Predict your 10K race pace in advance and formulate a realistic pacing strategy that will maximise your chances of success.
In most races the vast majority of runners complete the second half of their race slower than the first. This is often because they set themselves unrealistic pace expectations, based on a combination of past performances and blind hope. Misjudging your pace in the first few KMs of your 10K can be the difference of achieving your goal/PR, and not. Predict your 10K pace accurately to enjoy:
⁃ Faster race times
⁃ Quicker post-race recovery time
⁃ Increased morale (as you overtake runners in the second half)
⁃ Greater satisfaction during and after the race
Calculate Your Predicted Finish Time
If your 10K race does not involve challenging terrain, elevation or conditions (i.e. windy) you can use our Online Calculator to calculate your predicted finish time. You will need your most recent fitness tests (distance over 30 mins) or a recent race.
What To Do With Your Predicted 10K Time
Miles 1-2 (KM 1-3)
You should target a pace around 6-8 secs/mile or 10-13 secs/km slower than your goal race pace the first 2 miles. It will feel “slow” and you may be getting passed, while this feels mentally tough it is the most effective way to run your race. Don't worry, be patient and you will catch and overtake many others in the final 15-20% of the race.
Miles 2-5 (KM 3-8)
Slightly increase your pace. This section, the majority of your race, should be at your predicted race pace that you have already calculated. Try to stay relaxed, keep focused on your form and use positive self talk to help you hold pace.
Last Mile (Final 1-2 km)
You can push now for the finish, you should be 6-8+ secs/mile or 10-13+ secs/km faster than your predicted race pace. Keep looking ahead, try and catch runners in front of you. Pick one person and focus solely on reeling them in, nothing else. As you pass them, surge and put your eyes on the next person and repeat. Keep driving all the way to the finish line.
Running using Heart Rate or RPE
If you are running a cross country or hilly race your predicted times will not be so accurate. In fact, using pace as a guide over hilly routes or in extreme winds is a bad idea anyway, because there are too many variables. In this case Heart Rate or Rate of Perceived Exertion are more useful guides to intensity. You may prefer to run using these measures or a combination of all three.
Max Heart Rate (MHR)
10K Target Time
|Sub 40 mins (Advanced)||92 to 94%|
|40 to 60 mins (Intermediate)||90 to 92%|
|60 plus mins (Novice)||87 to 89%|
Rate of Perceived Exertion (where 10 is the hardest)
10K Target Time
|Sub 40 mins (Advanced)||8/9 out of 10||High Z4 to Low Z5|
|40 to 60 mins (Intermediate)||7/8 out of 10||High Z4|
|60 plus mins (Novice)||6/7 out of 10||High Z3 to Low Z4|
10K Target Time
|% Threshold Run Pace|
|Sub 40 mins (Advanced)||99 to 101%|
|40 to 60 mins (Intermediate)||97 to 99%|
|60 plus mins (Novice)||95 to 97%|
Ensure you base your 10K pacing strategy on real results from a fitness test or race done in the last 8 weeks. DO NOT GUESS!!!
Your race success will be determined by how well you pace for the whole race. If you set out too fast you will struggle to hold your pace. Check our article for more on Race Nutrition.
Good Luck for your 10K!
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