Racing 10km

Huw Lobb wins the New Year's Day 10km - photo by David Knight

Huw Lobb wins the New Year's Day 10km

The 10km is one of the classic running distances; there are plenty of races at this distance to choose from, and because recovery is quick you can run a 10km every weekend. The 10km is an interesting combination of speed and endurance.

Training for a 10km

Training for a 10km involves more mileage, and less speed work, than training for a 5km.  To race at this distance, you need to be running between 20 and 60 miles a week; and you need a long run of at least 7 miles, and preferably more like 12 miles, at least once a fortnight.

It is a good idea to do some races in the build-up to your 10km race – perhaps a 5km for speed, and a longer race (e.g. a half marathon) for endurance.  Any race you do during the build-up to a 10km should not be longer than a half marathon, as this will do you more harm than good.

Racing the 10km

You should warm up well before a 10km.  Make sure you drink plenty of water the night before, and up to 2 hours before the race.  Faster runners will not drink at all during a 10km.  Most mid-pack runners should reckon to sip some water once or twice during the race, but you don’t need to drink a lot on a race of this duration.

The key to running a good 10km is running the first mile at the right speed. Too fast and you will throw away your chance of finishing strong in the final miles.  Too slow, and you will struggle to make up the lost time in the closing stages.  My view is that you should run the first mile a few seconds a mile slower than the overall speed you need for your target time.

Many runners sag in the middle stages of the 10km. At this point you begin to tire; but you are not close enough to the finish to allow yourself go full out.  Concentrate on your form and your breathing, and maintaining a steady pace.

My favourite 10km is the Great Ethiopian Run, each year in Addis Ababa. It is the largest mass participation sporting event in Africa.

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