Runners, what I am doing wrong? Will I ever make it to 10km?

Perhaps I need to slow down

How to go from 5 to 10km?. Image credit.

I’ve been running for a couple of years and haven’t yet made it to 10km.

That’s a target I’d like to reach this summer (It’s summer now in Australia). I can run quite strongly, despite my age, but perhaps that’s the problem — I may need to slow down.

What do you think?

Two years ago, I started running — trail running on a local cliff-top track. I built up to 5km, twice a week. At the end of last year, in the days before Xmas, I decided to run 4km every day, just to see how that felt.

Up to now, that’s just over seven weeks of running 4km each day (usually 4.3km to be more precise). I’m enjoying it, and that’s what spurred me on to set myself a target to run 10km.

If I can run 4km every day then to extend to 10km couldn’t be too hard, right.

But I’ve failed in my first two attempts to pull off the 10km.

I am starting to think that I am running out too hard, keeping up the 4km pace is proving impossible to maintain over 10km.

That’s logical, and I am holding back a little. But my head keeps telling me not to wind back too much as I need to build up a “reserve” of time which I will dissipate later as I tire.

Pulled up at 8.8km

1st try: Trail run 8.8km 4:46 min/km. Image credit: author.

​My first attempt ended at 8.8km when I made a miscalculation of my distance and stopped early.

​I was having trouble hearing my Runtastic app — I hadn’t set the volume high enough, and it was in a pouch which was inconvenient to reach. So I misheard the distance — I thought I heard 10, and then kept running just to be sure. But it was only telling me “8 kilometres” — as it turned out.

My cadence was OK, but I had quite a pain in the ball of my right foot, and also the front of my hip (hip flexor?). Even if I had not miscalculated and stopped, I probably would not have made the distance as I was having trouble balancing out the niggles.

I still went out for my daily 4km the next day, and gently got everything back into shape.

Second try — only made 6.4km!

Last Sunday, I set out to run a little more slowly to see how far I could get.

This time I only made 6.4km before I stopped!

​I ran out of puff and could see my times dropping away, so I called it quits.

That’s what has brought me to this point.

You can see in the image below that during last Sunday’s run that my pace dropped away each kilometre except the first.

2nd try: Trail run 6.4km 4:55m/km. Image credit: author.

I know that will get to 10km.

I just have to figure out how. My thoughts are:

  1. To mix in some longer slower distances with my weekly running — say 8km twice a week, at 5:10m/km. That’s about 15 sec/km slower than I run the 4kms each day; and,
  2. To fuel up before I run. I always run fasted, which is no problem for 5km. Perhaps for 10km, I need a few quite carbs before I head out to keep up the energy supply; or,
  3. To just set out at a slow pace, say 5:20 and go for 10km, to see how my body holds out. At that pace there would be no problem with my “lungs”, just a test of “legs” getting me there. My head stops me running at this pace as it feels like I am doing nothing and I accelerate!

In summary, I can run up to 6km at a cadence of under 5min/km but am having trouble pacing myself to reach 10km.

What do you other runners recommend? How did you get to 10km?

Thanks for your help. I’m looking forward to notching up the 10km before the end of summer.

I’m Walter Adamson. I write about life, health, exercise, life and cognitive fitness to help men and women over 50 live longer better. Get my free, weekly newsletter here.

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Walter Adamson

Walter Adamson


Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | My Newsletter 👉