We’ve all been there - whether next week, next month, or next year - you’ve got your first 10K coming up. From researching the best stretches for a 10K to identifying the best compression wear for endurance running, it’s good to research what you need to know in advance of the race itself.
Of course, it’s not always easy to know what it is that you don’t know! Even for experienced runners, taking on a race of a new length represents a new challenge - bringing new pitfalls and hurdles along the way. So for those looking for things you need to know about a 10K - relax! You’ve found the ultimate 10K guide, from CRX.
How To Avoid Common 10k Injuries
We know, we know - we’ve started off with the worst bit. In fact, knowing about common 10K injuries is all part and parcel of preparing effectively - and knowing the injuries you might face as a result of running a 10K can help you to avoid them all together. From minor blisters or chafing to shin splints and stress fractures, learn about the ways your body might react to endurance running - and how you can swerve them, for a safe and healthy run!
Common running injuries from a 10K include:
Of course, the majority of these injuries are non-serious: minor inconveniences like blisters and pulled muscles, though painful, can be treated at the site or with inexpensive home remedies. Dehydration, though serious if severe, can be easily remedied mid-run with regular water stops (or a CamelBak-style backpack for hands-free hydration on the move!).
However, it is important to note that some 10K injuries, like stress fractures and plantar fasciitis, can cause problems beyond the race itself. How can you best protect yourself against these?
Compression is essential to protect yourself against common running injuries. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis are two common 10K injuries which respond well to compression, typically delivered through a pair of compression socks. Injury to the foot and ankle can be tackled immediately with compression, post-race, which helps stimulate venous return to the area.
Energising your body with oxygen-rich blood means that lactic acid is flushed out - keeping swelling and pain down. This means that, in the event of an injury, you’re less likely to overcompensate with the rest of your body and worsen the issue - as well as keeping the injured part of your body moving through in active recovery.
How To Recover From Your 10K
Here at CRX, we have a little saying: The race isn’t over when you cross the finish line; the race is over once your body has recovered’.
Something that many people forget to take into account after a 10K is the recovery period- especially if the race is their very first 10K! Let’s turn now to how you can improve your recovery after running a 10K, and whether there’s anything you can do to speed up the process.
Even if you don’t sustain any injuries during the race, your body will need to rest and recuperate after the intense exercise you’ve done. Our best tips for recovering after a 10K are as follows:
This might surprise you, but if your legs can bear it, our experts suggest a swim or a light jog immediately after the race can be hugely beneficial when it comes to flushing out that lactic acid buildup and preventing pooling. This lactic acid pooling is what causes pain, so gently getting it moving can be enormously beneficial.
Of course, you’ll need some off days. For a 10K, our experts suggest one day completely off exercise after the 10K, followed by 3-5 easy, low-intensity days. Of course, it’s vital to listen to your body - if you feel especially sore or fatigued on Day 2 post-race, make sure you rest here too!
Massage + Recovery Treatments
Massage can be helpful to ensure that any remaining lactic acid (the fluid that presses on painful nerve roots and pain receptors) is diffused through the muscle, in addition to tackling any persistent tight spots or soft tissue damage.
Compression can also be used as a positive adjunct to recovery treatments like massage or ice baths, as it stimulates a healthy blood flow and boosts venous return through muscular compression. This can help to tackle minor injuries that are unnoticeable in the post-run aftermath, such as microbleeds or microswellings in the muscle fibres. Recovering with compression reduces your risk of swelling or oedema, and therefore cuts down the chance of soft tissue damage; as well as offering a huge 43% reduction in next day DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) following your race.
How To Boost Your 10k Performance
Finally, it’s not all about your preparation and your recovery - there are things you can do to boost your performance in the race itself. Whether you’re running your first 10k or looking to improve on your 10k time, boosting your time is always a positive step.
There are some commonalities between all good guides on how to improve your 10k time: sufficient rest, proper nutrition and pre-race training routines are all part of getting the best possible 10K time. Compression is also an often-overlooked part of your 10K race preparation: not only does it boost your recovery and minimise injury, but compression can also have huge benefits on the track itself.
CRX compression is proven to offer:
36% more next day power.
37% more next day strength.
36% increase in overall recovery performance
making it an essential part of your pre-race toolkit. Learn more about the benefits of compression for running here.
Run Your Way To 10K Success
That’s all from us - we hope this guide to running your 10K has helped you to pick up a few tips and tricks from the professionals here at CRX (and avoid a few pitfalls along the way). Good luck!