Runners Alert: Fall Racing Ahead!

If you have any kids on the cross-country team, then you know that training has already started for the fall season. (Stop by Ready to Run for your cross-country spikes!) Likewise, if you are a running parent, then you know that fall racing season is right around the corner, and it’s time to ramp up your training and set some goals.

There’s no better way to get in shape then to set a race goal, and a logical choice for Austin runners would be the Run for the Water 10 Miler, set for November 5. The race is the second in the Austin Distance Challenge (after the Run Free Texas 8K on October 8) and is the first big road race on the fall calendar.

Longtime Austin runner Bob Gibbons, who has a life-time best of 53:21 for 10 miles, talks about training for that distance

Many runners find the 10-mile distance to be uniquely satisfying and have run some of their best races at the distance.

“A ten-mile race calls for more of your endurance fitness, and you don’t have to rely so much on speed,” said longtime Austin runner Bob Gibbons, who has a 53:21 life-time best for 10 miles.

“One aspect of the 10-mile distance I like is that it’s three miles less than a half marathon,” said Gibbons. “It’s kind of an extension of the 10K because you can train like you would for a 10K with a little more distance, and you just maybe slow your pace down 10 seconds per mile during the actual race.”

Hal Higdon, a well-known author of a number of books on running, including Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training, advocates alternating weekly speed work and tempo runs as you prepare for the 10 miler. His training plan calls for working up to 8 X 800 meters for speed work, and four to five miles for your tempo runs. For the tempo runs, he suggests starting out easy, but picking up to your goal 10-mile pace during the workout.

“I’d do about five or six miles for my tempo run and I would make sure to go at least 12 miles for my long run to kind of give myself a distance base to draw from,” said Gibbons, a former 2:32 marathoner.

During your weekly training in between the speedwork or tempo runs and the long runs, you’ll stick with comfortable paced runs of around five or six miles.

Higdon also suggests throwing in a 5K race—in this case in September, and then a 10K in October—as good preparation for the 10 miler.

As for the race itself, Gibbons, whose training runs cover most of the Run for the Water course, says, “I would start out of at a moderate pace to save some strength for that middle section where you encounter those challenging hills, and then finish strong.”

Upcoming Races: Saturday, August 12, 5K for Clay at 7:30 a.m. at the Clay Madsen Recreation Center,1600 Gattis School Road, Round Rock. Saturday, August 19, Rattler Run 5K at 8:00 a.m. at San Marcos High School.

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