Key No. 3: Pace is Important
"There is an art to figuring out race pace," Coster reveals. "In a 5K race, there is a smaller margin of error in choosing a pace. But even pacing is the best approach for 10Ks."
What does "even" mean for you? Well, finding that "10K comfort zone" may require a bit of trial and error. Find a pace that you can hold for an extended period of time—this pace might get faster with more training, and that shows that your body is making the appropriate adaptations.
Coster advises using online race-pace calculators to find an appropriate pace per mile based on your previous race times.
"Find the pace that felt good on your 5K and carry that over to your 10K," Coster says.
This mile pace should be incorporated consistently throughout training in both long and short runs; practicing this pace will help you from going out too quickly at the start of your 10K.
Key No. 4: Don't Go Out Too Hard
"For the first 2 to 3 minutes of a race, you're a little immune to knowing how hard it is," Coster says. A runner who starts a 10K race too fast risks exceeding his lactate threshold, and not having any energy left for the rest of the race.
"Find a reference point," Coster recommends. "In a 10K, if you learn you've gone out too fast at the first mile, it might be too late. That's why pace is so important."
Learning how fast to run the first ? mile, or the first ? mile, takes practice. Try to complete a few of your tempo runs on a marked course (or set up quarter-mile marks along your route) so you can learn what certain paces feel like.
Runners who know how to pace themselves, and do so consistently during a race often find themselves in good shape at the end of that race.10K.