Racing a 10km Run Event

6 Steps to Coping with Injury

Last week we spoke about how to run your fastest 5km race. This week, we move on to discuss the popular 10km race distance. This is a distance that requires very specific training, where race strategy becomes important. The 10km distance is an ideal test for the all-rounder athlete, bringing elements of speed, endurance, mental application and the introduction of a hydration strategy.

A 10km event is seen differently by every athlete, based on racing history, current fitness and years of training. This means that everyone will have their own unique personal mindset when facing this distance. Veteran athletes will tend to see a 10km event as a short race from which they will recover quickly. Beginner athletes, on the other hand, might see it as their own Everest, their race of races. You need to use your own judgement to determine what a 10km means for you based on your own personal athletic journey.

In a similar way to the 5km race strategy in How To Race Your Fastest 5km Event – Davey Black Triathlon, the 10km is broken down onto segments, but requires slightly more preparation. We choose to divide the 10km race into 4 stages: 1st and 2nd kilometre, 3rd to 5th kilometre, 6th to 9th kilometre and the Final Kilometre. The overall objective is to run a negative split, which means running the second half faster than the first.

1st and 2nd kilometre

Ideally you want to go slightly slower than your objective pace. Your first two kilometres should be focussed on getting into the zone, allowing your body to naturally adapt to the right pace. Beware of those runners wanting to race the first kilometre as fast as possible, they will be a distraction for you. Stay focussed on your objective to preserve your energy and allow your body to adjust into the right zone.

3rd to 6th Kilometre

At this stage you are hovering slightly below you objective pace. By now you should be at the point where you are feeling the effort but can hold the pace. Your body now knows what is going on and what expectation is. Your breathing, heart rate and body mechanics should now be in a smooth rhythm. You can now move into the sweet spot and hit and hold your target pace. This is the point in the race where you may start passing those runners who did the first 2 kilometres too quickly.

7th to 9th kilometre

By the 7th kilometre you need to be on top of your mental game as you will begin feeling the fatigue set in. You are so close to the finish line, but the end of the race still feels far. Through this period, focus on keeping your mind exactly in the kilometre you are in. You will need to make sure that you don’t lose your pace or your form. This is also where you need all of your self-motivation to help you stay on your target pace.

10th kilometre

If the rest of the race has been executed according to plan, you should have enough energy to give a last big push over this last kilometre. When approaching the final kilometre mark, try to accelerate little by little, putting a small push at the start of this km and ending with an all in push to the finish. On each zone the objective is to bring the speed up more and more to the point that you will be able to throw all in at the very end.

When running a 10km race, there are some common mistakes you want to avoid:

Nothing New on Race Day

As with any important race, you should avoid trying new things on race day. This includes food the day before, creams, nutrition, hydration, shoes, clothing etc. Unless you are planning on the event taking more than an hour, if properly recovered, your body will have enough energy stores to complete this distance. This means recovering well, staying hydrated and eating properly post any training sessions leading up to race day. Try to keep your morning routine as normal as possible and let your body work with what it is used to.


Although this is not advisable, for a 5km event, some seasoned athletes might be able to get to the start line with minimal training. For a 10km vent, however, a lack of structured training can be a big mistake which can lead to some serious injury and health risks. You should be training regularly for at least 2 months before attempting to race a 10km event.

Going Out Too Hard

As previously explained, there will be runners thinking that a 10km race can be run like a 1500m track race. Throwing all in as soon as you start will probably empty your tank on the first kilometre, leaving you in “the hurt box” for the rest of the race. Follow your body and your plan and avoid falling into the temptation of racing everyone around you.

Warm Up

If you don’t warm up before the race, then you will spend the first 20-30min of the race warming up. The lack of an adequate warm up also increases the risk of injury. Take the time to complete a structured 30 min warm up including activation, a warmup jog and dynamic stretching.

Poor Hydration

The more time you are out on course racing, the harder it will be for your body to cope with the conditions. Make sure you plan and be sure to know where the hydration points are if you are going to require so during the event. That way you will know when to get water, when to get electrolytes and when to pass the hydration station.

Start Line Position

Select a suitable place to start your race from within the start line pack. Avoid being caught behind slower runners and have a pre-planned route off the start line should there be any congestion.

As with a 5km event, knowing the course, weather conditions, amenities and route to the race will allow you to plan for what to wear, how to get there, when to leave and allow you to be more relaxed on race day.

The 10km event is usually the second distance athletes face on their way to the Marathon. This event requires a lot of physical and mental practice and preparation and will give you a small taste of the running world that lies ahead. Although many athletes face the 15K run after this event, normally the next step in the athletic journey is the Half-Marathon. In the end, it is your journey, and you decide how to live it, one race at a time. If you are looking for a running or triathlon coaching Melbourne that can help you plan and achieve your winter run preparation, then drop us a line and discuss your goals and training options with our friendly coaches.

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