How to Run a Faster 10k: 7 Tips to Take Your Race to the Next Level

How can you get faster over 10k? Here's our tips for running your fastest race.

Head Coach Shaun racing 10000m

Head Coach Shaun racing 10000m

1. Embrace pain. It is a race.

The reality is that very few people discover their true potential. Your mind will always limit your performance. How many times have you finished a race and thought you could have gone faster? I was recently asked at what point I started to push myself in a 10k race. My response; from the start. Be prepared to fail! Take a few risks and practise suffering in training. Anyway, its not real pain - and the more you practise it the more you will come to love it!

2. Create a routine that's impossible to break.

Elite runners very rarely miss a days training, unless they're bed bound or injured. They are incredibly stubborn; building their lives around training, racing, nutrition, and recovery. It's not always possible to prioritise running, but you can be sensible with your time and establish an iron clad routine- taking the element of choice and indecision about when your running out of the equation.

3. Run with others. Join a group, find a coach or discover a training partner.

Running with others will help with this. You're less likely to miss a run or session if others are reliant on you being there. Group running is hugely advantageous. Rivalries, friendly or otherwise, will always bring out the best in you. It's also more fun, and you're far more like to improve if take enjoyment from your training.

4. Keep training varied.

Elites will often touch a variety of physiological buttons throughout the week. 10k requires speed endurance- the ability to tolerate a challenging pace for a sustained period, but it also requires a host of other skills. You need good basic speed, an ability to tolerate lactic buildup in the final third of the race and a robust technique to keep you moving efficiently all the way to the finish. Most people will simply go and practise running 10k to improve. Elites will think about the demands of the race and train accordingly.

5. Address weaknesses.

People tend to gravitate towards the type of training they perform best at,  but elite athletes will be quick to discover and address weakness. If a physio or coach suggests an area of weakness you need to put in the time to address the issue. 

Speed is the issue most runners fail to develop. But to run a 10k you should develop your 'top end' speed. Fast running improves efficiency, and technique and makes your race pace feel significantly easier.

6. You don't have to push the envelope all the time.

You do not need to smash every workout. A large proportion of an elite runners 'running diet' will be run at a comfortable or steady state. You need high intensity sessions and long challenging efforts to improve but you need to recover to gain adaption. In a week where they run 12 times or more elites might all go for it in 2-4 hard sessions. Steady running still stokes your aerobic engine, develops strength and pathways between brain and muscles.

7. Take a risk and experiment.

Unless your standing on the line in the Olympic final always remember 1 thing- it doesn't really matter.  Experiment with tactics; sit back and push the last 4k, go out hard, or try and sit in with a pack. If it all goes wrong there'll be another 10k race next week.Training and racing is an experiment and you should enjoy the process of finding your best performance.

RUNNING PODCAST- Listen to some of our inspiring interviews with top athletes, runners, coaches and dietitians.