Improve Your 10K Finishing Pace

By Rick Morris

Your 10K race pace is a physiologically significant running intensity level because it corresponds closely with your lactate threshold. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to running, but most runners 10K speed occurs is roughly 2.5% faster than their lactate threshold pace (LT). When you race at 10K pace you begin to suffer from both the physical and mental fatigue inducing affects of straying above your LT. That steadily progressive level of fatigue can make maintaining a strong 10K finishing pace a real challenge, but one that you can train to overcome.

Here are some training tips that will help you blaze through the final miles of your 10K race. While the last portions of a 10K will never be easy, these workouts will train your mind and body to stay strong and improve your 10K finishing pace.

10K Progressive Tempo Run

Tempo training, while slower than your 10K or LT pace, is still a valuable workout for improving your 10K finishing pace. The longer length of this tempo run will improve your stamina while its progressive nature will strengthen your 10K finishing ability.

  • Description: 6 miles at progressively faster paces.
  • Pace: Run the first two miles at marathon pace, the second two miles at half marathon pace, the fifth mile at 10K pace and the final mile at 5K pace.
  • Recovery: None

10K Negative Splits

When you run the last half of your race or workout faster than the first you are running negative splits. Performing negative splits during training will improve your ability to finish fast.

  • Description: 5 x 2000 meter repeats at increasing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 1600 meters at 10K pace and the final 400 meters at 5K pace.
  • Recovery: None within each repeat. Recover between each repeat with 3 minutes of passive rest.

10K Plus and Minus Compound Sets

Here is a workout that combines the benefits of both positive and negative splits into one challenging but effective workout.

  • Description: 2 x 5000 meter repeats at changing pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 1000 meters at 5K pace, the next 3000 meters at tempo pace and the final 1000 meters at 10K pace.
  • Recovery: None with each repeat. Recover between the two repeats with 5 minutes of passive rest.

10K Fast Finish Long Run

Long runs aren’t just for marathons. You should be doing weekly long runs no matter what your goal distance is. This 10K long run is specifically designed to improve your finishing pace.

  • Description: Run 12 miles with a fast finish.
  • Pace: Run the first 10 miles at easy endurance pace. Increase your speed to 10K pace for the final two miles and then run 800 meters at the fastest pace you can maintain.
  • Recovery: None