Q: Preparing to run my first 10k, I have enjoyed your web site immensely. I started out in 1998 as a walker and gradually progressed to running. Went from a size 24 to a size 12 and have maintained for 6 years as a result of walking/running. I do not run much faster than I walk and I am interested more in distance than time (is that bad?). I began training and signed up for the Cotton Row in Huntsville, Alabama. On May 2, I ran 5 miles in 55 minutes. The next week May 5 - 10, I ran 3 miles a couple of times and 4 miles one day. On Saturday, May 9, I got up and got ready to run my planned route of 6 miles. I had not eaten well the day before and probably had not taken in enough water, I only made it 2.5 miles and even walking home (for a total of 4 miles) was tough. May 12 - 16, I ran 3 miles 3 different times. I felt good, we have been in a rainy (flooding) pattern and I run in the am before work so the weather has limited my running. This morning I ran 3 miles in 40 minutes, felt good. My plan is to run 4 miles tomorrow 5/20 and 6 miles 5/21, 2 - 3 miles 5/22 and off 5/23. 2 miles 5/24 off on 5/25 and the 10k on 5/26. To finally cut to the question, (sorry), I'm not sure that I'm ready. The last couple of weeks with so much non running time scares me. I know without a doubt that I can run/walk the course, but of course my goal is to run the entire distance. Am I ready and what would you suggest for this week's (prior to race) running program? Thanks. - J.C., 5/19/03

A: If you can't run 6 miles in training, you are not ready. It's too late to give you specific preparation advice this close to a race. However, I will advise you to be realistic. Relax and enjoy yourself. Chill on the run-the-whole-way goal. Your goal should be to finish and that's it. The run/walk idea is the wisest choice. You want the experience to be enjoyable. Save the run-without-stopping goal for when you are confident you can achieve that goal. NEVER enter a race without a realistic and achievable goal. Based on what you've told me, you haven't run 6 miles in training yet. Even if you have a great day tomorrow, you will be attempting your longest single run (by far) within six days of the race. I suspect you are going to be tired on 5-26...even if you don't feel tired. I fear that on race day, you will get caught up in the moment just like every first time racer (including myself) that I ever have known, start out too fast and turn the second half (or more) of the race into a death march. Trust me. Save the run-the-whole-thing goal for another day, and just finish with a smile on your face. Buy Jeff Galloway's Book on Running. He's got some great advice for runners (and walkers) of all abilities. Good luck. And thanks for asking. - The Rage

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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.