How to run your first 10K

Your First 10K Can Be A Breeze

your first 10KOn a brisk Saturday morning in July, a shot rang out that echoed off Morro Rock and seven hundred plus people started moving out towards the Cayucos Pier.  The 47th Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Fun Run had begun.  Six miles (one hour, nine minutes and six seconds) later, I arrived at the pier.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to train for and complete a 10K or even a 5K, allow me to recommend it fully.  Your first 10K doesn’t have to suck either, mine was awesome and I’ll tell you exactly how I did it.

My wife did her first one last year when after a rib injury, wasn’t able to train her preferred method of fitness which is Krav Maga.  She started jogging as a way to stay conditioned while her rib healed.  That year she ran two 5Ks and one 10K.  After watching her complete the Rock To Pier Run last year, I was inspired.  I wondered if I had it in me to do that.

Could an asthmatic former two pack a day guy who has struggled with plantar fasciitis on more than one occasion handle six miles in the sand?

That was the big question.  My #1 concern was the plantar fasciitis.  If you’ve never experienced it, the pain is lame at it’s best and akin to a groin kick at it’s worst.  After years of waiting tables, tending bar, selling cars, improper footwear it was bad.  I worked through it, eventually, it subsided but the idea of running again scared the crap out of me.  No way did I want to re-traumatize the feets.

I tried running about three years ago but started developing shin splints and the heal pain was coming back.  So I stopped.  I found though about two years ago that I could sprint stairs or run hills.  When I was a little kid, I’d run along the water in Pismo Beach as fast as I could.  Felt like flying.  I did miss that.  A lot.

My wife’s success with running inspired me to do something about it.

So, if you’re a smoker who doesn’t smoke, an asthmatic, someone with plantar fasciitis, and are thinking about running a 5K or 10K, read on because I figured it out so you don’t have to.  We’re going to look at everything from footwear to training to nutrition.  Everything that I did to get into shape for this run and why I’m pretty sure next year I will want to either tackle the half marathon or just slaughter my time by training my body to be highly efficient at running 10K.

Your 10K Footwear

Step one really comes down to what goes on your feet.  If you want to get totally overwhelmed and even more confused than when you started, try googling “running shoes for plantar fasciitis.”  What I knew I wanted was a shoe that kept me “falling forward” while I ran because I knew that when I ran hills or did stair sprints, there was no pain because there was no heal strike.  I also knew that I didn’t want a shoe that left me feeling disconnected from the ground.  Here’s the main piece of advice for shoes:  Go see an expert.  Avoid big box shoe stores or sporting good stores.  Forget trying to save a couple bucks.  This isn’t a TV or a car.  These are your feet.   Find a store that specializes in running shoes and find someone who works there is KNOWS their shit.  The dude that helped me was real, interested in helping and knew his shit.

I got a great pair of Saucony Peregrines.  Trail shoes that can handle road work and sand.  They have the right amount of cushion, keep me feeling connected to the ground and my stride is neutral now instead of a heal toe stride which was causing all the pain.  So for your first 10K, step one is to treat yourself and get the right shoes.

Preparing The Body

Ease into it!  That’s my first tip.  Second tip.  Become efficient.  Third, you don’t have to run every day, in fact, please don’t.  I ran two days a week.  Tuesday and Friday, evenings were for running.  Tuesday was road work and Friday was beach work.  In the mornings during the week I practiced burpees, Turkish get-ups, and heavy kettlebell swings (more on that in a minute).

For training for your first 10K, start out with just a mile.  But you’re not even going to run the whole mile.  Just get the mile done.  Jog for a little, walk for a while.  Time it.  Then start working on beating that time and getting to where you can handle one mile, non-stop.  Stay at one mile non-stop

Stay at one mile non-stop but then add your second mile of walking and jogging.  Work up to being able to jog three miles without walking or stopping.  Here’s a sample progression I followed.  Notice the word progression…

Running Progression13606655_10208229443668658_2120549786201135321_n

  • Day 1 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 12 rounds
  • Day 2 – Jog 1 mile – time yourself
  • Day 3 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 18 rounds
  • Day 4 – Jog 1 mile – beat last time
  • Day 5 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 24 rounds
  • Day 6 – Jog 1.5 miles – time yourself (beat your previous mile still)
  • Day 7 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 30 rounds
  • Day 8 – Jog 2 miles – time it
  • Day 9 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 18 rounds (yes, less is more sometimes)
  • Day 10 – Jog 2.5 miles
  • Day 11 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 24 rounds
  • Day 12 – Jog 3 miles – time yourself
  • Day 13 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 30 rounds
  • Day 14 – Jog 3 miles – beat last time
  • Day 15 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 36 rounds
  • Day 16 – Jog 3.5 miles – time yourself
  • Day 17 – 30 seconds jog / 30 seconds walk 24 rounds
  • etc…

