Commonly-Asked Questions About 10K Running

Getting ready for a 10K race?  To help calm your nerves and ease some of your fears, get answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions about 10K running.

1. What Should I Do the Day Before My 10K Race?

As you get closer to your race, you may start feeling a little more anxious and unsure of what to expect. Don’t try to overprepare by running a lot more in the few days before the race. It’s fine to do some short, easy runs, but running too much won’t help you at all and could actually have a negative effect on your performance. Here's some advice on what to expect and what to do in the days before your 10K.

2. How Can I Predict My 10K Time?

Predicting your 10K can be tough, especially if you’ve never run a race before. And there are a lot of variables in racing, such as physical and mental preparation for the race, weather, elevation on the course, crowds, etc.

If you've recently run another race at a different distance or have timed yourself racing a mile, you can give yourself a rough estimate of what you're capable of running by using a calculator, such as this race time predictor calculator on Running for Fitness. You just plug in your age, gender, and time/distance from a recent race. The calculator then shows you how you might perform in races at other distances, including 10K.

3. What If I Have to Walk?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with walking during a 10K!  In fact, it may be a smart race strategy for you.  Taking a walk break during a race can be beneficial for runners, since it gives your running muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover. A short walk interval can also break up the monotony during a race, which can help you deal with the mental challenges and any discomfort you may be feeling. Some 10K participants find that taking a few short walk breaks during a race helps them finish in a faster time than if they tried to run the whole race.

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4. What If I Can’t Finish the Race?

With any race, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong – an injury, wardrobe malfunction, or other mishap – that will make it difficult for you to finish the race.  But it’s important to remember that there’s a very slight chance of that, especially with a shorter race distance like a 10K.  There's a much greater likelihood that you will finish! So, try not to be consumed with thoughts of not finishing. Focus on the things that you can control and remind yourself of all of the training you’ve done to get ready for the race.  Find out how to avoid common racing mistakes so you can put yourself in a good position to cross that finish line.  If the 10K has a strict time limit (although most 10Ks don’t), here are some strategies to avoid wasting valuable time.

5. Will I Have to Use a Porta-Potty?

You may be worried that you may have to use a portable bathroom before or during the race and it’s definitely a possibility that you’ll have to.  But there are strategies you can use to try to avoid having to stop to use the bathroom during the race, such as making sure you don’t overhydrate before the race or avoiding foods that can cause runner’s trots.

If you do find yourself needing to stop to use a porta-potty during the race, here are some tips.

6. What If It Rains During My 10K?

Races aren't cancelled because of rain, unless there are dangerous conditions, such as lightning or high winds. So it's important to be prepared for any type of weather conditions on race day. You should try to practice running in the rain during your training so you're not stressed out about the possibility on race day.

Before your race, make sure check the weather forecast, so you can plan your race outfit accordingly. Check out these articles for tips on how to dress for different weather conditions:

7. Can I Run a 10K Without Training?

It possible to run a 10K without formally training for it, but it really depends on your current fitness level. Some people are fit enough to easily run a 10K without any training, while other people might be really suffering and find it difficult to complete the 6.2-mile distance.

If you’re already an active person and have been doing cardio exercise (biking, swimming, walking, etc.), you may be able to complete it even if you haven’t been running on a regular basis.  You may want to use a run/walk approach, which means that you’ll do intervals of running and intervals of walking. Taking short walking breaks allows to run for a greater percentage of the race, as opposed to running without stopping for a distance and then having to walk for the rest of the race due to fatigue. The run/walk technique is also safer for untrained runners because the walk breaks reduce the pounding on your body and reduce your risk of injury

If you still have a little bit of time before the 10K, don’t try to cram for it. Running really hard and long a week or two before the race is not going to get you better prepared.  Your body doesn’t make the physical adaptations until 10-14 days after training, so intense training in the two weeks before will not help you. It may actually have the opposite effect and leave you feeling sore and fatigued on race day.  It’s better to do two or three easy runs of  about 30 minutes during the week before the race. Then take one or two days off before race day.

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