How to Find Your 10K Race Pace (Plus Chart to Download as PDF)
A 10K race is one of the harder races on your body. Normal times for non-professionals range from 30-60 minutes and are thus close to your individual anaerobic threshold. This basically means the pace at which you can run for 60 minutes without a loss in performance.
Since you will be putting a lot of stress on your body and running at the limit of your capabilities, it’s helpful to be able to put a number on this limit. In our case, this means knowing what pace you can sustain for 10 km.
A lactate test helps
One way of determining this limit is to do a lactate test in a lab. This not only defines your training zones, but it also includes a sports medical exam. Unfortunately, the values achieved on the treadmill don’t always transfer to running outdoors. Plus, the test – if performed regularly – is rather expensive.
All you need to estimate your own individual anaerobic threshold is a stopwatch, a flat place to run and some motivation.
- Warm up for 10-15 minutes. Start off slow and finish at a faster pace.
- Now do 5 X 100-m strides – jog back to where you started as a break between strides.
- Then run 1,000 meters as fast as you can and jot down the time. This step should get your body up to speed and your legs ready to run fast.
- Then rest for 10 minutes. Don’t stand or sit while you wait, move around and stay loose.
- Now run 5,000 meters as fast as you can – and don’t forget to jot down the time.
- Finally, jog for 10 minutes to cool down. Depending on the weather and the ground, you can also run barefoot on the grass for five minutes.
Good to know:
If you divide your 5K time by five, you will find your individual anaerobic threshold pace. And your 10K race pace, too!
Of course, you can also wear a heart rate monitor during the test and thus determine your working heart rate on that day. But keep in mind that your heart rate can fluctuate significantly for the same activity based on the time of day. Therefore, it should only be used as a training tool when there is no other option for monitoring your own performance (e.g. for running hills).
This test does not require a lot of time, you can do it almost anywhere and it provides you with all the information you need for your next race. But, generally, it is a good idea to get a medical checkup before you start training for a race. That way you can rule out any risk factors. A 10K race – as well as the test described above – is only suitable for healthy runners.
The table below (for download and printing!) shows you that your test results can tell you a lot more than just your 10K pace.