When you race a 10K, seconds matter. The distance necessitates smart pacing. If you start out even 15 seconds too fast, you could fade; too slow in the early miles could cost you your goal. If you are aiming for a 10K goal time, it helps to know the approximate paces for your mile or kilometer splits throughout the race. Even if you are not racing a 10K, 10K-pace workouts are common in various training plans. The 10K pace chart in this article provides you with the corresponding paces (in both min/mile and min/km) for 10K finish times from 30 to 80 minutes.
How to Set 10K Goal Pace
Run a 5K Time Trial
Tune-up races can help assess fitness after several weeks of training. A 5K race can serve as a tune-up race for a 10K. If you do not have a 5K race, you can run a 5K time trial on an uninterrupted route such as a track.
Typically, a 5K race or time trial is best done about 3-5 weeks out from your 10K race. You can then input your finish time into a pace calculator, such as the VDOT calculator or Tinman calculator. The calculator will suggest an approximate goal 10K pace.
Calculate from a Recent Half Marathon or Marathon
You can also use a race equivalency calculator to predict 10K goal pace based off of a longer race distance. If you ran a half marathon or marathon within the past 3-4 months, you can enter the time into these calculators. Since the 10K requires endurance, the longer races will often produce reliable equivalent goal paces. However, you may need to adjust by up to 5 seconds per mile in either direction.
Assess Your Recent Training
Your training plan may include workouts at 10K goal pace. While these workouts should not be the only workouts throughout the entire training cycle, you will likely complete a few throughout the final four to six weeks of training. Across these workouts, you can look at the average paces to set your 10K goal pace.
10K Pace Workouts
10K pace workouts typically involve longer intervals at a moderately hard effort. Any workout should include a 10-20 minute warm-up and cool down. Lower-volume runners will start with approximately 20 minutes of running at 10K pace. More experienced and higher volume runners will complete more repetitions at 10K pace in each workout, up to 5 miles. You can use the average paces from these workouts to reference the 10K pace chart below and determine your estimated finish time.
Sample 10K pace workouts include:
- 4-8 x ½ mile at 10K pace (1.5 min recovery jog)
- 4-8 x 1K at 10K pace (2 min recovery jog)
- 3-5 x 1 mile at 10K pace (2-3 min recovery jog)
How Hard Should 10K Pace Feel?
The 10K is a unique distance; faster runners technically run in a different physiological zone than slower runners.
For fast 10K runners (40 minutes or faster), the intensity of a 10K lies in the domain of critical speed – as hard as you can maintain while physiology remains stable. Critical speed will feel “sustainably hard.” The race will feel relatively uncomfortable from the start.
10K runners who finish in 55+ minutes are working closer to lactate threshold. The intensity here is moderately hard. Typically, the first couple miles of a 10K will feel moderate, and the effort will build into moderately hard.
Either way, a 10K race will feel pretty hard towards the end. Read this article for guidance on how to pace a 10K race.
10K Pace Chart
The first column is 10K finish time, in 1-minute increments. The second and third columns are the pace required to finish in that time, in min/mile and min/km, respectively. All finish times assume an accurate course (6.2 miles). Your course may have turns that affect accuracy, so you may need to account for running 6.3 miles on race day.
If your 10K finish time is between two increments (for example, between 45:00 and 45:30), your pace will be within the range for those two finish times.
|10K Finish Time||Pace (Min/mile)||Pace (km/mile)|
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