The Fast & Furious 10K

Early on in my racing career I only ran short distance races.  I became a real sucker for the feeling of going all out, and competing.  As I grew in the sport of running I began a quest for more distance.  Those numerous 5k races were becoming a bit boring, so I searched out the next level.  The elusive 10k.

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I’m not sure about you, but the 10k distance is hard to come by.  A 10k race around here is few and far between.  Funny thing is, that back a few years ago when I was learning to run further, I would seek out 10k races.  If you can believe it, I even would travel to 10k’s.  Twice making a mini weekend at the beach (a two and a half hour drive away) to run a 10k race.  Another time I drove 4.5 hours down into South Carolina to run one.  Crazy!  I wouldn’t do that now.  Those 10k’s are still hard to find though.

My next race is local, and one of the few 10k’s in the area.  I haven’t run a race shorter than a Half Marathon in almost a year.  In fact, the 10k I have coming up is that same race.  With that being said, my training focus over the next few week turns to speed versus distance.  I’m so used to running 26.2 miles, that subtracting twenty miles out of that distance seems kinda cool.  Yes, 6.2 miles will be considerably easier than running a marathon, but I haven’t been running sub 8 minute miles in quite some time.  Focusing on speed is sort of foreign to me right now.

My last 10k in June of 2014 was run at a pace of 7:47 per mile.  A finish time of 48:25.  Pretty good, but far from my best.  See, I was also running a 5k race about 45 minutes after that 10k, so I wasn’t going full throttle.  This time I can.  My PR at the 10k distance goes way back to October of 2011.  I ran a 43:09 at the Hilton Head Island Bridge Run.  A speedy 6:56 pace!  Man, how did I do that?  Would love that result again in a few weeks, but I will settle for anything that beats my time from last year.

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My plan of attack…  Run three, four and five mile training runs focusing on speed.  It has been fun.  I have a few more weeks of training runs, so I should be ready.  My last 3.1 mile training run was a 7:58 pace, so I know come race day that I can pull in a better result.

How do you feel about the 10k distance?  Do you run them frequently?  Are they a hard to find race distance where you live?  Is it easy for you to switch gears, and race different distances?  I’m finding it tougher and tougher to find my old speed because I usually race longer distances now.  Any training tips you think might help me find that fast and furious speed?

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6 thoughts on “The Fast & Furious 10K

  1. I enjoy the 10K distance, although I don’t race a lot of ’em. There’s a few local races in that distance that I like to do, but I typically don’t travel for them… with one big exception: The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I’ve run that race more than any other (2015 will be my 11th time I believe). It’s also the biggest race I’ve run (over 55,000 runners). And since the race is run on July 4th each year, there’s a huge public turnout and it’s a big party. As for strategy, I usually gauge where I am pacewise for my half marathon and then turn it up a little from there. Since Atlanta is hot and the course hilly, it’s a bit challenging, but also a heckuva lot of fun.

    • True, Peachtree is a popular one, for sure. I think that the 10k distance is a dying breed. So hard to find, but a fun challenge. Too long for the faint of heart, but long enough to provide a great workout.

      • The 10K does present a challenge, especially seeing as how the half marathon seems to be the “goldilocks” (just right) distance for a lot of runners. I think what can keep the 10K going is an “inexpensive” price… Say $30- $35 when compared to other races. The Peachtree is currently around $38 which makes it a pretty good deal.

  2. I feel like 10Ks are more popular in Europe, but that could be faulty thinking.
    I just ran a 10k in 44:47, and am quite pleased. Something that surprised me was that it was possible to go out too fast and still hold it for the second half. That is, with marathon training and fitness, it was possible to survive the 10K even when running the first half too quickly. A good tip is to try a start off slightly slower, but try to speed up after two miles and hold it. Then, push it even further for the last mile and do that one like it was the last mile you’re ever running.

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