How to run a faster 10K is really close to my heart as of writing this blog post.
So how do you run a fast 10k race?
Well, having a training plan is key.
As I got older, I thought my days of getting faster were over, and another chance to go under my goal 10K pace of 40 mins in a 10K was a pipe dream long gone.
In recent years with the right training and changed lifestyle choices, my confidence was reignited about hitting my goal pace of going sub 40 mins.
So I started training for a 10K, which is 6.2 miles, and it needed to be faster than I have ever run a 10K, but I was now 14 years older and 57 Years old.
Below are my tips to go faster for your 10K; of course, adjust them to your goals and present fitness level.
Get Faster 10K Pace…
Suppose you’re looking to go faster for your 10k. The obvious point is that you’re going to have to increase your speed in your 10K training.
So you’re going to have to add some speed into your training. Now the actual pace you go will obviously be very much down to the overall goal you have for the 10k, be it going under 60 minutes, 50 minutes, or 40 minutes, but the principles are the same.
Experienced runners may have more speed sessions (I have 2 per week )than someone who is less experienced.
However, if you’ve done a 10k race in the past and want to get faster, you will have to increase your speed, and the only way you can really do this is by including speed work on your weekly workouts.
Here are some examples of speed sessions you could look at
How To Run A Faster 10K- Training and Hills
I find this quite challenging. I have a love-hate relationship with hills :). However, I see the benefits in my running, and weirdly I find in the early stages of training for a 10K this enables me to do the speed work, but the hills reduces the risk of injury as the body adapts.
5min @ easy pace 5x30sec builds to race pace, 30sec 5 minutes easy pace
6x2min hills @race pace or near to it. Jog down the hill to recover, or walk if you need to.
10min Cool down @ easy pace.
I love this, well, kind of 🙂 It gets you more adapted to running at a race pace without burning yourself out. It also gets you used to lactic acid build-up without pushing you entirely over the edge!
These types of intervals won’t be for everyone and can be pretty challenging.
However, I feel they represent the challenges of a 10K, especially if you are aiming at sub 45 minutes or lower.
15min Warm-up: 5min @ easy.
5x30sec builds to race pace, 30sec E; 5min
3 x 1 km @ 20seconds faster than race pace with 90sec full rest
3 km @20seconds faster than race pace with 90sec full rest.
10 min cooldown: @ easy pace.
This is an endurance run. The trick here is not to go out too fast. The last three progressions should be challenging but not feel like you are going to blow up!!
If so, slow down, so your running is more controlled.
Also, conditions can impact this run, as with many runs. I did this run recently, and the wind on the return leg slowed me significantly.
Now I hope to get stronger so that in the future, it might not have that impact.
However, if you find this happening, it might be worth changing your focus over to perceived effort as your pace will drop if you are running into a 20-mile wind 🙂
Below is an example of a recent progression I did, of course, adjust times to your goals and ability.
Longer Runs With Some Speed.
I like going out for, say, 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on ability and goal and within that run introduce variation of pace.
So, for example …
Warm-up easy, then just off my race pace( 20-30 seconds slower ); however, for 50 minutes.,This builds control and endurance.
Then warm down.
10min @ 8:20-9:00/mile (5:05-5:30/km)
50min @ 6:45-7min/mile (4:10-4:20/km)
10min @ 8:20-9:00/mile (5:05-5:30/km)
30 Second Strides 2-minute
If some of the above are too intense, introduce some 30 sec faster strides into your runs. Then easy for 2 minutes followed by another 30 seconds strides.
Repeat about six or so times. Make the strides race pace or slightly quicker but keep your running controlled.
This is a great way to adapt your body to moving quickly and not becoming one pace runner.
Remember To Build Endurance
One of the weird things about a 10k is, though it is a speed run because it’s that 6.2 miles, you do have to maintain a good level of endurance, or you may find that as you go faster, that you start to get, slower in the second half of the run.
So maintaining endurance is also key for a successful, faster 10k. Personally, I like to run in my training at least once or twice a week, over the 10k distance.
Getting in 0ne or two runs where you are out running for say 60 0r 90 minutes will really help maintain or build that endurance that you do need for a 10K, obviously not as much as a half marathon or marathon; however, it is a part of a 10K partially if you are taking 60 minutes or more.
Getting 10K Pace Right.
One of the areas I’ve got horribly wrong in the 10 K race is 10K pace. I’ve always tended to find that I’ve slowed, very much in the last 5k of a race. Now, some of these are to do with effective training, and I think in some of my 10k’s, I perhaps winged it slightly too much and relied on my own natural ability.
And as I’ve got older. This is perhaps not served me so well. However, I think, is something to be aware of, of getting the 10K pace right is key for a 10k race; you don’t have the time to adjust your pace so carefully as you do, say in a marathon, because the race is comparatively fairly shorter.
If you get it wrong, the consequences are pretty dire, so for instance, if you go out way too slow. On your first 5k In most cases, you’re unlikely to make them up in the last 5k; however, also, if you go out way too fast for the first 5k, then you’re likely to slow down in the last five and a bit K, which will probably mean you will fall short of your running goal.
So from a pacing point of view. If possible, try and run as evenly across a 10k as you can. Be aware that you’re going to be pumping adrenaline when you start. So be aware of the first mile or two, and made sure that you’re not going way too above your preferred pace.
If anything, if you are going to have a big difference in pace, try and run the last 5k quicker. That is called a negative split. Now I’ve always struggled with this, but this is probably something to do with going off too fast, but the pacing is crucial for a 10k.
The distance is relatively short compared to a 10 mile or a half marathon or a marathon race.
Finally, remember on race day to keep calm and remember your training. I hope it goes well.