How to run your first 10km – 5 mistakes to avoid

You’re standing on the start line with a mix of nerves, excitement and a little intimidation. One thing’s for sure: whether this is your first or fiftieth 10k, you’ll be feeling similar emotions.

All the hard work is done. You’ve done the training. Nothing can go wrong now, can it?

You have indeed done the hard work, but there are some common mistakes that we see runners make time and again. We hope that by sharing these you’ll avoid making the same mistakes and will finish your first 10km satisfied and smiling.

Pace yourself
Your marathon friends will tell you how 10km is such a short distance, but as far as your body is concerned a 10k is still a pure endurance event and pacing is important. You’ll be full of adrenaline when the gun goes, but this is the time to be restrained. We see a lot of people start too hard and really struggle in the second half. You’ll achieve your quickest time by pacing evenly through the full 10k. The first 2–3km should feel relatively easy. The middle 3-4km it’ll start to pinch. The final 3km are all about hanging on as best as possible!

how to run a 10km

Don’t wear new kit
In a last-minute panic, many decide that new kit is what’s needed to make us faster on race day. Whether it’s a spanking new pair of trainers, a tight race vest or even some new aerodynamic headband, don’t fall for the gimmicks or use anything you haven’t trained with!

Fuel wisely
10k is a short enough distance that you don’t need to carry nutrition. If there’s hydration on the course (as there is at our running races), then you’re all set.

What’s more important is ensuring you eat a carb-rich meal the evening before the race. However, hold your horses. Long gone are the days of ‘carb-loading’ so don’t think you need to inhale four bowls of pasta with copious sides of garlic bread to perform well. You don’t!

Think like a cyclist
Copy our two-wheeled friends and, where possible, take the racing line and draft. Running behind someone (particularly on exposed routes) can save considerable energy. Running the shortest route will also impact your time – take the inside line and cut corners as close (and legally!) as possible.

how to run your first 10km

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Smiling (even if forced) has been shown to reduce perceived effort. So, when the going gets tough, remind yourself of your motivations and smile at how far you’ve come…

If you’re ready to sign up to your first 10km, check out our running races.