling up on mileage is a big goal. But with the proper training and discipline, your 10K will be a walk (or run) in the park. We’ve listed some of our tips and tricks for ramping up mileage from a 5K to 10K distance below.

How to Run a 10K After Completing a 5K

5K to 10k: Can I run a 10K if I've completed a 5K?
Can I run a 10K if I’ve completed a 5K? Yes!

Right, so you’re here, ready, and raring to go. Here are our 6 best tips to get you comfortably across the 10K finish line.

1. A Good Training Plan

The best runners follow appropriate training plans that fit their current fitness levels while driving them closer to their running goals. Being realistic by gradually increasing mileage will build up your endurance and confidence. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of 10K training plans you can follow to make this step.

Advancing from the 5K to 10K distance can be obtained by adding 8 to 10% mileage each week, spread out over two or four training sessions. Doing this over a few months will get you that finishers medal and maybe even a new PB! Most training plans are eight to ten weeks long, giving you ample time to train for higher mileage and taper down before race day. 

There are many training plans that you can find online that will even do this math for you. For runners starting a 5K to 10K running plan, you will probably be most comfortable with the structure if you can jog an entire 5K from beginning to end without stopping. If you’re not at that point yet, maybe consider extending your training plan over a couple more weeks to prepare your body adequately. 

If you like to use apps to follow along with your progress, there are a variety of 5k to 10k training programs that can help.

2. Cross-Training

Running 10 kilometers is no small feat and requires endurance, strength, and speed. While running sessions prepare your legs for race day, other exercise components will also get you across that finish line. Cross-training is also a fun way to mix up your workouts and break up the monotony of running on a treadmill or following the same running route day in and day out. 

Incorporating resistance and strength training workouts in addition to tempo and sprint workouts is an excellent way to tone and strengthen your accessory muscles. Those smaller muscle groups will fortify your larger muscle groups, preventing injuries and improving athletic performance. Don’t neglect those supporting muscles; they are the ones that will carry you across the finish line! 

3. Stretching

All runners are guilty of neglecting their stretching routines. Fitness and running blogs reiterate the importance of stretching repeatedly – we have too! It’s so easy to forget about stretching after your run. Besides, when you hit “end workout” on your fitness watch, the only thing you want to do is take off your sweaty clothes, have a refreshing shower, and plop down on the sofa. 

Prioritize stretching your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves after you run. Just a simple 5 to 10-minute stretching routine goes a long way. Lengthening your muscles after working them for your runs will aid your body in recovery and increase flexibility along the way. Eventually, you’ll see an increased range of motion if you diligently stretch your muscles.

This could improve your running form and make your strides more efficient, carrying you further more easily.

4. Pacing

You can anticipate running at a slower pace when tackling a 10K. You have doubled your 5K distance, anyway!

During your training runs, varying your training distances and speeds can help you fortify your run time and develop you as a runner. Slow and steady wins the race, but if you’re hoping to hit a certain target pace, you must dig up some grit and push your limits a bit during interval training.

Mixing sprint workouts, easy runs, and long run training days will help you become a stronger, more well-rounded runner. 

On race day, the goal is for you to be able to run at an easy, conversational pace. With the added adrenaline, race-day energy, and the subconscious competitive edge you may feel running alongside other athletes, you may even set a new personal record!

5. Set a Measurable Goal

Maybe your tactic is to sign up for a 10K race 8 to 10 weeks out so you can’t back out. Perhaps you recruit a friend or two to join you as accountability buddies. Posting your running schedule on the fridge may be enough motivation to stick to your training plan. Whatever your method, set a goal and create accountability around it. 

It’s too easy to snooze your alarm and get that extra sleep you think you need on mornings when you’re supposed to run. Or have you ever told yourself that you’re too tired after work to hit the pavement for a quick training session?

Having a built-in way to measure your progress and see how far you’ve come is a great motivator to lace up your shoes on the days that you want to trudge around your house with fuzzy slippers instead. 

When choosing a race, we suggest that you consider one with relatively flat terrain or terrain similar to that which you typically train on. Trying hills on race day for the first time wouldn’t be fun for anyone involved. 

Our advice is not to worry about setting a blisteringly fast 10K time if it’s your first race. Just get a feel for the distance.

6. Rest and Recovery 

For any runner with any distance goal, discipline goes beyond lacing up your running shoes even when you don’t want to. The best runners have a healthy balance of on-days and off-days. Resting between training sessions will give your muscles time to repair and your body time to recover. This is essential in preventing injury and seeing progress in your training plan. 

It is also wise to taper down your mileage in the last three weeks preceding your race day. This will remove any temptation to over-train and give your muscles adequate rest before you pin that race-day bib to your running tee.

If you are disciplined in sticking to your training plan – both on and off days – you will be well-prepared for your race day! 

Making the Jump From 5K to 10K

Whether you’re signing up for your first 10K running plan or a seasoned runner just looking to dust off your shoes for a leisurely 10K jog – it’s a fantastic distance to run. Committing to yourself and sticking to a running plan is something to be immensely proud of. 

We are cheering you on along the sideline and can’t wait to see your finisher medal wrapped around your neck. Hit the trails or road and get running!

Author Profile

Thalia Oosthuizen

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Thalia started running during the the pandemic as a way of getting out of the house. The running bug bit, and now much of her life revolves around everything to do with running - videos, podcasts, studies, books, articles, and interviews. She's also done several courses on running nutrition and mechanics to aid in her training and advising others.
Thalia Oosthuizen

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