How Can You Improve Miles 7 - 9 in a 10 Mile Race?

by Graham
(Fareham Hampshire, England)

Hi, I am a 52 year old man who's been running now for just over 4 years. Originally to get fit but now bitten by the bug, to improve my running times.

I am running at the moment between 30-35 miles a week and include hill work, distance work and some tempo runs.

I have competed in the Great South run in Southsea England for the last 3 years with times of 79 mins 01 secs for the 1st race, 76 mins 34 secs for the 2nd and 76 mins 09 secs this year.

The problem I had this year was that I was looking for a sub 75 minute time and was on time up to about 6 and a bit miles when, although the wheels did not actually come off, they certainly wobbled! So from being on time for sub 75 at 6 miles I only managed the 76 mins 09 secs.

How can I improve that 7-9 mile section so that I do not get the drop off in time I experienced this year.

I always do a long run on Sundays 10-12 miles and include hill work on other runs of between 6-8 miles.

I feel like I am doing the right thing but still don't seem to be able to push through that 7 -9 mile section.

Any help or advice you have would be most welcome.

running tips
Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your 10 mile race.

It sounds like you have got a decent variety in your running and you are making improvements.

In order to run a successful race, any race, you need to do some running above, some running at and some running below goal pace.

You mention some tempo running. Can we change that to a lot of tempo running?

In addition to your long runs, tempo running is a key ingredient for races of this distance.

Tempo pace is the pace you'd be able to maintain for an hour, so improve that tempo pace and your pace in that 10 miler should come down as well.

Another tip that might help is that you have got to expect the increase in intensity. You really need to split that race in three blocks.

Block 1 is mile 1-5; your main focus here is not to run too fast. Make sure to get on goal pace early and stay there. Your biggest enemy in this part of the race is being overzealous. Many people run too fast in the beginning of the race, only to regret it later.

Block 2 is mile 6-8; this is the part in which you have to expect that things are going to get tougher. You'll have to start grinding your teeth a lot more in order to stay on goal pace.

Block 3 is mile 9-10; this is the part in which things can really start hurting. Lactic acid starts building up in your legs. You feel that everything is getting really hard. The thing your body wants you to do is give up. Don't. Tell yourself it is not that long anymore and try to keep on pushing on and stay on goal pace.

Being mentally prepared for that increase in intensity can be a big help. It works well for the 10k up to 10 mile race distance. Mental preparation isn't often taken as serious as it should. But all elite athletes do it. It can be a key difference between getting that PR or not.

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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