7 Tips for a Faster 10k
Fall is here, and with it comes the heart of 10K running season.
The crisp air, cool temperatures, and gorgeous foliage make fall the best time of the year for running 10K races, hands down. If you are gearing up for your next 10K race, you might want to know how you can run a faster 10K.
The 7 tips below can help you cut down on your 10K time and give you a better, stronger performance. These are essential to running a faster 10k.
Tip #1: Take Your Faster 10k Training to the Track
A bit part of running a fast 10K is having a higher gear – the ability to kick your speed up a notch and run at near-max speeds.
This higher gear is crucial for shaving seconds off of your time, especially on the final stretch where a strong kick is essential.
One of the best ways to get this gear is with interval training workouts. An appropriate distance for a 10K is anything from 400 meters to 1200 meters on the track.
Tip #2: Tempo Runs for a Faster 10k
Tempo runs are terrific tools to use to build up speed and endurance for any distance race – especially a 10K. A tempo run is when you run a shorter distance than your normal training distance at just under your race pace. It should be an uncomfortable pace, one that challenges you but does not quite reach your race speed.
A good distance for a tempo run for a 10K race is anywhere from 2-5 miles. As you progress in training, getting up to 4-5 miles for your tempo runs will help improve your speed.
Tip #3: Watch Your Feet
When running, make a point of landing on your midfoot or forefoot. Landing on your heel will slow you down and create a risk for injury. When you run on your midfoot or forefoot, you generate more power and speed – especially running on your toes.
Tip #4: Combination Sets
A combination set combines several different speeds and distances without recovery. After warming up, start off with a 200-meter run at an 800-meter pace. Slow down to your 5K pace for 400 meters before slowing further – to your 10K race pace – for 1,600 meters. The last stage is a hard 300-meter sprint.
Repeat this set three more times with a 3-4 minute rest in between each set.
Tip #5: Taper Appropriately
You should not go into race day going full bore in your workout. Maintain the same intensity, but cut down on the volume. A good rule of thumb is to cut your distance by 50% for the week before your 10K race.
Tip #6: Take to the Hills
Hill training is a terrific way to build up strength in your legs. The stronger your legs are, the faster you will run – especially if the 10K course has any elevation at all.
Try normal endurance runs on hilly courses as well as sprint intervals on hills or on a high-grade treadmill.
Tip #7: Build Up Miles
Speed is nice, but a 10K race is still a distance race, which means you need a nice mileage base.
You should be hitting at least 6 miles on your endurance training runs at least twice a week, with a long run of 8-10 miles thrown in. Be careful not to overdo it, though.
Putting in strong mileage for months leading up to racing season will give you a firm foundation for a faster 10K.
What are some training tips you’ve used in the past to gear up for 10Ks or other races?