You’ve run a few Parkruns – What next?

You’ve run a few Parkruns – What next?

On this episode of RUN with Coach Parry we talk about making the step up from a Parkrun or 5km to you first 10km. Even though the jump may seem big it is definitely doable. Have a listen to the podcast (or read the transcript below) to find out exactly how to do it.

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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto Run with Coach Parry. I’m Brad Brown, we’ve got Lindsay Parry with us.

Lindsay, one of the questions we get asked a lot is how to make the move up from running a Parkrun. A 5km for all intents and purposes, up to your very first 10km. That’s what I wanted to chat to you about today.

The step up from a Parkrun to bigger goals

It’s a fairly simple process on the technical side of things, but it can be daunting. It’s double the distance that someone has done up until now. Talk us through that process of somebody that’s wanting to make that step up. They’ve done the odd Parkrun and now they want to go on and set a couple of bigger goals.

LINDSAY PARRY: The physical aspect to it is, if you’ve trained and prepared for a 5km run and you’re running a couple of times a week. It probably means that your body is physically ready to do a 10km. Perhaps it will take some walk breaks, but it wouldn’t be that comfortable a step up.

So, in terms of the practicalities of it, it would require a very gradual increase. A couple of minutes a week, probably 2 to 3 minutes a week, added to your longest run of the week. The rest of your runs could probably stay very much the same if you’re running between 20 and 30 minutes, or run/walking between 20 and 30 minutes.

Reduce walking in a fixed time

That’s the one thing I would look at. Focus on training or changing in the short term. Getting to your first 5km, there was probably a lot of run/walking involved, so I wouldn’t look too much to increase the time necessarily that you are training. But to keep that time fixed and then to gradually reduce the amount of walking that you are doing in there. Your longest run of the week, wherever that may be, on the weekend or the middle of the week. That run you would still incorporate some walking in it, as you felt you needed it. The stimulus would be going up and up.

The one thing that I would look at though, which I feel is quite important, is that 5km is such a doable number for even quite unfit people. And the Parkrun in particular, is a very good example. A lot of people would go to a Parkrun and literally walk most of it, and are doing not much exercise for the rest of the week.

I feel that a 10km does require a little bit more effort. So, you do want to be running in the region of 3 to 4 days per week. That means looking at your equipment that you are running with. Whereas a Parkrun, or a 5km fun run at a local fundraiser, that sort of run, you could really get away with very little training and doing it in whatever footwear is in your cupboard. Running shoes from high school.

Run in the right gear to avoid injury and setbacks

But I think when you start to get a little more regular in your running and you are looking at a 10km, I would strongly advise people go and get a good pair of running shoes. Go to a reputable sports store or running store where you can get good advice. Get the right shoes so that this doesn’t end up in shin splints or ITB. Or some other injury that’s frustrating and means that you essentially have to start from the beginning again.

BRAD BROWN: If you’re looking for a training program by the way, head over to There is practically a 0 to 10km training program you can download for free and it will walk you through the entire process.

Lindsay, you mentioned you’re probably going to need to step up the amount that you’re running, from a day’s perspective, per week. A lot of novice runners make the mistake and think that they have to run every day. You talk about the injuries, potential shin splints, ITB, that sort of thing. That’s when you start looking for trouble. When you are running 6 or 7 days a week. As a beginner, getting started in this sport you don’t want to be doing that, do you?

How many days per week should you run?

LINDSAY PARRY: No. And I think if you’re a true beginner, I think 3 days a week of training is enough. 4 Days is as much as I would be comfortable recommending a beginner runs. But a real beginner, I would prefer 3 days a week and a little bit of cross training. Or a little bit of strength training in the gym.

You don’t always have access to all that. But if you’re running, say a Tuesday and a Thursday and one of the weekend days, that is enough to build yourself up to the 10km. You can then add a day somewhere else if you do have the time. But the days in between are quite important to allow your body to recover and get stronger, and to improve from the running. Honestly, if you discover that you have a talent for it and that you can run quite fast, then down the road you can look at adding 4th, 5th and 6th days. But for the average runner, even the person who eventually says I want to run 10km under an hour, that level of runner, 4 days a week of running is plenty.

BRAD BROWN: How important is setting the goal? Looking at your calendar and your planner and doing it? Whether it be that you’ve done the 5km now and it’s 8 weeks out. How important is having the line drawn in the sand that, that’s the one I’m going to do?

Setting your goal date determines your training needs

LP: As human beings, I think that’s quite critical. Because if you think to yourself I want to do a 10k, I’ll do it at some point. When is that point? Are you going to train until you feel ready to do a 10? Chances are that your motivation will wane quite easily in that scenario.

So, entering and saying this is the run that I’m planning on doing, and knowing that there’s a fixed point in the distance. Knowing how much time you’ve got to prepare for it is quite important. Because that’s what’s going to get you up and doing your training sessions when you’re having a bit of a bad day at work. Or things aren’t quite going according to plan at home. Those are the runs that make sure that you do what you need to do.

BRAD BROWN: Talk to me about the role of consistency. I hear it often. People talking that consistency trumps everything else. What does that mean and how do we work that into our 5 to 10k training program?

What does consistency in training mean?

LINDSAY PARRY: Consistency is a great word when it comes to training. I have this conversation with people often. In particular when you’re training for much further distances than 10km. But any program, whatever you’re training for, will be much more successful if you just consistently, week after week, do the basics and do enough and chip away at the problem, than if you miss this week and then next week you want to maybe play  a bit of catch up. Or you have 2 bad weeks and then a big week.

Those inconsistencies, besides the fact that our body doesn’t respond that well to it. Beside the fact that it’s a little bit of one step forward, one step back, it also increases our risk of injury by doing those big jumps.

In essence you’re better off doing 3 x 20-minute runs a week, every single week for however many months, than you are doing nothing this week and then next week we do 4 x 40-minute runs and then the following week we do 1 run and then the next week we do 3 x 1-hour runs. That’s a recipe for disaster. Consistency of training will allow for gradual adaptation. Make you stronger, better and give you a much better chance of success at your goal.

Set the goal and download the training program

BRAD BROWN: Right! Well, here’s the deal. All you need to do is head over to and then download the training program. In the comments section below this podcast, set the date. Set the goal and let’s put it out there and let’s get you to your first 10km..

From myself, Brad Brown and Coach Lindsay Parry, once again thank you for joining us. Looking forward to catching up again soon.

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