The 10K is one of my favorite race distances, because I find that it is a good mix of speed and distance. It is not as short as a 5K where the pace feels uncomfortably fast early on and not as long as a half marathon where fueling and hydration are a must. I also have had the most success in the 10K, achieving a PR in each 10k race I have ran up to this point, 6 total before this one. I finished my first 10k race in under 50 minutes in 2013, then finished in under 45 minutes in 2016, so I chose an under 40 minutes finish time as my next goal.
Going in, I knew based on past experiences that to run your best race, to have to train particularly for that race. You can not expect to run your best 10k time if you treat the race only as a tune-up for a longer goal race like the half marathon. Each race distance favors certain workouts during training that prepare you best for that race. For the 10k, it is often a mix of long runs, shorter easy runs and speed sessions. At the time, I was training mainly for 5K races and found out about and signed up for this 10K race merely a month before, but luckily, 5K and 10K training are very similar.
Since December 2017, I have been training with Team Florida Track Club and my development as a runner has fast forwarded. After running three 5k races within five weeks from January to March, each a PR, I shifted my focus back to the 10k for the first time since 2016. It started with a fun wet puddly trail race, where I beat my previous 10k (road) PR in 42:32. My next 10K race came two weeks later.
I ran the Apryle Showers “Florida’s Fastest 10k Race” in Ponte Vedra on the northeast coast of Florida. In it’s second running, the event experienced a big growth in attendance this year, bringing a competitive field of local runners. I attended the race with a few members from my running club. The Apryle Showers Foundation, which organized the event, helps bring support and care to 30 to 55 year old cancer patients undergoing treatment and their families.
Average Miles per week ran while training for this race: 33 miles
Favorite Workouts During training for this race:
- 3 x (5 x 200m) repeats on track at 5K race pace with 200m jog between repeats and 5 minute rest between sets. I was actually scheduled to run only 2 sets, but was feeling great, even after racing the 10K trail race the previous weekend, so ran an additional set.
- 11 mile long run. I was scheduled for 1 hour 15 minutes, but felt good to do an additional 15 minutes and run my longest run since my half marathon race last November.
Least Favorite workouts during training for this race:
- 7 x 1/2 mile repeats with 2 min jog in between repeats. This workout was very specific to the 10k and I did not dislike it, but it just felt hard and my hamstrings felt unusually tight.
The race started at 7:30am, in the 70°Fs. It followed unshaded paved roads that looped through a small community. Water stations were every 1 or 2 miles, but I did not stop to grab water during the race. The sun emerged about 20 minutes into the race, when I was approaching mile 4 and I really started to feel the heat at that point, but hydrated very well prior to the race. Mile 4 was also the point where pain started to set in and I had to dig deep for inspiration to stay on pace.
With the Boston Marathon a week away, I found inspiration from that and how this year marks the 5th year since I discovered distance running and the anniversary of the tragic event that took place at Boston. From that point on, my heart overtook my mind and the pain and carried me to the finish line with a negative split.
After the race, my coach made me realize how I turned my previous 5K PR I set in 2016, before joining the club, into my new 10K PR. I also took off 4 minutes and 33 seconds from my previous 10K road PR that I set in 2016 too. I am definitely grateful for the support of this team and the once unimaginable things I accomplished in just a few months as someone who never ran competitively in high school or college cross country or track.
My motto for the race was: “Run your race. Find your pace. Ignore your place.”
Race Mile Splits
1 – 6:18
2 – 6:26
3 – 6:19
4 – 6:24
5 – 6:20
6 – 6:16
0.2 – 1:08
6.2 – 39:12 (6:20/mi average)
Fueling for shorter runs and races
The week of the race, I attended a talk by a local registered dietitian who spoke about nutrition and fueling strategies for runners, with a focus on longer races like the half marathon and marathon. What about strategies for fueling for shorter runs and races like the 5K to the 15K? I will make another blog post about this topic based on the research I found and my personal experiences.
Pre Race Eats
The week of the race, I ate just as I normally do which is mostly whole food and higher carbohydrate plant based vegan. The day before the race, I focused on familiar and easy for me to digest foods, like fruit and oatmeal for breakfast and tofu and sweet potatoes for dinner. The only thing I increased was my water intake to ensure I was well hydrated during the race. The morning of the race, I did not eat anything for breakfast as I was not hungry and practiced not eating anything before runs during training. I just drank green tea mixed with some coconut water and Clean Machine fruit punch BCAAs powder and that kept me energized for the very early wake up time and drive to the race and the race itself.
Post Race Eats
I drank lots of water right after the race and then a protein shake. I ate a banana and some snacks that were handed out at the race booths and then some medjool dates and a Go Macro bar that I brought with me. When I left, I stopped by the beach to soak in the sun and stretch and then made a stop in Jacksonville, FL for vegan donuts from Sweet Theory Baking Co. that I ate all in one day and a Whole Foods Market food haul. I tend to go all out on the post race celebratory treats, but no shame in that as it is just every once in a while.