At 25,000 runners, the Statesman Capitol 10,000 has bragging rights as the largest 10K in Texas. That also makes it one of the big target races on your calendar. Who hasn’t showed up at work the following Monday without having a co-worker ask, “Did you run?”
And if you’re going to race, you want to run well, so that begs the question: Are You Ready to Run? Puns aside, we’re here at Ready to Run to help guide you through the last several weeks of training and nail this race.
For starters, if you have not done so already, come up with a reasonable race goal. The best way to do that is to base your race goal on recent benchmarks. There are a number of formulas that work fairly well for predicting race time. One simple one is to take a recent 5K time you ran, double it, and add a minute. Or if you have not raced recently, base your prediction on a recent fast-paced or ‘tempo” run. For example, if you completed a five-miler quick paced run in 35 minutes, it’s reasonable to believe that you could break a seven-minute pace on race day, given that you’ll be pushing a bit harder. And if you ran a fast five mile in 40 minutes, it’s not unrealistic to shoot to break an eight-minute pace. But you’ll need to take in several important considerations. Was the five-mile workout really difficult to complete? Did you run it on a perfectly flat course? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you might need to adjust your goal. The Capitol 10,000 is run on a fairly challenging course. Not overly tough—but with enough hills early on to change your game. (More on that in the next few weeks).
The race is set for April 23, so you have three weeks left to make sure you get to the starting line in the shape you want. While it’s true that most of the training is behind you, there are a number of things you can still do to ensure a great race. More importantly, there are a number of things you should NOT do if you want to race well. Don’t suddenly up your mileage, and if you have not been doing any sort of speed work, now is not the time to begin—your goal is to get to the starting line without any nagging injuries.
So what kind of training should you do to ensure the best outcome? Continue your regular weekly mileage for the next 14 days, but throw in a few key workouts. A reliable workout at this point is a four-mile anaerobic threshold run, also known as a lactate threshold. Aerobic means “with oxygen,” and anaerobic means “without oxygen.” In workout terms, that means you’ll be running close to your 10K pace for four miles. Generally speaking, you’ll want to knock out this workout at 5-15 seconds per mile slower than you predicted 10K pace. So if you hope to run 50 minutes, you’d be running a your four-mile threshold run at around 8:15 per mile.
This workout serves two purposes. It’s an effective way of increasing your anaerobic threshold—that point at which your body begins to beg for oxygen, and it will help you increase the amount of time you can sustain race pace before fatigue sets in.
That way, on race day, you’ll make it past the four or five-mile mark with something left in the tank. Next week: Countdown to the Cap 10K continues: how to best prepare for a great race!