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Tempo runs. Race-pace efforts. Intervals. Long runs.
Does that sound like your 10k training plan?
If you’ve spent the past several weeks diligently training and honing your speed to run a faster 10k, then you’re physically prepared to PR.
But are you ready for the mental demands of racing a faster 10k? Your mind is as important as your physical fitness. That’s because it has the power to quicken your pace or drag it down.
Plus, when your mind’s prepared for race day you’ll:
✓ Improve your time
✓ Run relaxed (and have fun)
✓ Increase your chance of reaching your 10k goal
Read on for the 5 mental tips you need to know for a faster 10k.
THE 5 POWERFUL MENTAL TIPS FOR YOUR FASTEST 10k
Get ready for the burn 🔥
Racing’s hard and it will hurt. To run your fastest, you must accept the reality of racing for a faster 10k – that it will be tough.
There’s two reasons for this:
- So your mind knows what to expect. If not, your brain – whose main mission is to keep you safe – triggers its protection mechanism and slows you down, lessening the pain.
- And to manage the discomfort and pain you’ll feel.
You’ve faced the burn in your speed sessions, so you’re well aware of the sensations of running hard.
For race day, recall the pain you’ve endured and visualize running strong despite the discomfort.
“Will you regret not giving it your all today?”
Run this mile
It’s dangerously easy to get ahead of yourself in a race.
“Only 3 more miles and I can stop running!”
But to chase the 10k PR, you must focus on the steps that’ll get you there.
It means focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. It requires special attention to the things that are happening right now, such as Or on your breathing. Or your arm swing.
And that means focusing on the mile you’re running. Either by paying attention to something physical like your stride, or cheering on a fellow runner.
Your thoughts can speed you up or slow you down.
The good news is, you have the power to choose your thoughts and internal monologue.
Get started with creating your own mantra with a few examples:
“Swift and smooth.”
“Light and fast.”
“Stronger with every step.”
Use your watch for good
There you are, feeling strong and fast. Until you glance at your watch. And it’s telling you your pace is off. So you freak out and pick up the pace to catch up. Then you look at your watch AGAIN and you’re going too fast. So you pull back.
Does that sound familiar?
It’s a stressful way to race.
So instead of getting wrapped around the numbers, two suggestions: 1. Use your watch 2. Don’t use it.
1| If you normally rely on your watch, use your watch.
But instead of your watch dictating your pace (and how you feel), use it as feedback. Your watch is doing what it’s supposed to do – provide you with information. Nothing more.
Moving faster than race pace? Slow it down. Or not, which leads us to the next suggestion.
2| If you can resist the temptation to peek at your watch, run by feel. What it means is you’ll run by how hard you think you’re working on race day.
This is a difficult thing to do (but it’s a good thing to practice during training) because you must trust that your body will find the best pace for the day.
You might surprise yourself and run faster than if you had depended on your watch for pacing.
The finishing kick
The last few miles will hurt the most, so get ready for it.
To help you summon the finishing kick, use either a landmark or another runner to help you run faster. Imagine that the landmark or fellow runner is reeling you in (much like a fishing rod) and pulling you closer to the finish line.
The quick tips for a faster 10k
✓Prepare for the burn
✓Visualize running through the discomfort
✓Focus on running one mile at a time
✓Use a mantra for various segments of the race