Wicked 10k - Pacing Yourself
Wicked 10k Race Weekend
Pacing Yourself in Running and Training for a 10K
If you’re embarking on a 10K training program, whether it’s your first time or you’re experienced, welcome aboard and congratulations!
Running 6.2 miles is attainable for most people with proper training, but it is still an outstanding accomplishment and excellent fitness goal.
One of the biggest mistakes made by newer runners or those returning after a long hiatus is running daily runs too hard. Instead of running at an easy or conversational pace (a pace at which you could hold a light conversation with someone without being too out of breath), people often tend to perform all their workouts at a medium-hard pace. And although one might assume that faster training would yield better racing results, the fact is that too much of this will leave your body perpetually unrecovered and susceptible to injury. This can be a matter of pride too. Runners may be inclined to hold themselves to the standards of their old cross country running days, or to the humble-bragging social media posts of people who love to over-share the paces and distances of every run.
If you’re a novice to the 10K or to running in general, or you’ve just decided to get back into running after substantial time off, you would do well to focus almost exclusively on easy running. You may even notice your easy pace becomes somewhat faster over time without you having to force it as a consequence of building fitness. More experienced racers will be able to mix in some different speeds and efforts, but even they should still be running 75-80% of their running at an easy effort.
Pacing the 10K Race
Again, as newer runners have focused their training on easy runs and being able to cover the 10K distance, they will want to go out at about the same easy pace. Please note that it is very easy to get swept up in the race day atmosphere and adrenaline and blast out of the gate too fast. Be aware of this and show restraint and you will likely settle in within the first mile, otherwise the last few miles are likely to be a suffer fest. Hang around the finish line of a race afterwards and see if you overhear any runners saying “I wish I went out faster”…you won’t! If you are holding up well in the race and feel good enough, you can begin to pick up the pace with about a mile to go (just over 5 miles in). Once you are closing to within sight of the finish line, kick it into gear and finish out as strong as you can.
For experienced runners or those looking to run a more competitive time, you’ll want to be running close to the tempo effort discussed in this video. Just as with inexperienced runners, remember it is very easy to go out too hard, and the bill will come due later in the race. But if you are running close to your 10K capacity, chances are by around 4 miles in (give or take) this is going to start feeling harder. Trust in the training you’ve put in and hold on. For the last mile, feel free to empty the tank and finish with whatever you have left.
Learn the 3 different types of runs we’ll be utilizing in our 10K training program. Novice runners or those returning after a long time off should primarily stick to easy pace running, which is explained in more detail.
No matter what your running background is or what motivates you as a runner, remember that in the end we all want the experience to be enjoyable. Soak in the process of training and improving every day, then enjoy the culmination of your efforts on race day. And unless by some long shot you are an elite runner with professional contracts and endorsements on the line, remember that in the end no race is worth pushing through a serious injury. Live to fight another day, as the saying goes. Recover, get stronger, and continue to run enjoyably. Running can be an incredibly valuable component of your physical and emotional well being, so make sure you can continue to enjoy it as long as possible.