10k Race Strategy

Friday, December 11, 2015

I'm running my first 10k race tomorrow morning. It's the Army/Navy 10k which is a friendly competition between the two services. I'm a bit intimidated by this race distance. It's short enough that to do well I must run really fast. But it's also long enough that the pain will be real and not over quickly.
I can't draw. But maybe I will start adding stick figures to my posts. Could be fun. Apparently I draw angry stick-men with uni-brows.

Embarrassingly my current 10k record was set two days after completing the Harbor Lights Half Marathon. I ran a 46:00 10k on a recovery run. Truth be told I was still a bit miffed about my side stich during the race and I took out my frustration on the run.

Because I basically know nothing about how to run a good 10k race I turned to Google for answers.

"Google! How I run fast race"?
 I found one study that concluded "that high and low performance runners adopt different pacing strategies during a 10 km race". Or you could say it like this, "fast people run fast and slow people run slow". And they actually get paid to do this research.

Fortunately I found some other tips that were helpful and I plan to use them tomorrow for my race.
  • The first tip is to run a negative split. That means run the second half of the race faster than the first. Every world record from the 1500 meters to the Marathon has been set with a negative split. Can't argue with success.
  • For the first two miles run 5-10 seconds slower than your goal pace. The idea here is to not burn out early and to save enough for a fast ending. This is actually really hard to do with nerves, adrenaline, and a thousand young gazelles sprinting past you in the first 800 meters.
  • For miles 2-5 increase your pace to your goal pace. This is the tough part. You have to just dig deep and maintain the pain. It will take more effort the longer you run to maintain the same pace. Anticipate this and you've won half the battle.
  • The last mile push it out. Start to catch people in front of you. Pass with authority as well so they don't try to latch on to you. Hang on to the end and then bask in eternal glory of setting a new PR!
My goals for this race are pretty simple:
A) Beat my current 10k PR of 46:00
B) Average under a 7:00/min pace
C) Run under 40 minutes (long-term goal)

Hopefully I don't look this angry when I cross the finish line.

If you've run a 10k before, what worked for you? What are you "go-to" race tips? Can you draw stick figures?


  1. I laughed and laughed as I read this post. I think that you should incorporate your stick man drawings into every post--they add an hilarious touch!

    Good luck this morning, I look forward to seeing how this strategy works for you.

    1. Thanks! I will keep them coming because it's fun. I'll post a race report tomorrow on how it went!


Newer Older