Your training is done, and the countdown is here. Next week is the biggest race on Austin’s calendar: Statesman Capitol 10,000—set for April 8 at 8:00 a.m. Now that your training is done and you are race ready, the most important part of a successful race day is how you actually run the course. With that in mind, here’s your mile by mile breakdown.
Mile One. You feel the energy of thousands of runners around you and the national anthem is sung. The crowd is restless, and the thumping of the helicopter filming the overhead shot makes it real. Suddenly, you’re off and searching for your pace as the race gets underway. This first mile already has some hills to it, so don’t charge. Running up Congress Avenue and turning right onto 11th street and the first mile marker en route to 15 street, you’ll experience a 100-foot climb.
Mile Two. Now you’re on 15th street, and the course begins to drop. There’s a big downhill here as you cross over Lamar Blvd. Take advantage of the gravity: lean into it slightly from the ankles, not the hips. Allow the hill to increase your speed a bit. But here’s the catch—you’re headed right back up as 15th merges with Enfield. This is a serious climb—158 feet to be exact. But just relax and hold an even pace. The idea is to run the first third of the race slightly slower than your goal race pace.
Mile Three. You pass mile three just as the course turns left off of Enfield on to Winsted Lane. By now you should have settled into a pace that you are relatively comfortable with, understanding that comfort is indeed relative when you are racing. Winsted is somewhat rolling, but the good news is, the hard work is behind you. Check your time at the 5K mark after turning onto Winsted. If you’ve paced yourself correctly, you should be able to finish in just under twice that time, because the second half of the course is easier. The downhill on Veterans Drive on your way to mile four can really get you moving, so take advantage of it. If you’re neck and neck with a rival here, this is a good place to make a move.
Mile Four. The course flattens out as it goes past Austin High School on the way to Cesar Chavez. Mile four to five can be the toughest part of a 10K, because you’ll feel fatigued at this point. But here’s where the mental part of racing really plays a role. Use this section to recall your toughest workouts. Hold steady, and above all, don’t lose focus, because if you do, you’ll really slow down.
Mile Five. The section along Cesar Chavez is where you need to enjoy the crowd cheering, keep your pace and allow yourself to realize that you’re almost done. Focus on your leg turnover, and don’t let your pace erode. You’ve got this.
Mile Six. The Capitol 10,000 has a really cool finish, because as you head across the South First Street bridge, you can catch glimpses of the crowd lining the finish-line chute, and you really start to get pumped up. Now’s the time to gradually increase your pace as you prepare for your finishing kick along Riverside Drive. Remember, you have nothing to lose at this point. Once you turn onto Riverside, build into your kick and drive through the finish line.
Finishing a 10K is very gratifying, and the Capitol 10,000 has some of the best post-race festivities around, Enjoy!
Upcoming races: Saturday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m., the Hays Rebel Run 5K at 101 Mountain City Dr. in Buda. Sunday, April 8 at 9:00 a.m., Chasing Excellence 5K at Pfluger Park, 515 City Park Rd., Pflugerville.