10 km – a good race distance

10 km

If you shall run a 10 km in a race, it is necessary to have been training systematically over some time, at least if you are aiming for a nice experience during the race.  The distance is different from a 5 km, which is much easier to perform based on a bit training and some willpower.

In other words:

It is not before you have been running 10 km in a race (or is able to do so without problem) you can call yourself a real runner. For well trained runners who are not happy with just finishing, but who also have some ambitions for a good result, 10 km is a challenge which puts some demands on you as a runner. It is not without reason the best 10 km runners is looked upon as the most versatile runners.

I was myself that kind of 10 km runner during the 1980’s, and had the 10 km world record both for track and street. In addition to the need for having endurance and to be fast runners, we had to be able to keep a high speed over a long period of time. Mental strength is also important if you shall run a good 10 km. Most runners use between 40 to 60 minutes on a 10 km race, and because it takes this relatively long time, it is an advantage if you have good mental strength, in order to be able to endure “some pain” for quite a while.

Starting too hard will mean that you will be empty of power even after 3-4 km, which means it will feel like a long, long way to the finish.  Because running 10 km requires both endurance, strength and some speed, it is needed to have some variation in the training, which also makes it more fun. You can of course get in good shape by running 3 equal sessions every week, but if you want to master the distance and try to set personal records from time to time, it is required that you train more targeted and systematically.

In opposite to for examle the marathon distance, which mainly requires endurance and many long run sessions, the 10 km requires both endurance, good cardio capacity and the ability to to keep up the speed even if your muscles start to be tired. Therefore, the specific training for 10 km should include a number of different type of training sessions, such as normal running at moderate even speed, interval sessions with higher speed, and progressive sessions where you gradually increase the speed.

An advantage by training for 10 km, is that this distance is possible to achieve for most people. You can have 30-45 minute sessions 2-3 times per week, plus a somewhat longer session, 1hour+. There are many 10 km races everywhere in the world, so just look in the calendar and select a couple of races that you want to train towards. Challenge your friends as well, and it will be even more motivating.

Perfect for beginners: If you are a beginner, 10 km may be too long. However, if you are training systematically and correct (not with too high pulse!) you may get in sufficient shape after 10-12 weeks. Then it is also important that you plan your training and start by training 3 times per week and possibly increases to 4-5 times after a few weeks.

For many runners the 10 km is the start of their “career”, before moving on to longer distances such as half marathon and marathon. My advice is to run several shorter races first (5 and 10 km), before you move on to the longer distances.

It is really important to not hurry too much! A too hard start is unfortunately the most common mistake among beginners. But just get started. Then I can promise you many fine and rewarding moments with the training shoes on you feet.

How fast can you become? In the table below you can see how you can estimate the duration of the longer distances, based on how fast you are running 10 km. The table is based on Riegel’s formula, which roughly estimates that we loose 6% of the speed every time the distance is doubled. There are of course other factors that may influence the duration, such as weather and wind, which you also must take into account.

Good luck with the training!!

Check your speed:
5 km   10 kmHalf Marathon (21.195 m)Marathon
20:00    42:10    1:32:00    3:12:22
21:00    44:18    1:37:00    3:21:41
22:00    46:27    1:41:20    3:31:00
23:00    48:35    1:46:20  3:41:00
24:00    50:04    1:50:40    3:50:19
25:00    52:12    1:55:00    4:00:18
26:00    54:21    2:00:01    4:09:37
27:00    56:29    2:04:21    4:19:36
28:00    58:38    2:09:21    4:28:55
29:00    1:00:46    2:13:41    4:38:14
30:00    1:02:55    2:18:01    4:48:13
31:00    1:05:03    2:23:01    4:57:32
32:00    1:07:12    2:27:21    5:07:32
33:00    1:09:20    2:32:21    5:16:51
34:00    1:11:29    2:36:41    5:26:10
35:00    1:13:37    2:41:01    5:36:09
36:00    1:15:06    2:46:01    5:45:28

Author: Ingrid Kristiansen

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