See how you’re going forward, then back a little, further, then back, then further all while pushing distance?   This was good for me considering I was already exercising hard with kettlebells and burpees.  This will give you active recovery while developing long haul endurance.  Continue on to 4-5 miles and then just get really proficient at running the four to five miles.  If you have the time and want to test yourself, shoot for six, but it won’t be necessary.  If you get really good at running 4 miles, you will be able to cruise through 6 at a slightly reduced pace.  Follow?

Other forms of exercise?

Yes.  High-Intensity Training.  On one day, I would train burpees in the morning.  12-minutes of as many burpees as I could squeeze into that 12-minute block.  On another day it’s heavy Turkish Get-Ups and heavy Kettlebell Swings.  How many get-ups can I handle in 10 minutes with a 32kg Bell?  Followed by how fast can I bang out 10 sets of 10 swings with a 40gk Bell?  Warm up with Jumping Rope or Jumping Jacks followed by a little joint mobility, then get the work in and cool down with a little ab work.  Saturdays were for dips, chins, and battle ropes.  Progressively push my body to get more done in the same amount of time or the same amount of work done in less time.  Intensity on an exertion scale of 1 – 10, 10 being balls out should look like this:

5,6,7,8,9,6,7,8,9,7,8,9,10…  then back to 5.

Your First 10K Nutrition

Are you sitting down?  Are you ready for this?  I ran those six miles in a fasted state in complete ketosis.  Race started Saturday at 8:30 am, I had my last meal Friday night at 7pm.  Just over 12 hours.  I cut out 90% of all sugar from my diet in March.  Any sugar I get comes from veggies, nuts and what little dairy and fruit I consume.  Mostly yogurt and berries when I do and never more than 20-25 net carbs per day.


I ran 6 miles on coffee, heavy cream, and a supplement I take that helps me get into and stay in ketosis.  There’s no need to EVER carb up for a run.  I’m about 170 pounds.  I’ve got about 10% body fat.  That means there are 17 pounds of fat on my body.  There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.   Meaning at any given moment I have about 59,500 calories of stored energy on me.  WAY more than enough to run six little miles.  I don’t need any weird sugar concoction to suck on, I don’t need to “carb up” before the run, none of it.  I, you, the world, have all the energy we need.  The food pyramid is a scam.  15,000 years ago man went way farther on much less and you can train your body to return to this natural fat burning state instead of being addicted to carbs, starch, and sugar.

My diet is a three-fold hybrid.  One part Warrior Diet, One Part Keto, One part Primal.  If you want to read and listen up on this, allow me to suggest the following starting points.

  1. The Warrior Diet by Ori Hoffmekler
  2. Primal Blueprint by Mark Sission
  3. Keto//OS by Pruvit
  4. Tim Ferris and Dom D’Agistino podcast
  5. Joe Rogan and Mark Sission podcast

Preparing The Mind

How to run your first 10K all starts in the melon.  I got a mindset for you.  Decide to finish.  Make the decision that no matter what you WILL finish.  Next, raise your expectation level of yourself.  You know you can do this.  You know you’re capable.  Expect more of yourself and go put in the work.  Pay the price.  Toss away any blocks or limiting beliefs.  When they pop up (and they will) acknowledge the thought and let it go.  It’s just a thought.  You’re going to have like 60,000 more today, so why would you give the one that says “you can’t” any value or merit.  Change it to a better more empowering one and go with that instead.  The final piece of the right mindset is to have the right music.  Maybe not important for you but a make/break thing for me.

Have music that makes you feel fast and light

These tunes work for me.  May not work for you but they make me feel fast and light.  That’s what matters.

Your First 10K:  The Bottom Lineyour first 10k

So for me, the run was about testing myself and my limits.  I had asthma when I was an early teenager, I used to smoke a lot of cigarettes, struggled with plantar fasciitis, and wanted to see what this 43-year-old body could do without sugar and starch.  The question now is, where are you at?  What are you capable of?  What can your body do?  It’s simple.  Anything you ask it to.  Will you take on a 10K or are you capable of something else?  Spartan Run perhaps?  Triathalon maybe?  Marathon?

You are only limited by your decisions and your mind.  You are always capable of so much more.  How you choose to push your potential is up to you, but please, for the love of the life God has given you, please push it.

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