You just ran your first 10K race but when you checked the results you found you were slower than you thought. Now you want to cut your time. Age, body type and genetics are key factors in running speed, but any runner can improve 10K times with training. You'll need to work on running faster, but also on endurance so you can maintain a faster pace for 6.2 miles. Find a track or running path with marked distances and a route with some hills to help you train.
Increase your weekly mileage; run more miles at a slower pace to improve your endurance so you can maintain a faster pace over 10 kilometers. Plan to run 20 to 30 miles a week, with one long run of seven or more miles every week. Vary your distances on other runs; for instance, you can run two miles one day, and five or six the next. Start training with your current mileage and increase it gradually over several weeks.
Add interval workouts to your routine. Run a series of sprints on a track or measured path one day instead of your usual training run. Do ladders -- sprints of 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters, for instance, or pyramids, working up the ladder to the longest distance, then back down. Concentrate on running form, using long strides and reducing the amount of foot contact.
Incorporate fartlek, Swedish for speed play, into at least one training run each week. Pick a spot ahead of you -- a light post, stop sign or other fixed point. Run hard from where you pick out the target until you reach it, then slow down to training pace until you feel like finding another target. Vary the length of these fast runs.
Run hills. Find a route with ups and downs and charge up the hills and jog down the other side. Run "hill repeats" on a single hill. Choose a hill you can run up comfortably at your normal training pace, then attack it, running up as fast as you can. Pause at the top and walk or jog back down to start the next uphill. Running hills will improve strength and endurance and help improve your form.
Include some rest days. Work your training routine around your living schedule. Run only three or four days a week, with rest days between, if that suits your lifestyle, or alternate distances so you run some short days between longer runs or intense speed training. Take at least one day a week off and "taper" the last week before your race by reducing both length and intensity of training.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.