The 10k, or 6.2 miles, race distance is arguably one of the least popular distances for runners today. In fact, EDGE Athlete owner and Nike+ coach Robyn LaLonde says that she thinks most athletes list the 10k as their least favorite distance.
“10ks hurt … a lot! Legs and lungs burning, metallic taste in your mouth – this can last for several miles at this distance,” LaLonde says. “Embracing this reality at the starting line will mean you don’t react against it when it happens on race day.”
Race pace for a 10k can be hard to navigate and train for, especially if you’ve never done one before.
“Layering in your paces is paramount with a 10K – if you go out too fast it’s not likely you’ll be able to hold onto your pacing,” LaLonde adds. “During training, take care to hit the goal pace, but do so progressively so you end faster than you began.”
LaLonde suggests incorporating a balanced mix of speed, endurance and strength into a multifaceted training plan. For speed work, switch it up for every workout to “build aerobic capacity and sharpen run efficiency. ” One week, do some short intervals at 5k pace; the next, try a tempo run; add some race pace intervals in there too to continuously challenge your body.
When it comes to endurance training, use long runs as recovery.
“Very light efforts allow slow twitch muscle fibers to build a higher density of mitochondria, ultimately enabling higher intensity training,” LaLonde says.
No training plan is complete without some strength sessions, as it improves form and overall run economy.
“Core, dynamic and plyometric exercises all play well into 10k fitness,” LaLonde explains.
With the new race season upon us, challenge yourself this year to try a 10k. Not only will it help change up your normal training regimen, but it can help build a strong foundation for longer distance races.
Have we convinced you? Check out the top 10ks in Illinois, and register!
- January 12 – Frozen Gnome 10k – Crystal Lake, IL
- March 16 – Deer Park St. Paddy’s 10k – Deer Park, IL
- March 16 – Fox Valley Winter Challenge Trail Series 10k – Geneva, IL
- April 6 – Chi Town 10k – Chicago, IL
- April 14 – Champion of Trees 10k – Lisle, IL
- April 27 – Illinois Marathon 10k – Champaign, IL
- May 19 – Chicago Spring 10k – Chicago, IL
- May 25 – Salute, Inc. Run 10k – Arlington Heights, IL
- May 25 – Western Springs Tower Trot – Western Springs, IL
- May 27 – Ridge Run 10k – Chicago, IL
- June 1 – Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals – Wheaton, IL
- June 2 – Run for the Zoo – Chicago, IL
- June 8 – Route 66 10k – Edwardsville, IL
- June 16 – Father’s Day 10k – Cary, IL
- June 29 – Proud to Run Chicago – Chicago, IL
- June 30 – Chicago 10k – Chicago, IL
- July 13 – The Glo Run – Chicago, IL
- July 21 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 10k – Chicago, IL
- August 11 – BTN Big 10k – Chicago, IL
- August 12 – Barrington Honor Ride & Run – Barrington, IL
- September 7 – Run Mag Mile 10k – Chicago, IL
- October 19 – Chicago Country Sole 10k – Chicago, IL
- October TBD – Frank Lloyd Wright Races – Oak Park, IL
- November TBD – Lincolnwood Turkey Trot – Lincolnwood, IL
- November 28 – North Shore Turkey Trot – Highland Park, IL
- December TBD – Viking Winter Dash – Crystal Lake, IL