10k Running Tips - 5 Must-Read Tips for Running Your Best 10k

Thanks for coming to my 10k Running Tips page!

The 10k is a tough race, in my opinion tougher than a 5k, but also tougher than a half marathon.

10k running tips
Why is that?
Sure, I am sure you'll get that running 10k is tougher than running 5k. Double the distance.

But why do I think the 10k is tougher than the half?
Well, when you run your 10k faster than 60 minutes, you run faster than threshold pace.

This is more or less, uncomfortably hard. Whereas when you run a half marathon, you run slower than threshold pace and it feels comfortably hard.

Stretch that uncomfortably hard pace out over 30 - 60 minutes and the 10k becomes a great battle of will.

It is a mental challenge as much as a physical one.

So, check out this page to learn more about the 10k race and to pick up some tips to run your best 10k ever.

I would especially advise you to seriously consider the race plan advice. Mental preparation is a very important aspect of 10k running.

10k Running Tip #1: Build a Good Running Base

10k running tipsSomewhat newer to running?

Then start by building a base.

It is very important to build your running base.

In fact, if you finished reading this page after the first running tip, you would be 80-90% of the way there!

Building your running base helps your body to adapt to the serious training that you are about to undergo.

It also means building a foundation for your running.

In this type of training, you will not be running too fast. The focus is on "time on your feet" or to cover mileage. This alone will give a tremenduous boost to your fitness level.

For optimal results during the base building period you can vary your speed with each and every workout, as long as your speed stays in the aerobic zone.

Also see the base running page for further details.

running quote

10k Running Tip #2: Maximize your Speedwork Sessions

Never attempt to do speedwork sessions if you haven't built your running base yet. They can cause injuries, especially if your body is not yet ready to handle the training.

It is also best that you take it easy in your first speedwork session and gradually increase the intensity to give your body ample time to adjust.

400m Reps is one of the most widely recognized and simplest speedwork sessions. The goal of this workout session is to run 400m reps at about 90% of your maximum running effort.

To catch your breath, you need to take short breaks in between (e.g. 60-90 seconds). To start, you can try 6 x 400m reps with a slow jog of 60-90 seconds in between each rep for recovery.

Every session, you can increase your reps, upto about 3 miles / 5k of speedwork.

Why only 3 miles or 5k? Well, make it much longer and you are going to slow down, which is counter-productive. These workouts are to work on your speed, not to build mileage.

Also, please consider to vary the distances of your reps. One week do 400s, then next week do 600s, 800s, 1k, or 1200s Play with those distances. Do increase the rest time in between when you increase the length of the reps.

To learn more about speedwork, check the interval running page.

10k Running Tip #3: Run at Tempo Pace

10k running tips
Do tempo running and....
become more efficient with your energy

usage than this guy!

Tempo running is said to be the single most essential session that every runner needs in order to be able to run faster.

It teaches the body to metabolize oxygen more effectively.

If oxygen is metabolized effectively, it will take longer for your muscles to become fatigued.

You know that heavy feeling in your legs which makes you just want to stop running completely?

That's the muscles getting overloaded.

This happens due to the rapid buildup of lactate ions and hydrogen, which are the by-products of running.

With tempo running, the body gets to increase its lactate threshold. If there is no buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, you can run at a greater speed for longer periods of time.

As with speedwork, your tempo running should be built up over time. Start by doing one-mile repeats or so at a pace just a bit faster than your aerobic pace. Over time build it up.

See the tempo running page for more details.

10k Running Tip #4: Run at Goal Pace

To be able to run more effectively in a 10K race, you must also incorporate goal pace running in your training. Goal pace running means that you practice running at the pace of your race.

Run too fast at the start of the race? Then there is a big tendency that you will burn out before you reach the finish line.

You need to experience goal pace in your training to make sure that you are able to sustain it in a race.

I'd much rather you have a few failed training sessions in which you went out too fast, than that it happens in a race.

So, in order for you to know how fast you should be going so you won't burn out early, you have to test yourself first during your training seasons. Some people feel comfortable enough with doing their tempo runs and working out based on that how fast their 10k race pace is.

Personally, I find it comforting and highly useful to try to do some goal pace running as well. Planning to perform 10k in 40 minutes? Then try to run 5k in 20 minutes.

Can barely finish 5k in 20 minutes? Then you may need to rethink your goal because it is a bit too ambitious.

Other good examples of 10k goal pace running are doing a 10k time trial in training or doing three 3k-repeats at goal pace.

Also see the page about goal pace running.

10K Goal Pace #5: Have a Race Plan

10k running tips
Think about your race plan... well before the race!

Now, when you are going to run your 10k it is vital that you have a race plan. Make sure that you have a good feel for what time you might be able to aim for. This is very important.

Going out too fast in the beginning, will slow you down a lot towards the end.

With your goal time in mind, make sure that the first 5k of your 10k race are at that goal pace or even a few seconds slower. Again, you don't want to go out too fast.

In the second part of the race, expect things to get harder. If you want to keep on running at goal pace after the 5k mark, you will have to increase the intensity at which you run. Intensity, not speed!

You just need to be ready for that moment when fatigue is starting to set in and your mind is starting to play tricks on you. Telling you things like "Oh, it's okay if you don't make it exactly in your goal time.", "Don't worry, this is not your day, there is always the next race.", etc.

Don't give in to The Voice... :)

Up the ante and stay on goal pace!

Now, when you have estimated your abilities well, the lactic acid build-up will become bigger and bigger towards the end of the race.

It's usually in the last 500m - 1,500m (0.3 - 1 mile) that it really starts hurting and those legs become heavier and heavier.

This is the moment to cheer yourself to the finish. Tell yourself "It's only x more minutes to go. I am staying on goal pace. It's no point slowing down. It will only take longer to get to the finish line.".

Really push yourself through that last kilometre and give it all you got. Due to the lactic acid build-up you may find that your last kilometre is a bit slower than the first nine. Ideally it's not, but it is very hard to estimate your abilities 100% correctly.

So, in summary your 10k race plan will look roughly as follows: get on goal pace for the first 5k. Don't go out too fast. Be disciplined!

Then increase the intensity as the race gets harder and in the last little  bit push yourself through the pain and the heavy legs.

Hope this article has been helpful. 

These tips for 10k running should really help give you an edge.

Also make sure to check out other pages in this section and the questions from others trying to get 10k running tips below!

10k running tips

Don't Forget to Check all the Questions & Answers with More 10k Running Tips!!

Have a Question about Running a 10K?

Do you have a question about running a 10k?
Ask it and I can give you advice!

IMPORTANT: Make sure you provide sufficient information. What do you want to know, what is your current training / history, recent race results, etc., etc.

The more information you provide, the better answer you get.

Questions of only 1 or 2 lines will normally be deleted because it is simply too hard to provide a good answer.

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Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...

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