How to Run and Crush Your Next 10k Running Race
Recently, I discovered a few tips to increase speed in short distance racing. Through some trial and error, I was able to shave 10 minutes off my 10k time. Just by following these tips during the race. It’s all about running smart, and have a strategy going in that you stick to.
Do Your Research
Before you get to race day, get out on the course and do a test run if you can. You’ll want to understand the break down of each mile, where you need to conserve and where you need to push. I was able to run the course of a recent 10k trail run a few weeks before the race. I got a great understanding of the elevation and what to expect around the corner. One hill had seemed small, but took a turn and continued up another couple hundred feet. During the race, most people drained their energy on the first part and bonked on the second. I was able to walk the entire hill, passing most of these people.
Don’t go all out from the start. You’ve got 6.2 miles ahead, and you don’t want to burn all your energy on mile 1. Get a feel for the pace around you, how your body is feeling, and loosen out any kinks or tightness. Don’t worry about losing pace with others, we’ve got a plan to catch up with them later.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk
This tip is pretty specific to trail running, or a road race with a lot of hills. Being from San Francisco, I can name a few of those! During a trail race, you’re going to come across a lot of hills. And most people think they need to run up them, the entire race in fact. But what if I said you could walk the uphills and still beat the others by minutes? Well, I’ve tried it, and it works! When facing a hill, don’t try to run it as quick as possible. Walk fast if you need to to conserve that energy. You’ll soon realize how much energy you save and that you’ll only be about 10 seconds behind those who ran. Once you reach the top, take off again – go all out. You’ll catch up and fly by those who lost all their energy on the uphill. I even ran a race where I walked up to and passed a woman who was running on the uphill. Just walk at that point!
Crush the Downhills
Here is the key takeaway: Do not run the entire race at the same speed. Take your hills slow, and let it rip on the downhill. Downhill is where everyone rests. It’s where they recover after the tough uphill they just faced. But since you walked the uphill and are full of energy, you’re going to crush the downhill. They won’t even know what’s coming! Once you reach the top, take off. Gravity will take you down the hill, and it will take you fast! So be sure to watch your form, look ahead, pick your line and lean forwards from your waist. There’s a feeling of being almost out of control, but you know exactly what you’re doing. And you’re picking up time fast!
Your last mile should be your fastest. You took the first mile slow, walked up hills, let gravity take you downhill. Now you’re ready for the home stretch. Most of your fellow racers will be taking this mile the slowest, which is great for you! Start picking out runners ahead of you and focus on catching up to them. Don’t let them out of your sight! Realize that you’re almost done and push. You’ll start picking off runners in front of you one by one. See how many you can pass before you reach the finish line. Make it a game.
You did it! You crushed your 10k! Bet that wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be.
If you’re new and looking for the right program for you, check out our expert response on 10k programs.