How To Perfect Your 10k Run

by On Jun 30, 2021

Here are some of the tips and tricks to nail your first 10k run.

How To Perfect Your 10k Run

Although 10KM is a shorter distance run compared to a half marathon or full marathon, it is still challenging to complete for most runners.

To run and train for a 10k race requires focused training, planning and strategy on how to nail your 10k run.

For some of you, it may seem tough to approach your training to tackle your 10k, but today, you are in luck because we spoke to two experienced runners about how to perfect your 10k run.

So prepare your pen and paper to take note of the tips and tricks right now.

1. Daniel Leow

Bio: Singaporean, 25-years-old, Fresh Graduate

How To Perfect Your 10k Run
Runner: Daniel Leow

Daniel started his running journey back in November 2015. Back then, he was serving his national service in the Singapore Armed Forces and was exposed to running every day. That was when he fell in love with running and was chosen to be part of his unit’s running team for the Tiger Trail 2016, in which they eventually won first place as a team.

His first 10K was at the Income Eco Run 2017, where he ran a personal best of 39:49. Fast forward to today, and he has a 10K personal best of 34:48 at the Singapore Shufflers 10K 2021.

RS: How often do you train for your 10k run in a week? 

Daniel: Seven days a week.

RS: What types of training do you include? Why is that?

Daniel: Easy or steady runs - to build up endurance and a certain degree of resistance to injury by running it easy. Also, developing the heart muscle so that it is efficient in delivering a good amount of blood and oxygen to the exercising muscles makes running faster feel more manageable.

Interval training – to maximise aerobic power (Vo2Max) by stressing the body to improve bodily function. An example of a Vo2Max workout is 5 x 1K with 2 or 3 minutes of rest. Also, interval training makes the 10K pace feel easier and more manageable. Thus, it gives you the confidence to run a 10K personal best!

Threshold training – to allow your body to improve its ability to clear blood lactate and keep it below a fairly manageable level.

Threshold training is the bread and butter for 10K training because the threshold pace is right around your 10K pace to half marathon pace and is a crucial part of any 10k training plan.

Threshold runs should be comfortable, challenging, and manageable for at least 20 or 30 minutes in training. An example of threshold training is cruise intervals, which involve running 10 minutes at a threshold pace with 2-minute rests.

Cruise intervals are a good boost for your confidence and help you hold your 10k pace for a long time.

Long runs – similar to easy or steady runs, long runs strengthen the heart muscle, improve the delivery of blood and oxygen, build resistance to injury and promote useful characteristics of the muscle fibre that will help you run your best 10K.

An example of a long run for the 10K is a 2-hour run or 25% of weekly mileage.

RS: What does your four-week 10k training plan look like?

Daniel: I would run 7 times a week. My four-week 10k training plan would include: easy running (three times a week), two 4 – 6 strides at the end of easy runs, one vo2max interval session, one cruise interval session and one long run on the weekend.

The training load and mileage would gradually increase for the first three weeks, and I will taper it down one week before the race. My 10k training plan would change based on how my body reacts to the training plan.

RS: What are the things to take note of to perfect a 10k run?

Daniel: Here are the things to jot down.

  • Make sure to reduce the volume of your weekly mileage on your race week.
  • Eat and sleep well.
  • Do not try anything new on race day.
  • Believe in yourself. All the work is done.
  • Pace yourself well. Focus on your running form and stay as relaxed as possible while running your 10K pace.
  • When your legs start to get tired, run with your heart.

You can follow Daniel on Instagram: @sodanfast

2. Hansen Sun

Bio: Singaporean, 29-years-old, Public Servant

How To Perfect Your 10k Run
Runner: Hansen Sun

Hansen discovered his interest in running during National Service, where they were required to complete a 10km in under 65 minutes as part of their training program.

As he progressively trained for it, he started to sign up for many running events on Singapore’s vibrant race calendar with friends and eventually started running longer distances together.

As he continued to challenge himself, he started running further distances and now his interests lie in the marathon distance, which he has completed eleven times.

Over the past year, ironically somewhat aided by COVID, he has managed to stick to a more structured training plan to improve his running performance.

RS: How often do you train for your 10k run in a week? 

Hansen: I run on about 5 days over the week; this includes a track workout during the week and a long run over the weekend.  

RS: What types of training do you include? Why is that?

Hansen: Specifically, the long run and track threshold sessions are very useful to improve one's performance for the 10k.

Long runs increase the efficiency and running economy and also your endurance.

From a psychological perspective, it also gives your body confidence in performing at a higher level when you’re running further than 10km. One can progressively build the Long Run and mix in walking breaks if the body is not yet used to this training.

For threshold sessions, it's a way to build your body to adjust to the intended pace that you want to deliver.

Over time, your body will slowly get used to this, and you’ll be able to run for longer periods of time at this threshold pace without feeling fatigued by the lactate build-up in the body.

RS: What does your four-week 10k training plan look like?

Hansen: 4 weeks is a relatively short time to get into shape for the best 10k performance, but you can tailor your goals given the level of fitness at this point. There are many resources online to help you get started in crafting what is best for your abilities.

In general, I will focus the first three weeks on building up the frequency and the total mileage being run. Focus on keeping most sessions easy – which means running at a pace where you can comfortably hold an easy conversation with a friend without feeling out of breath.

To make the most out of each session, I would recommend the duration to be no less than 20 to 30 minutes each run. If this is too challenging from the start, you can alternate between fast walking and light jogging to keep yourself going!

To prevent your body from getting injured from a sudden ramp up in your training, always remember to stretch well before and after the run and keep the total increase of your weekly mileage below 15%!

For the last week, give yourself a lower load so that your body has time to recover for your ultimate test!

RS: What are the things to take note of to perfect a 10k run?

Hansen: 10k is neither a short nor long distance, so it actually requires both endurance and speed.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to be always running fast on the track to get your desired time! Consistency in building up your aerobic capabilities from clocking a high mileage actually helps you in the long run to be more efficient in being able to deliver better results!

Age is certainly not a limiting factor in running, and that is a joy of running that one can look forward to – if you put in the work, you will see the results eventually!

You can follow Hansen on Instagram: @hansenorun

What is your secret to nail your 10k run? Feel free to share your tips with us and comment down below.

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