Pacing is a critical aspect of successful running, because the goal is to maintain the desired pace for the entire race or workout – to finish each interval in the same amount of time.
If you burn out and slowed the pace during past intervals, you probably started too fast. If you speed up throughout the workout, you probably started too slowly. Pacing really takes practice. Speed training uses short interval distances because the pace is hard enough that it can only be maintained for a short period of time (about 3- 6 minutes).
Keep your pacing simple by using your target for the 10K. Be sure your goals are realistic. Work on improving pacing and improving speed with no more than 6 minutes of high intensity running with an easy recovery run between the sessions. Maintain control of your form, leg turnover rate and breathing. Listen to your body and increase the intensity that’s right for your current level of fitness.
On race day, begin slowly. Don’t worry about all the runners who take off ahead of you. It’s far better to start slowly and catch up later than to begin too fast and be passed by hundreds of runners after a kilometre or two. Once you have room to run freely, move into your normal, relaxed training pace that allows you to talk comfortably.
Maintain that pace at least until you reach the halfway mark. Then, if you feel strong and want to pick it up a bit, go ahead—but make sure you do it gradually. You can also maintain the same steady pace all the way through. If a certain speed becomes a struggle, slow down to regroup and gather your strength.
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John Stanton is the President and Founder of the Running Room. He is the author of 10 books about running, walking and family fitness.