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Pacing a 10k

Pacing is an important factor of running a 10k. Here are our top-tips to help you get that PB!

Steph avatar
Written by Steph
Updated over a week ago

The 10k is one of the most popular running distances to race. It isn't quite as daunting as a half marathon or marathon, but it is a great step up for a 5k. We would recommend having a pacing strategy to ensure you get the best out of yourself and avoid blowing up too early or finishing with more in the tank. The most efficient way to run is to start slower and build the effort/pace throughout; this is also called a negative split.

Goal time

Start by working out what time you are aiming to finish in. For example, if you are aiming for a 50minute 10k, then this is an average pace of 5:00mins per km. Sticking to an exact pace to the second isn't easy so I would give yourself a range to target. I would give a buffer of 3-4s either side of your target pace. For the 50minute 10k runner, this would be a pace range of 4:57-5:03min per km. To help you achieve this negative split, divide your 10k into 3 sections: first 3k, 4-7k and final 3k.

First 3k

Start off around 5s/km slower than your target pace for the first 3k. It is likely that your first 1km or mile will be a bit quicker as you get wrapped up in the excitement but dial it back and be strict with yourself. It is early on and you want to save that energy for the final few km. The effort should feel fast but also relaxed. Breathing should feel controlled.


It is common for people to dip around the half way point of the race. This is more likely to happen if you have paced the first few km too fast. From 4k, we want to up that pace to our target race pace. Avoid surging to change your pace as this is a waste of energy. Slowly up the ante and use other runners around you to pull you along. Keep assessing how you feel but wait for that final 2-3k to really push on! If you aren't sure, then concentrate, try stay relaxed and hold your pace.

From 7k

You've got 3k to go. It will be feeling tough by this point but you are so close to the home straight. Pick your moment to push on. If you are feeling good this might be from 7k but if you are struggling then wait until you are closer to the finish line. From 9km, 1km to go, empty the tank and push hard to that finish line....then celebrate, you did it!

Good luck, go smash it!

@charliecrowhurst photography

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