The Statesman Capitol 10,000 is just more than a month away. It’s a race that means a lot to a lot of people for many reasons. For some, it’s a chance to compete at the 6.2-mile distance—not the week-in week-out 5K routine.
Runners who have been at it a long time remember when the 10K race ruled. You didn’t see 5Ks or half marathons much at all. There were a few five-mile and 10-mile races, but for the most part, if you wanted to run a weekend race, chances were pretty good it was going to be a 10K.
Those of us who remember when 10Ks were plentiful miss them somewhat. From a practical standpoint, it’s a better workout than a 5K, allowing runners to get in some good mileage for the day. And from a racing standpoint, the 10K distance (6.2 miles) gives you some room to strategize, unlike a 5K where you pretty much have to go hard from the start.
From a physiological standpoint, the 10K is a lot like a tempo run—it’s a near perfect balance between aerobic and anerobic fitness. The 5K is run at over 90 percent of VO2 max (your maximum oxygen uptake), which means you have to get off the starting line at a good clip and run close to red-line the whole way. In comparison, a 10K race is run at around 80-85 percent of VO2 max, which is easier to sustain.
Typically, you’ll want to alter your training somewhat if you’re just used to 5Ks. Most intermediate to advanced runners training for the 10K run upwards of 30 miles a week, and in addition to a lot of easy miles, get in regular speedwork at race pace.
For runners who regularly compete in 5Ks but are interested in stepping things up and maybe trying a half, or even a full marathon, getting experience at racing the 10K can serve as a nice bridge to longer racing distances. On the other hand, if you’ve been running mainly half-marathons, it’s a chance to step down in distance, but up in race pace.
“The 10k was my favorite race at one time because you could compensate for lack of speed with strength and a sustained pace. A weekly tempo run was designed to replicate race pace and a longer 12-mile run would build an endurance base,” said longtime Austin runner Bob Gibbons, whose lifetime PR for the 10K is 32:45, run at Straight Shot in College Station In 1989.
Upcoming races: Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 a.m., ZOOMA Women’s Race Series: Texas Lost Pines Half Marathon, Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow Street, Bastrop. Sunday, March 10, the San Marcos Half Marathon, 7:30 a.m. at the Tanger Outlet, 4015 I-35 N. in San Marcos. 10K and 5K races start at 8:15 and 8:35 respectively.