Gain insight on how to run the 10K course at Bowers Mansion, Race #3 of the DOLAN Running Series. You may have read my last post about 5K Tips, but if you missed it, click here.
The 10K course.
There are a lot of similarities with how to start and finish the first 1.55 miles and the last 1.55 miles of the 10K course, that you can read in my last post about Race #3's 5K. A quick summary for 10K runners on the start: Don't go out too fast! Same rule for the 5K and the Half Marathon. This course is trickier than it appears but you can still set a personal best time.
Although there are multiple ways of approaching the topic on "How to best run the 10K course at Bowers", I will share my ideas based off what I have seen happen at the event over many years.
What I see most at Race #3 is runners going out too quickly and don't have the sustaining power to finish strong. I also see runners with more experience pace themselves very well and run the second half faster than the first half. However, that's not what it is all about in the 10K run. As runners, joggers or walkers, the longer time spent on the course, the more we have to pay attention to other factors. When you move up in distance, not only does pacing matter but so does nutrition which we will get to in a moment.
The 10K course has a few more ups and downs from the 5K turn around point (1.55 miles) to the 10K turn around point (3.1 miles). As a former elite runner and professional triathlete, speaking from experience, the rolling courses can be faster and more fun than the flat ones that claim to be the fastest. Why is this? As we move up in distance our muscles get more fatigued on a perfectly flat course, without the chance to go slightly up or down, enabling our bodies to use different muscle groups -- in a sense, "stretching" the major muscle groups out, giving us a feeling of less fatigue. Of course you have to practice on rolling terrain each week to maximize the benefits of this type of course.
More on pacing.
I think from my 5K Tips, you get the idea about how to pace yourself. When in doubt, go a little slower in the first half and it's always a nice present to yourself once you make the turnaround at 3.1 miles and you're feeling fresh! Guess what that means? You get to push yourself harder coming back, usually enabling you to get more "road kills" (that's a funny term used amongst runners when passing other runners). A game I like to play with my athletes is "See who gets the most road kills" - - When you incorporate games like this in to your racing strategy, you can have fun against family or friends who are faster than you by seeing who had the highest count by the end.
Step up your game with nutrition.
I advise my athletes various types of breakfast suggestions at various amounts of time prior to race start, depending on the amount of calories they will be burning per hour and the distance they are racing. I can't exactly suggest what you should eat beforehand because I don't coach you. I would suggest consuming something that you are used to, low on the glycemic index (learn more from Harvard University about the GI here). At the very least, get in some calories 60-120 minutes prior to race start, based on your body weight and effort you plan to race at. Do not try anything new that you haven't
done in practice.
Now for the 5K, I suggest at least a sip of water at the halfway mark, but that's up to you and how you handle fluids during a faster paced 5k effort. At the very least, grab a cup of water just to splash the inside of your mouth which will give you a rejuvenation feeling.
When it comes to the 10K, I would definitely take in a little water or sports drink at the halfway point. With the athletes that I coach, I always recommend a sports gel, like these, before the start of the race and again at the aid-station closest to the halfway point. Why near an aid-station? Gels work better if you chase them with a few ounces of water. I tell my athletes to rip open their gel packets when they see the aid-station, so that by the time they arrive to the station, they are done with their gel and can dispose of it at the aid-station and grab a cup or 2 of water.
Please do not try the gel tip on race day unless you have practiced a few times beforehand during a run of various types: slow, long and tempo or fast runs just to be sure your body responds well to the gel(s) you choose.
Orangetheory Fitness Aid-Station
If the 10K wore you out and you weren't quite ready for the distance, don't worry... When you cross the finish line, head over to the expo and refuel with snacks from local sponsors and national sponsors, Red Bull or grab a beer... You'll be sure to recharge in no time!
More to come next week on 13.1 Tips...
I look forward to seeing you at the Series Finale and if we won’t be seeing you at Race #3, be sure to register here for the 2017 Running Series at early rates. Also, check out our new 2-person 26.2 RELAY on April 30, 2017.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Race #3, you can do so here. Good luck on August 28th!
RENO 5000 Race Director, Running & Ironman Coach